Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira knows he’s lucky to play baseball for a living. So when he’s not working in the Bronx, he’s using the sport he loves to help kids just over the borough border in Manhattan.
As a board member of Harlem RBI, Teixeira is part of an organization that uses baseball to provide inner-city kids with opportunities to enrich their lives and build their futures. In 2014, the program boasted two impressive stats: 93 percent of its seniors were on track to graduate high school, and all of them have received college acceptance letters.
Harlem RBI celebrated its 2014 seniors — and raised some money for its programs — at its annual Bids for Kids gala, held last month at the posh Cipriani 42nd Street in Manhattan. At the event, SI Kids spoke with Teixeira to find out more about Harlem RBI, his involvement with the organization, and how the kids act with a Yankee hanging around their clubhouse.
Quick: Name the hottest member of this year's Milwaukee Brewers. Slugger Carlos Gomez? Nope. Ryan Braun, the 2011 NL MVP? Try again. Ageless starting pitcher Kyle Lohse? Not even close. No, only one Brewer this season has gotten his own merchandise line, in-stadium accommodations, and bobblehead night. He's the same one whose shirt is the best-selling item in the team store. And believe it or not, he's a dog.
If you’ve always been frustrated by the prospect of having to break in a brand new baseball glove, you can pack away your shaving cream and glove oil. Yesterday, Nike introduced its new Vapor 360 fielding glove, which is the first ever that doesn’t require any breaking in.
It was finally here: the 2014 Midsummer Classic. The media was allowed on the field early for batting practice, and I was there trying to mingle with the players and other journalists. It was very hard interview anyone because the field was full of reporters and cameras. But Hunter Pence and Brandon Moss were both very nice to talk to me for a few minutes.
When practice was over, the pregame activities began. Teachers from each MLB city were honored, and there was a ceremony celebrating the 75th anniversary of Little League Baseball. Then it was time for the National Anthem, which was sung by Idina Menzel (you might know her as the voice of Elsa in Frozen). It was really cool to see the American flag spread across the field as she sang.
And then it was game time! Things got off to a fast start with a bang-bang play. The leadoff hitter, 2013 National League MVP and Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen, hit the second pitch he saw up the middle. Derek Jeter dove to his left to snag the ball, popped up, and threw it to first. But McCutchen was called safe and spoiled Jeter’s majestic play. Fortunately for the American League, the play didn't lead to a run.
I arrived at the Hyatt for Press Conferences and Player Media Availability. It was really amazing to see how it all works. First there was a press conference where the ASG managers — Cardinals manager Mike Matheny for the NL and Red Sox manager John Farrell for the AL — announced the starting lineups and starting pitchers for the 2014 All Star Game. Derek Jeter was announced as lead off batter for the American League and Adam Wainwright was selected to starting pitcher for the National League.
After the press conference, the American League all-stars were available for questions from the media. I asked questions to six AL players from Jeter to Mike Trout to Matt Wieiters. I was in awe seeing all the great MLB players in one place. The media was bombarding Jeter, but I got in one question: How does it feel to be batting lead off in your final All Star Game? Apparently he hadn't heard this news yet and he acted a little surprised.
It took a round for Oakland A's left fielder Yoenis Cespedes to find his groove in the 201 Home Run Derby. But once he did, he was unstoppable.
After hitting three dingers in the first round, the 2013 Derby champ needed a three-swing tie-break against teammate Josh Donaldson to advance to the second round. After that, he was untouchable. Cespedes hit nine homers in the second round, seven in the third, and nine in the final against Cincinnati's Todd Frazier to win back-to-back Derby titles — the first time a player has done that since Ken Griffey Jr. won consecutive championships in 1998 and 1999.