We play a game for a living, and because of that, we sometimes treat the final result as if it’s a matter of life or death. But it’s experiences like HOPE Week — an annual five-day initiative in which the New York Yankees highlight inspiring members of the community — that allow you to break out of that kind of thinking by giving you an important dose of reality and reminding you of what’s really important.
Since 2009, myself and other members of the Yankees have participated in various surprise visits to different members of the community as part of HOPE Week. One year, I spent the entire day helping out a couple of special-needs guys in a mailroom at a law office. They had no idea we were coming, but they were huge Yankees fans and they just freaked out. We went around and passed out mail with them throughout the day, then they came back to the stadium with us to take batting practice and get a tour of the clubhouse. It was a memorable day for us and for them.
This year I had the great pleasure of meeting Chris Singleton, an incredibly impressive young man whose mother was one of the victims of the shooting in Charleston, South Carolina. Meeting Chris, as well as his younger brother and sister, really meant a lot to me, and I think it meant a lot to them too. We discussed life and baseball, which over the years I’ve found to be a universal language.
Below are images from this year’s HOPE week event with the Hunterdon Huskies photographed by Taylor Baucom/The Players’ Tribune.