Negron: Pandemic Doesn’t Stop Yankee Winter Wonderland

Every year, the Yankees have a Christmas winter wonderland at Yankee Stadium. Thousands of kids from all around the city come to the biggest holiday party of the year which has been hosted by Jennifer Steinbrenner, who heads the Yankees foundation.

This year, because of the Pandemic, this was not possible. However, head of community relations, Brian Smith and the Steinbrenner family decided that since the kids could not come to the stadium that they would send the toys to all the public schools and youth clubs all around the city.

At P. S. 55 the principal, Louis Torres, said that even though he knew that the Yankees would do something nice, when the truck pulled up at the school with all the toys that he felt more happier than the kids. So many wonderful toys for kids that usually don’t get this kind of treat. “For 15 years I have guided this school through many ups and downs and I have to say that the Yankees have been there for us in many of these times, Torres said. I need to take the time to thank all the players that have visited our school and encouraged our children to do better in school and in life in general.”

Dan Quintero of the Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club said that the Yankees have provided more support than one could ever imagine. “Mentally, physically and spiritually the Yankees have just been there and we could never thank them enough especially during these very sad times. I just want the Steinbrenner family and the Yankee organization as a whole,” Quintero said.

The bottom line is that the tradition of the Yankees has always been to help thy fellow man. This is something that’s been going on since 1973 when George Steinbrenner first purchased his Mona (the Yankees) Lisa. 47 years later, the Steinbrenner family is still doing the right thing.

I’m always proud to be associated with the Steinbrenner/Yankee brand, even in a tiny way but especially during this time of year. Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.

Robkes Northport celebrity haven and incredible food

Today I want to give a special shout out to louie from the great restaurant Robkes of Northport.

I was introduced to the place by sports memorabilia guru Mead Chasky. I couldn’t understand why so many celebrities were going all the way to Northport to eat and when I finally got there and sat down for a meal I finally understood.

The food is of the Italian persuasion even though the master chef and co owner louie is always willing to try to make you what ever you want.

The food was so good that I had to tell my friend and owner Sal Scognamillo of the incredible Italian restaurant Patsys in Manhattan . Sal actually visited with some friends for lunch and said that the food was great.

The Sports stars that go to Robkes are never disappointed and like to make it there new hanging out especially when louie delivers the appetizers. When you get to the main course the game is over. You can tell that everyone is enjoying their meals when the table gets quiet because you just want to concentrate on the taste of the food.

Last week Yankee legend Tino Martinez was there and after his dinner he was disappointed because he said that he wished he could take a doggie bag on the airplane that he was getting on.
Ex Yankee and Met Doc Gooden has become a regular since he has moved back to Long Island. As you can see from the picture Doc has even earned an official Robke shirt. Not everyone gets those. I guess it depends on the number of meals that you have had there. You can imagine that Doc has had a few.
The bottom line is if your in Manhattan then there is only one Patsys. If your out on the Island then the best of the best is Robkes Northport. Thanks Mead Chasky for introducing us to a fabulous place.

Negron: Christina Pipia is Cooking Great Ideas!

Roberto Alomar, the greatest second baseman of all time and a member of Baseball’s Hall of Fame says that the most important element to his success was always his nutrition. Robbie says that his only regret was that he didn’t understand the importance of this until the latter part of his career. “God knows what more I could’ve accomplished,” Alomar said.

In the world of the arts, the great actor Chazz Palminteri said that nutrition and what he puts in his body is everything. “It’s about being mentally, physically and spiritually prepared for my work in films and life in general,” he said. It’s something that many take for granted.

One athlete who prefers to stay anonymous said that, had many of the players, that he was associated with, had good nutritional values, they would not have abused performance enhancing drugs from time to time.

Recently, at a charity event, I was introduced to cook and nutritionist to celebrities, Christina Pipia. I would find out that not only was she cooking for stars but she was also cooking for regular folks like you and me at affordable prices. I was curious why she was at this charity event only to find out that she donates her time and food to worthy causes.

I would ask Christina why the food business. If you see Christina you would ask the same question because she looks like she should be Chazz Palminteri’s co star in a major motion picture. Christina told me that she was a dancer since she was two and an athlete all throughout her school years. By the way from what I understand a pretty good one at that.

