By Ray Negron
Yankees and Baseball Belong to the Kids Again.
As I walk around this year’s spring training camp at George M. Steinbrenner field, I can’t help but smile. The reason being that there are so many kids running around. There are actually more kids than adults, which has not been the case during the last few spring camps for all of baseball, not just the Yankee camps.
Leave it up to the Yankees to lead the pack in being the pied pipers and bringing the kids back to the game. After all, it is the kid’s game. I walked around and I can see the excitement in all of the kids’ faces. I asked them, “What is the best part of this Yankee mania?” and the kids replied. “Some of the players really make me feel special and the autographs are awesome!” What I loved was that even though so many of them are enamored with the whole Aaron Judge / Giancarlo Stanton phenomena with home runs in batting practice, they truly love and appreciate how the other players like Didi Gregorius are going out of their way to make the kids feel special.
After batting practice, Gregorius could be seen near the stands signing autographs and talking to the kids. Spring coach Nick Swisher was Nick Swisher, he jumped into the stands and signed for young and old alike. The kids also love the fact that the Yankees have so many young players competing for jobs. It reminds me of when I was a kid and the Yankees had a very young Bobby Murcer and an even younger Thurman Munson in in spring training of 1969. Because of those young players, that spring I fell deeper in love with the Bronx Bombers.
I met 12 year old Ken Frank from West Chester, New York. Ken loves the Yankees because Gary Sanchez and Aaron Judge didn’t ignore him even though Ken understands that the players are here in Tampa to prepare for the season. Sanchez even took the time to sign some autographs. I must also add that during the week there were over 130 kids from the Hank’s Yanks baseball organization. Ages ranging from six thru eighteen. There are even kids from Tokyo Japan here. They represent J R East Railway Company (makers of Japan’ Bullet train, the fastest train in the world) Through a translator, I was told that everything pertaining to baseball starts with the Yankees and this year’s team has brought great excitement even in Japan.
Many parents like the fact that Aaron Boone looks like a young kid out there and that he is showing such enthusiasm with his players. I asked them how they could tell and some parents responded, “My kids can tell.” (From the mouths of babes)
I guess if the kids feel this way then Brian Cashman, Hal Steinbrenner and the Yankee Organization knew what they were doing.
Additionally, Ray can be heard Saturday and Sunday on IMPACT on ESPN Radio 1050am talking baseball and entertainment. His writes a weekly column for NY Sports Day, Newsmax
And Baseball America. A powerful and inspirational speaker, he passionately shares his amazing journey, revealing his experience with the Bronx Bombers, special relationship with Steinbrenner and what it was like to hang around some of baseball’s greats.
For more information about Ray please check out his website batboyhelps.com