A 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.