One thing led to another and after she finished college she went to work in the finance industry. In order to work out the stress of that world she found herself in the gym. The competitor that this young lady is, she found herself working so hard that all of a sudden she was in bodybuilding competition. She took this so serious that her research found her discovering the best foods that help her body and mind. She already had a head start because she was taught a lot about cooking from her aunt.

Soon people could see the transformation of what she was becoming. After a while she started cooking, not only for herself but for others. Next thing you know word got around about this magical chef and people started to almost beg her to cook for them. She has a regular job, however she finds time to do her cooking business because she loves it. I think that she enjoys the appreciation that her clients have for the meals just as much as when she is pumping iron in the gym.

I’m excited to see how this body building dynamo and chef will grow in the post pandemic era because it’s incredible what she is accomplishing now in such difficult circumstances. She is a true inspiration to the human spirit for young people.

BronxNet “Reach Out” Shows the Yankee Way

by Carmine Elvezio

“Reach out with Ray and Steve” zooms to number one.

Executive Director Michael Max Knobbe of BronxNet came to Ray Negron and mentioned certain individuals were questioning if the Yankees were doing their “fair share” during the pandemic. You could see the rage in his eyes. The reason I get upset is because I know how much our community relations department, which is led by senior Vice President community relations Brian Smith, does for our community in the Bronx. George Steinbrenner used to have a classic saying “That if more than two people know what you were doing then you’re doing it for the wrong reasons”. That was one of the very few arguments I’ve had with the boss. I used to tell him we live in a very copycat society and felt if any rich guys of power saw what he was doing, that they would want to do just like him.

My opinion as the community consultant for the Yankees is that, through my individual research, all throughout baseball, the Yankees do more for their community than most teams in the game and yet most people don’t know it. With the exception of those on the receiving end of the great Yankee benevolence. Michael Max Knobbe, who besides being a long time producer, seasoned journalist, and the head of BronxNet, had a suggestion for Negron and his co host Steve Vaccaro. “Reach out with Ray and Steve” was already on Cablevision optimum which is a community-based public access station. Michael Max Knobbe suggested that we bring “Reach out” to the Bronx with a new home on the BronxNet television network.

“Reach out” is a variety show. Ray and Steve wanted a show along the same old Johnny Carson tonight show format with an exception of community. It’s during the community segment of the show that all parties felt that you could really bring out the happenings of the Bronx. Yes, they want to highlight all the good the Yankees are doing, however they also want to be able to show the work that others are trying to do in order to help show that the Bronx can be beautiful.

After watching a couple of episodes, the show was contacted by Grace Fernandez who has a long-standing relationship with the Dominican Republic embassy. Fernandez wanted to see how they can help the Yankees and other organizations to collaboratively offer food and supplies to all families in need and to beautifully help the Bronx with all its community, religious leaders, and people who want to get their hands dirty in the Bronx because they care.

This past weekend, the crew for “Reach out” had fun helping surrounding areas of the Bronx including those stores and places of worship with volunteers. Yankee players Gio Urshela and Gleyber Torres set out hundreds of one hand sanitizers for all the players to use during the cleanup job. At BronxNet we want to make sure we connect all the good that’s done by the community from education to health, news, debates, cultural arts. “Reach out” combines superstars, athletes and role models. Connecting the Bronx to the World.

It’s nice to be able to have this format “Reach out,” to show the people everywhere that not just the Yankees but all high ranking officials, throughout the borough of the Bronx and all through the city all have a heart.

Michael Max Knobbe, BronxNet’s Fireman, Yanks Pal!

Whenever there’s a fire in the Bronx I don’t like to run away from it, I like to run into it. The guy that always tells me where the fire is located and helps me with the water hose, is a gentleman named Michael Max Knobbe. For years, because of my affiliation with the New York Yankees, he has advised me on different ways that we can always help our people in the Bronx.

Born and raised in the Kingsbridge section of the Bronx, Michael Max Knobbe has a background in the arts and production and is an advocate for health and fitness, community awareness and media integrity. He is a graduate of the Bronx HS of Science, holds a BA in Studio Art and World History from Drew University, and a MFA from Lehman College.

