Our feature on Polly Tompkins ran today during pregame and Polly texted to make sure we knew she appreciated it. Sometimes, that’s all that matters. This is one of those times.
Polly is such an inspiration, an example of how to stay positive — and keep smiling — when faced with extreme adversity. In her case, it’s the return of cancer. And we wish her well as she continues to fight and, hopefully, continues to get good news.
Brett Gardner: The Yankees will miss the instant offense and speed on the basepaths he provides, not to mention that he’s hit over .300 since mid-May. Gardner will be in a cast for two weeks and re-evaluated. He won’t be available for the series in Tampa, which starts tomorrow, or the upcoming one against Boston, beginning Aug. 6 at the Stadium. He’s the player in pinstripes who plays most like a Ray.
Rickey Henderson: The man who once said, “I’m a walking record” will make a speech that could be one for the ages at the Hall of Fame. We’ll have to catch the (many?) highlights.
Paul O’Neill: His kids are here today, so there are three pizzas in the booth. Or what’s left of them. “Another slice and some ice cream and I’ll be set,” Paul just said between innings.
Alfredo Aceves: He joined media relations czar Jason Zillo on “Batting Practice Today presented by Audi” to talk about HOPE Week. Ace made a big impact, playing guitar for the Camp Sundown children and young adults late Thursday night. He had as much fun as they did.
CC and CC: Still have to read the Sports Illustrated article on Carl Crawford. That’s on the to-do list during the flight. On Wednesday in Tampa, Crawford will be joined by CC Sabathia for an hour before the game for “Catching up with Carl Crawford,” an event to encourage more African-American youth to play baseball. They’ll tell stories to the kids. We’ll try to listen in.
Adam Jones: The Orioles center fielder is one of the best young players in the game. He also happens to share his name with the NFL cornerback nicknamed Pacman by his grandmother. Pacman Jones has had a hard time staying out of trouble, to put it charitably. Adam Jones, an All-Star, cleans his own cleats in the clubhouse. Where are we going here? Last night, while a sports wrap-up show was providing background noise, we heard an anchorman who thought he was very, very clever link the two, yelling “Pacman!” while some Orioles highlights played. That’s nice. And just wrong on a couple of different levels.
Meanwhile, Adam Jones the Oriole can’t stand being called Pacman. Can you blame him?
John Sterling just walked into the YES booth, looked at the gray skies and said, “It rains every day here.”
Then he left. Really, there wasn’t much more to say.
Reminder: Our last chat before the All-Star break is 12:45 p.m. Monday, the last day of a four-game series with the Blue Jays. We’ll answer questions as long as they’re not overly repetitive.
The Weather Girls: “It’s Raining Men” is playing over the P.A. It’s also on our iPod. Gametime is now 7:40.
Polly Tompkins: Remember her? She was the Yankees’ Honorary Bat Girl on May 20, in a partnership with Susan G. Komen for Cure that recognized baseball fans battling cancer. She’s here again today, got big hugs from Alex and Swisher and sat down for an interview with us. The feature will be a good one and will air sometime after the All-Star break. We’ll let you know.
Jorge Posada: He took a foul tip off his left thumb last night and it’s sore, so Cervelli is catching CC. Girardi hopes Posada is ok to catch Burnett in tomorrow’s day game.
Jack Nicholson: After our pregame spot, we walked back through the tunnel on our way to the press box. And there’s Jack Nicholson, just hanging out, talking to one of the suite chefs. Now he’s in a slightly more prominent spot – a seat behind home plate. And he’s playing to the scoreboard camera.
Michael Kay: He’s not happy with some of your comments about him. (He’s a very dedicated reader of this blog.) Can’t we all get along and be nice and be the one blog in the world where people aren’t unnecessarily nasty to each other? Please?
Ken Griffey Jr.: It’s hard not to root for him, isn’t it? And, by the way, he always seems to be smiling.
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.