H.O.P.E. WEEK INITIATIVE – June 8, 2012

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June 8, 2012

By Raquel Julich
Foreign Radio
Special to Gulf Coast Yankees
Tampa, Florida


St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital is well known through the Southeast United States as a leader in Pediatric Heart and Cancer Care. With 80 Pediatric Physician Specialists representing 25 medical and surgical disciplines, the board certified staff offers the care St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital is known for, Family Focused Care.

Families always come first at St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital. Parents have the confidence of knowing that the specialized pediatric services offered are further strengthened by St. Joseph’s Hospital full-service medical center, including the 24-hour Steinbrenner Emergency/Trauma Center for Children.

After a week of rain storms in Tampa, on Friday, June 8th, the sun came out to play for the children from St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital. The children were visiting the New York Yankees Himes Complex during the H.O.P.E. Week Initiative, for a morning of baseball fun with the players of the Gulf Coast League.

All four children and their parents benefiting from the Family Focused Care at St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital and on this sunny morning one of St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital benefactors was providing a little something extra.

To start, Ron Dock took the boys in the group on a mini visit of the players’ clubhouse.

Afterwards, while the children and family members watched from behind a protective fence, a Gulf Coast League player had throwing practice to outfielder, Adam Silva (Australia).

New York Yankees pitcher, Michael Pineda (Dominican Republic) and Tampa Yankees outfielder Slade Heathcott greeted the children on the field and posed for pictures.

Pitchers Jairo Heredia (Dominican Republic), Steve Evarts, Alex Smith, Yunior Peroza (Venezuela), Graham Stoneburner and catcher Austin Romine all stopped by to say hello. The children were interested in the “resistance vest” worn by one of the pitchers.

Then, under the supervision of Alex Cotto and Ron Dock, the kids; Abel, Daniela, Nestor and Nicholas enjoyed a healthy game of kick ball with the players from the Gulf Coast League. A couple of the players ran the bases for the children as the parents watched, cheered and coached from the nearby foul lines. Ron Dock reminded the children when it was time for water. Every so often, you could hear an individual “how are you doing?” from the mothers.

The H.O.P.E. Week Initiative had the full support of Felix M. Lopez, Jr., Executive Vice President/Chief International Officer.

While the children were at play, members of the Himes Complex management who ensured the success of the first Tampa H.O.P.E. Week Initiative stopped by to see the game; Mark Newman, Senior Vice President, Baseball Operations, Pat Roessler, Director Player Development, who made it possible for the players to make it to all the events by scheduling their workouts early enough so that the players could get their work in, and, Tim Lentych, Head Athletic Trainer Player Development, who scheduled all the treatments and therapy for the injured players so they could join in the events.

The “coach” for the day, Ron Dock called the game. When it was over, after many high fives Dock announced them all winners and the children walked off the field laughing and chatting as they headed to the players’ resting area.

New York Yankees pitcher, Joba Chamberlain dressed in traditional Yankees pinstripes, after completing his pitching routine, under the watchful eye of Pitching Instructor Greg Pavlick and Billy Connors, Vice President Player Personnel, joined the children in conversation, picture taking and autographs signing.

After a brief questions and answers period where “what is a grand slam?” was discussed, Ron Dock took the children and the parents through a tour of the Yankees Offices. One of the children, 10 year old Nicholas named the players as he walked past the legendary Yankees pictures on the walls.

The Children received H.O.P.E. baseball caps, pins and a baseball, as it came time to say good-by.

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