Serving as Executive Director of BronxNet Television since 2002, Michael Max Knobbe has pioneered and guided many initiatives at the network, including the production of award winning content that builds community, connects the Bronx to the world, and provides young people with professional skills to take on the challenges of an ever-changing digital landscape.

Mr. Knobbe is a co-founder of the Alliance for Community Media’s New York State Chapter, and has testified before Congress about the importance, impact and necessity for logical programming. His direction had garnered multiple NY EMMY nominations and wins. Michael Max currently lives in the Van Cortlandt Village section of the Bronx and has been shooting and editing short form vignettes called “Voices on the Move” through the pandemic.

Thank you for representing and recording the beauty of the Bronx!

“Reach Out” with Ray and Steve on BronxNet

“Reach Out” is such an appropriate name for BronxNet’s newest television show. I am proud to be co hosting the show because it really lets me tell stories of sports and entertainment that most people usually don’t hear about. At the same time I can let the people of the Bronx know what the Yankees are doing for and with the community.

I have always said that the only argument that I ever had with George Steinbrenner was that as much as he didn’t want people to know what he was doing for them, I felt that what he used to do for so many was so beautiful that they deserved to know. I hate the fact that it wasn’t until he was gone that people found out about his great heart for all people, especially those in dire need. I once asked him what could I do to pay him back for all that he did for me throughout the years and he simply said, “just help your people as much as you can, especially the young people that will find out about you and you plight.”

I’m grateful to Mike Max Knobbe and the people at BronxNet for letting me tell the people of the Bronx the beautiful truth about the Yankees through Reach Out with Ray and Steve.

Please read the statement below from Michael Max Knobbe, Executive Director BronxNet TV

For more than a quarter century BronxNet has provided public services including access to technology, career building learning experiences and media education for students, and vital local programming by for and about the Bronx. We are proud to have Reach Out with Ray and Steve on BronxNet TV from the Bronx to the world. Bronx born Ray Negron has been a longtime Yankee consultant who like the Bronx Bombers likes to bring out the beauty of the borough and help in anyway possible. Through his show Reachout he gets to tell the true story of how the Yankees really do care as well as entertain the people of the Bronx with international superstars in the world of sports and entertainment. You can see Reachout with Ray & Steve every Monday at 8:30 pm on Bronxnet television.

Batboy’s Courage Would Make the Boss and Gehrig Proud

When George Steinbrenner walked into the “swanky” restaurant, La Club, everyone runs around trying to please the man known as “the Boss” as if he owned the place. That was the kind of respect that he demanded and received without even saying a word. His look would be strong and he would dress impeccable, nothing out of place including his very neatly combed hair. All the “high rollers” there can’t get to Mr. Steinbrenner fast enough to say hello. The restaurant bigwigs can’t help but to drool over the Boss.

The Boss naturally plays up to all the attention until he notices that the busboy near his table dropped some plates. The maitre’d gets very upset and says some words to the kid that even the Boss didn’t like. After the maitre’d walked away Mr. Steinbrenner called the busboy over and asked him his name. The kid said his name was Neil Herbst. The Boss said, “I guess you know who I am?” Neil said. “I do because my brother Seth was a batboy for you in 1974.”  Mr. Steinbrenner asked Neil if he would like to come work for him. Naturally Neil said that he would love it. The Boss told Neil to write his name and number on a piece of paper and trust that I will have one of my people call you.

A little while later Neil received a phone call from a Yankee official and later during that 1978 baseball season, Neil Herbst was a Yankee batboy. It basically happened because an adult was belittling a youngster and that never went well with George Steinbrenner. That mean maitre’d probably did Neil a big favor without even realizing it. Neil went on to watch and work for the 1978 Yankees. That summer the Bronx Bombers would come back from 14 1/2 games in July to become World Champions with the greatest comeback in sports history. Neil Herbst had the best seat in “the house that Ruth built.”  After that year Neil, like his brother Seth did four years earlier, went on to college, graduated with honors and built a beautiful career in the finance industry. Seth became a great doctor. It’s incredible how their love for the Yankees gave them and so many other young people the motivation to be possibly even more successful than they would have otherwise been. I have always maintained contact with many former batboys throughout the years. Recently, Seth Herbst asked me to talk to his brother Neil because he was battling A. L. S. (Lou Gehrig disease). Like Lou Gehrig, Neil spoke to me with the same courage and passion that I imagined that Lou Gehrig would have displayed.

