Yankees Game Provides Entertainment and Healing

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Yankees Game Provides Entertainment and Healing

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By Ryan Call
Sports Writer
March 18, 2008

The World Series is widely believed to be the highest stage for any level of baseball player and one would think that the most successful baseball franchise in the world would think no differently.

However, despite the 26 World Series titles the Yankee organization has won and the numerous All-Star players with celebrity status that fill their roster, the men in pin stripes think in much grander terms.

"Arguably this is the most important game I've played in my Yankee career," All-Star third baseman Alex Rodriguez said. " It makes you realize the important things about life and really how fragile it can be. We're all very proud to be here."

Rodriguez also put into perspective the importance of the day.

"It would have been easy just to send the checks and wish the school well but I think it was important for us to be here and be present and go that extra mile. To come here to Virginia Tech and unite with them for one day is very important. Baseball can be very therapeutic," Rodriguez said.

The Yankees team captain Derek Jeter drew similarities between April 16th and America's other recent great tragedy.

"This reminds me a little bit of September 11th," Jeter said. " We had an opportunity to visit a lot of families and people always asked 'well what can you do, how does this help?' I really don't know. It just makes people smile for the three hours while we're here."

Before the game the Yankees visited the memorial for the victims of the April 16th tragedy. Manager Joe Girardi said that it was very moving and brought tears to his eyes.

"I'm sure there were a ton of emotions as players walked around the monuments. It's a real reminder of how precious life is and to me it should have moved our players—and that's a good thing," Girardi said.

The game itself lacked many very exciting moments but the crowd was enthusiastic nonetheless. At times the crowd seemed torn between wanting to see a Rodriguez grand slam (he had two chances to do so and failed) or see one of their fellow Hokies strike out a big name Yankee.

To the delight of a few thousand fans, many stars worked the fence during the pre-game, signing as many autographs as possible. This kind of interaction with the larger-than-life superstars made the day for several Tech students.

"As a Yankee fan my entire life, it really shows what a class organization they are. It shows that superstars out there care about stuff that happens like this and will take the time out of their day to come out here and play for us," sophomore Christine Onidi said.

"It means the world to us, I couldn't have more respect for them. It's fantastic and shows these sporting teams actually care," junior Robbie Zayas said. "I'm still soaking this all in and I was lucky enough to get a couple of players' autographs."

Most of the Yankee stars only played three innings and then enjoyed the rest of the game and atmosphere sitting outside the dugout. Toward the end of the game, many of the players went back into the crowd to sign autographs.

The final score was 11-0 as the Hokies could only manage two hits off the major league pitching. There were no homeruns in the game.

President Randy Levine and Executive Vice President Hal Steinbrenner said the process in aiding Virginia Tech took a matter of minutes after they received a phone call from "The Boss", Yankee's owner George Steinbrenner.

The elder Steinbrenner told Levine and his son to get in touch with the people at Virginia Tech because they wanted to donate a million dollars and play a spring training game in Blacksburg next season if it could be worked out.

"The tragedy was of such giant proportion. It doesn't matter if there's any connection between the Yankees and Virginia Tech prior to the event. We all had to rally around them," Levine said.

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Original Source:<a href="http://www.planetblacksburg.com/2008/03/yankees_game_provides_entertainment_and_healing.php">http://www.planetblacksburg.com/2008/03/yankees_game_provides_entertainment_and_healing.php</a>

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Ryan Call

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2008-03-30

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Kacey Beddoes

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Neal Turnage <nturnage@vt.edu>

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eng

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Ryan Call, "Yankees Game Provides Entertainment and Healing ," in The April 16 Archive, Item #1978, http://www.april16archive.org/items/show/1978 (accessed April 18, 2014).