A brave young woman meets her heroes

Jeter-5-20-250.jpgA terrific pregame story today involved Yankees “honorary bat girl” Polly Tompkins. She is here as part of the MLB/Susan G. Komen for Cure effort to recognize baseball fans who are battling cancer.

Polly was very popular before the game. She’s a lifelong Yankees fan and met many players, including her crush, Jeter, after he took BP.

She leaned in toward the end of their chat and asked him for his phone number. (Love the spunk!) Jeter was smiling ear-to-ear and said, “I’ll get in trouble here. Maybe later.” (That means no, but he was very nice.)

During BP, Alex and Swisher went with Polly into the stands to greet the 100 or so friends and family members who made a four-hour bus trip from Candor, N.Y. That was absolutely incredible. We’ve never seen anything like it, two stars walking through the stands with the pink do-ragged Polly, going to greet her cheering contingent, most of whom were wearing pink T-shirts.

Reggie talked to Polly for a while, as did Damon and Mariano. (When Mariano walked toward her, Polly’s eyes got wide as baseballs. So cute.)

And just before the game, Polly was in the dugout, hanging with A.J. and Swisher. Which meant she was having a blast. She said she couldn’t believe “that I’m sitting here watching Nick Swisher stretch before a game!” Said A.J.: “All you need now is a pie in the face.”

Polly laughed, heartily. Then she threw out the ceremonial first pitch, caught by Swisher. Swisher’s grandmother died of brain cancer a few years ago. He’s always great in these spots. And Jason Zillo and Jason Latimer of the Yankees media relations department did a terrific job in making Polly’s day so special.

Polly Tompkins is a 38-year-old first-grade teacher who was diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago. She thought she beat it. The cancer came back last month, and she learned it had advanced to Stage 4. She usually spends Wednesdays receiving chemotherapy. This was a much better Wednesday.

We wish Polly the absolute best and hope today strengthened her spirit. She promised to update us regularly on her condition. She may call anytime. And we’ll pass on any message to Jeter.

Oops! Didn’t mean to forget Joba! Turns out he also went into the stands to meet Polly’s people. He hugged her mom. He told me after the game it was an awesome experience, something he believes players SHOULD do. And he does plan to stay in touch with Polly. Nice work, Joba.

And very cool of Swisher to give Polly the lineup card after the game. She was so psyched on the field. Just a terrific, terrific night.

In response to a couple of comments, I’ve not been fined by the Kangaroo Court. I think I’m out of that jurisdiction.

Saw Posada in the dugout, but not to talk to. His take on Cervelli would be interesting. There’s something about that kid.

What else did you ask me? I can’t remember. Short game tonight! Woo-hoo!

It’s My9 again tomorrow, strangely, but we’ll try to check in.

18 Comments

Glad someone like Polly got the chance to meet the team. Jeter is so nice to his fans!! Kidding, he might get in trouble for that. Hope Polly recovers from the cancer. My nana and my aunt both had brest cancer and survived.
-Holly
http://irishsoxkid19.mlblogs.com
http://nickadenhartmemorial.mlblogs.com

I am a lifelong Yankee fan but I only get to see YES via mlb.tv, so I very much appreciate the details of this story, since I didn’t get a chance to hear the whole story online. Thanks Kim. And good luck to you Polly. Keep fighting (for that Jeet # too).

was great to hear about the yankees taking time for polly tonight and the little boy from last night that ken singleton spoke of. those are the kinds of stories that are going to take the focus of baseball away from the steroids era.

hey kim, saw posada roaming around the dugout…what does he think of cervelli?

Great story Kim. I missed the pre-game, but it was great to hear Polly’s story on the post-game and here as well.

On another note, today would have been Bobby Murcer’s birthday. I wrote a tribute to him on Baseball Digest Online (http://baseballdigest.com/american-league/yankees/2009/remembering-bobby-murcer-on-his-birthday/) and Bobby’s widow Kay actually commented on it, which really touched me. Hope you read it!

Drew

Bobby Murcer Tribute on Baseball Digest

Hopefully this corrects that link.