Rather than me writing about Neil’s feelings with his battle, I asked Neil to put his feelings into his own words.

These are Neil’s words…..

As a child, baseball and the New York Yankees were synonymous with family, fun and magic to a young boy especially to one who dreamed about being a professional baseball player or a doctor.  They were bigger than life and me and my friends thought about them every second of every day that we weren’t in school.  It took everything that was bad in life away—to be a baseball player

In 1978, I was a bat boy for the New York Yankees.  Being a bat boy for the Yankees it was such a high honor to see the amount of hard work the players needed to have—I got to see firsthand what had to be done and especially their work in the community and with diversity.  How special this time really was.  It was also a large part of my development of the adult I would become—hard working, business owner, parent and husband.

One of the most famous Yankees players—Lou Gehrig (called Baseball’s Iron Man)-was diagnosed with ALS at the height of his career.  In fact, many people call ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease.  His diagnosis in 1939 brought awareness of ALS to the public.  One of his most notable quotes and one that helped change the views of communities throughout this country was:  “There is no room in baseball for discrimination.  It is our national pastime and a game for all.”   At his final appearance at Yankee Stadium he delivered his “luckiest man speech” and the part I remember the most is his saying he was “the luckiest man on the face of the earth.”

Even though I have been recently diagnosed with ALS, I too feel like the luckiest man on the face of the earth.  I know I’ve been preparing for this all my life and the Yankees helped me get here.  My time as a bat boy and the lessons I learned, being a successful business owner, having a loving family, and being involved in the community.

The last years of my life I want to be like the Yankees—continue to work hard, but work on healing.  The healing of our country and a cure for ALS are my top priorities.  Today when I think of the Yankees I still have those same feelings I had as a boy.  They are about fun, love and family and it brings a sense of peace to watch the Yankees and to know how this organization has remained dedicated to its values over all of these years.  I also know that they can be influential again in helping with ALS.  It’s been too long since Lou Gehrig passed and a cure has not been found!

As we approach 2021, I would like to ask every baseball team around the world, but particularly in the U.S., to have an ALS patient throw the opening day first pitch of the season.  It’s time for everyone to rally to find a cure.    —-Neil Herbst.

Beautiful words from a kid who, in the summer of 1978, came of age and matured to become a credit to this great country.  Neil Herbst feels that his time with the Yankees had prepared him for everything in his life, both good and bad. Even with all the success that he has had in his life, he still says that the greatest job he has ever had was that of a Yankee batboy. Now with the fact that he has such a horrible decease like A.L.S .it’s incredible that the magic of the Yankees continue to give Neil the strength and courage to live life one day at a time and know that a cure could be somewhere in the horizon.  With the power of prayer, hopefully sooner than we think.

Whitey Ford , A great guy and Success.

Whitey Ford had his funeral yesterday. It was at St Mary’s Church in Manhasset Long Island not far from Where he lived in Lake Success.

Isn’t it ironic that the name of the town that he lived in would exemplify what he accomplished in life ….Success!

I know all his career statistics, like 236 career victories ,most all time in Yankee history etc, however I will leave all that for the sports writers. Sure those things are a mark of success but if you really know what the Yankee family is all about than you would realize that the way Whitey lived his life is what success is all about.

I knew Whitey for the 47 years that I have been around the World of the Yankees.
I can only say that this man was truly a wonderful guy. A fun guy. A loved guy. A caring and sharing guy.

