Alex Rodriguez and two fellow Yankees took time out of their busy schedules to play ball with Bronx youngsters.
The Bronx Chamber of Commerce presented of the Yankees with awards in recognition of their ongoing support of children in the borough after a stickball game on Friday, August 28. Neighborhood kids pitched to Alex Rodriguez, Sergio Mitre, and Jerry Hairston Jr.
The celebration took place at Billy’s Sports Bar at 856 River Avenue after the Yankees played stickball at a lot near E. 157th Street and River Avenue. Also recognized by the Bronx Chamber was Yankee front office representative Ray Negron, who is George Steinbrenner’s personal assistant.
“I thank Ray [Negron] for taking us out of our comfort zone to where we need to be”, Alex Rodriguez said, over chants of “A-ROD,” at Billy’s. “What really makes me excited is to see young kids focused on reading.”
Rodriguez added, before receiving his award: “I really want to tell you to read as much as possible. You should read a book a month.”
Bronx Chamber of Commerce CEO Lenny Caro praised the Yankees as an organization that puts the Bronx on the map.
“You have made us the champions of the five boroughs,” Caro said as he presented the awards.
Caro added: “Read those books and accomplish what you want to do. Your dream can come true, too.”
For the many children present, seeing the Yankee players was an exciting moment in their young lives.
“Alex Rodriguez is my favorite player because he is good at both shortstop and third base,” said Matthew Soto, a 15-year-old at the event. “He is an excellent batter.”
Alex Rodriguez has given away $300,000 to Bronx and city charities this year, including little league teams, according to Negron.