Kim,
Thank you for doing such a great job! You are doing exactly what I’ve always wanted to do… I love the way that you give the background or better yet, the backstage pass angles of the story. My friends always ask me why I have to watch all of the pre-games, games and post games. I tell them that it is the original reality tv show. I love to see all aspects of the greatest team on earth!
To see this woman get this opportunity was a wonderful experience to witness. Since we can’t all see it live, I appreciate the information shared.
~Vanessa
PS I hope you get AJ good! :)

Losing your voice last week was certainly a kangarooian offense.

Fire Girardi and hire Polly!

Kim, do you think that Cervelli could end up being a little like Cano? Cano was a no-name mediocre minor leaguer who blossomed up in the majors. Do you think Cervelli could end up like that?

Hi Kim, Like the previous post by lisakaz, I too only see the games thru mlb.tv so thank goodness you keep us informed over “YES”, with video interviews and everything else thru your blog postings. btw, glad you weren’t fined by the court but don’t think you’re out of that jurisdiction completely and they can pick on you for anything and everything, the guys love you i’m sure!
Thanks for keeping us informed Kim.
Don

Hi Kim,
Terrific blog report on Polly Tompkins! Thanks so much! Speaking of the Yankees brimming with confidence these days, I’d say the same for you, too. I notice a new energy and confidence coming from your direction. Maybe it has to do with the team having a more lively character to it and it’s a more enjoyable, spontaneous interview experience. Or maybe you just love what you do and the longer you do it the more comfortable you have become with it. I surmise. You know best!

Meanwhile, I’m so glad you started the blog. You’re a natural writer (I know you have a Star Ledger column) and you seem to really enjoy it!

Keep up the blogging, Kim. For you it’s fun to write – for us it’s fun to read!
Rebecca

Hi Kim,
I want to thank you for taking such good care of my friend Polly yesterday. On the bus ride home, Polly and Kate told us all about your kindness. This was such a nice interview and you can tell you put your heart into it. Polly is an amazing woman and you captured her beautiful spirit in your interview. You are a true professional with a personal touch! Thanks again,
One of Polly’s many fans,
Debbie Kasson

We think of Yankee players as larger than life sometimes. Forgetting that they have many of the same issues we have in our daily lives and that includes dealing with family illnesses.
Thanks for sharing the story of Polly, and the kind way the Yankee players and management treated her. Good job Kim.

my heart goes out to this beautifull brave woman..I too
am a lymphoma survivor ,these three years…I know
what polly is going through,with the treatments .She has
to be more gutty then me…A tip of the hat to Polly…Hope
the yankees give jeter the ok to chat with her via phone
or email…God Bless Polly..Nice job kim
jackieboy 7 from from Hoboken,NJ..:)

Kim, I am Polly’s mom so that automatically makes me a little prejudice regarding your story..Loved It!!! You and the Yankees were so gracious and kind to her. It really made this time more pleasant. All the team members are great but I have to say Joba won my heart when he made a special trip up to our area and gave me a HUG and then still another one. I was a Yankee fan years ago and have kind of lost interest over the years but I am back into now. Thank you and everyone who had a part in making my daughter’s day.
Rebecca Phillips

Wow, Kim. GREAT job on presenting Polly and her story and her GA GA over Jeter!! Cute! That was soooooo touching! No surprise Swisher pitched that first pitch to her. Amazing guys on that team for sure!

My husband and I both love you, Kim. (You signed his cap at spring training and he has never been the same!!)

pat dunn/springfield VA

Thanks for the lovely story!

I think you should get to fine AJ for all the pie :)

I am so glad for Polly! Being from the Southern Tier, I feel a bit more connectd to the story. It is too bad that I had to go on-line in order to find the story… local newspaper coverage was poor.

From what I saw on TV, the Yankees did such a great job making this a memorable night for her and friends!

Was the Brett Gardner story I heard true… the one about the girl in the hospital with the heart transplant?

I want to thank all of you who helped Polly Tompkins on her special day. I am Jenny’s Father, Jenny is her lifelong friend and we consider Polly our fourth daughter. I was really impressed with all the things you did for her. Ireally loved the first pitch. Polly and Jenny as well as myself have been lifelong fans of the Yankees. I am encourged by Polly’s willingness to fight her problem. She had to put off her annual visit to Florida where we visit the trop to see the yankees so she could get her fight started. Again Thank You all so much

Robert Strickland

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