I remember when I was a batboy I would see Whitey working out with his son Eddie. Eddie was a short stop that had just been drafted by the Red Sox. Whitey saw me standing on the side watching and he screamed out, grab your glove and take some grounders with Eddie. Whitey knew that I had aspirations of playing pro ball so he had me join in the fun. That was the kind of guy that he was. At the funeral Eddie reminded me of this all these years later.
Whitey was also a very funny guy. Just before I started my first movie for Warner Brothers , I was in the Yankee locker room picking up my equipment. Whitey came over and said I want you to give me your autograph. I said for what ? He said life is funny, maybe you will become the next Marlon Brando so I signed a cap for him. Every time I was about to do another film he would say ‘You never know ‘. The last time I saw Whitey was about five years ago I was walking with Doc Gooden and we ran into Whitey. We spoke some pleasantries. Doc and Whitey kidded about both wearing number 16. Whitey had always told Doc that he would of let him use the number 16 when Doc was a Yankee and Doc said that that number was sacred in Yankee lore. Whitey then turned to me and said … Marlon Brando my ass! Doc asked what was that about and I said that’s a private joke between me and Whitey.

Whitey was great at setting up a joke. The first time I met him I think was 1974. I remember that we were playing our home games at Shea Stadium because they were renovating Yankee Stadium. Whitey was our pitching coach that year. I was getting a coke at the soda machine that they had in the clubhouse. Whitey walked over and grabbed a cup , at that moment I would say…Hi Whitey … so he turned to me and said , hey are you prejudice? This shocked me … then I saw all the players laughing. I had been set up for a clubhouse joke. I was being initiated by the prankster loving Mr Ford.

I must add that to see Whitey with Mickey Mantle and Billy Martin really showed me what true friendship was really all about. Like Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis jr. Whiteys crew was baseball’s Ray Pack, and Whitey was the Chairman of the board.

The funeral itself was a very nice dignified affair. It was attended by his very close family and friends. Jeff Idelson from the Baseball hall of Fame assisted the family with the funeral and Whiteys long time teammate The great Bobby Richardson delivered a beautiful eulogy with the most important line being that now Whitey gets to enter Gods hall of Fame. I know that Mickey and Billy are at baseball heaven right now saying… hey Slick what took you so long.

Special thanks to Joan and Eddie and the whole family for really making everyone feel so comfortable and being so warm to everyone, especially at this difficult time.

I guess it’s just the Yankee way.

New York Yankees Consultant and BRONXNET Launch Reach Out

By Steven Vaccaro

Over the last few days Yankee Universe was hit with two devastating blows. Several hours before  their game five, ALDS play-off loss to the Tampa Bay Rays, the entire world learned of the passing of Hall of Famer Whitey Ford.” The combination of their 2020 playoff elimination and the death of “The Chairman of the Board” has left the Yankee family mourning with a significant feeling of loss. In addition, this emotionally charged moment in time has been at an all-time high due to the ongoing global pandemic which has created a historical unemployment rate and havoc in the educational system…….leaving the Bronx community reeling.

Despite these unsettling times, The New York Yankees continue to provide support, love and guidance for the Bronx each and every day. Their food drives, non-profit partnerships and outreach to many programs that empower children and women afflicted with Domestic Violence, has been a bright shining light offering unconditional hope for thousands in the struggling Bronx community.

Ray Negron, long time Yankee Community Consultant, has his roots in the Bronx and continues to assist the  Yankees in the Steinbrenner way for everyone that is in need. Now, Negron, along with his BATBOY Producer and TV/Radio Show host Psychologist Steve Vaccaro, will have their show REACH OUT WITH RAY & STEVE appear on BRONXNET weekly starting Monday, October 12th at 8:30 –9:30pm EST. The mission of REACH OUT is to provide top-notch programming focusing in on SPORTS-ENTERTAINMENT- COMMUNITY. The show will be a platform to provide visibility and recognition to the many outstanding residents in the Bronx. “ This show has the capability to reach 300,000 homes. Besides the great guests from the world of sports and entertainment, we will also let Bronx residents have a voice in the community and show that the Yankees are great neighbors. Teaming up with BRONXNET, is a dream come true because of their amazing efforts supporting the Bronx, “ Negron states.

Michael Max Knobbe, Executive Director, BronxNet TV offered his thoughts on the addition of REACH OUT, “ For more than a quarter century BronxNet has provided public services including access to technology, career building learning experiences and media education for students, and vital local programming by, for and about the Bronx. We are proud to premiere REACH OUT with Ray and Steve on BronxNet TV from the Bronx to the world.”

Clearly, the collaborative efforts between the Yankees and BronxNet TV has caught the interest of many celebrities and political leaders, including Chazz Palminteri and Vanessa Gibson, who is running for Bronx Borough President. Both cherish the Bronx and continue to “pay it forward” to its entire community. Palminteri, a long time mentor for Negron,who will be a guest on the show within the next several weeks shares,” The Bronx means the world to me and I can’t ever thank the Yankees enough for all their efforts in the community.” Gibson, who is an outstanding advocate emphatically states,” I am glad that this show is out there. People need to see what the Yankees do in the community.”

Well Bronx…..its time for BronxNet TV to Reach Out to you and your beautiful community. The Yankee season may be over, but the Yankees and BronxNet are just getting started.

Reach Out can be seen on BronxNet channel 68 and 2134 FIOS in the Bronx and worldwide every Monday at 8:30pm EST

Negron: Clemente Would Pick Gio or Gleyber

The last couple of seasons have been great for the Yankees and the Bronx and New York in general. The reason for that is, when you’re the New York Yankees, it is important to do great things on the field but you also have an obligation to the people of this great city off the field as well.

The people, especially the youth of the city have become accustomed to have the players give a helping hand in any way possible. This has been going on since the days of Babe Ruth. In my research I don’t believe that there has ever been a player that did more for kids in New York than Babe Ruth. It was a true passion for the “Bambino.” He was raised in an orphanage with kids who essentially had nothing or no one. The Babe made a promise to himself and to God that if he ever made it in life he would always look out for the less privileged. I honestly believe that this is where Yankee benevolence was born. I also believe that when George Steinbrenner purchased the Yanks in 1973, the Yankees benevolent spirit was reborn in New York.

A couple of hundred miles away in Pittsburgh, there was a great, Black, Puerto Rican player with the Pirates who was doing great things on the field and off the field. He was doing so many wonderful things for his people that he became the most beloved person in that town. The great Roberto Clemente never felt that he had done enough when it came to helping people. That’s probably the reason that he perished in a tragic airplane crash.

There had been a major earthquake in Nicaragua, so Clemente commandeered an airplane and loaded it with food and supplies. Unfortunately, instead of just sending the plane, he felt that had to go along to make sure that everything went smoothly. Unfortunately you know what happened.

Wednesday, Major League Baseball presents the “Roberto Clemente Award” for doing great things off the field. One player from each team is nominated and the winner is announced during the World Series. The Yankees candidate is Giancarlo Stanton. Nice guy and I know he has done his share. I sincerely congratulate him and hope he wins the big award at the World Series. With that said I personally have to congratulate Gio Urshela and Gleyber Torres for all the wonderful things that these two Yankees have done since getting to New York and putting on the Pinstripes.

When the announcement for the Clemente Award was going to be made I really expected it to be either Gio or Gleyber and would’ve been happy either way. To say that I was disappointed would be an understatement because they left their blood, sweat and tears at the schools and hospitals and parks that I took them to visit.

Last year when the great P.R. Director for the Thurman Munson foundation, John Cirillo, called me about who I thought should win the award, I said ‘Gio or Gleyber.’ I said that I couldn’t pick either one because they both had done so much. Well, they went with Gleyber. Either way I was more proud of these two kids than I had been with any Yankees in my 47 years around the Bronx Bombers.

I’m hoping that this coming year Gio will get The Munson Award because he wholeheartedly deserves it. I honestly believe that when these players get a chance to help people especially the kids, they take that positive energy on the field. George Steinbrenner really believed that. When we would get to playoff time he would say ‘Ok it’s time to really concentrate on winning so save the off the field stuff till after the World Series.’

I’m so grateful to Team President Randy Levine for always understanding the importance of what these players do off the field and like George Steinbrenner, always having a love for the people of the community. Of course we all know what the Steinbrenner family means to all us Bronx people. Brian Smith and the Yankee foundation… invaluable! Gleyber congratulations on winning the Thurman Munson Award and Gio Urshela… Nobody Does It Better.

(Photo courtesy of Ray Negron)