Results tagged ‘ Joan Payson Award ’

Sigh of relief for Robertson

The Yankees averted a major scare this past week when the freak accident suffered by David Robertson turned out to be a bone bruise in his right foot and not any kind of fracture. The great fear there for a few days while the Yankees had various tests taken on Robertson’s damaged puppy was that he might have sprained the  Lisfranc ligament, an injury that would have shelved the righthander for at least three months. A similar injury to Chien-Ming Wang in June 2008 forced him to be shut down for the rest of that season and may have contributed to shoulder problems that have plagued his career.

That is where Robertson needs to be careful from this point on. While rehabilitating the foot, David must be careful not to alter his delivery in any way. Scores of arm injuries over the years have been tied to pitchers changing their motion to reduce stress on ailments elsewhere on their bodies. It appears that Robertson will be shut down for at least two weeks before resuming pitching.

Yankees fans can be grateful that the injury occurred so early in spring training, which should give Robertson sufficient time to get healthy and be ready to open the season with the club in April. Robertson enjoyed a breakthrough season in 2011, pitching to a 1.08 ERA over 70 appearances in which he posted a 4-0 record with 1 save and 100 strikeouts in 66 2/3 innings.

All those strikeouts helped raise money for a foundation — High Socks for Hope –that David and his wife Erin created to fund recovery efforts for families devastated by last year’s tornadoes in Tuscaloosa, Ala., Robertson’s hometown. The foundation raised more than $200,000, which was acknowledged by the New York Chapter of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America with its presenting him the Joan Payson Award for community service in January.

David also needs to heed the advice of trainer Steve Donohue. After Robertson explained how he hurt the foot by missing a step and tumbling down the staircase of his rented house in St. Petersburg, Fla., while taking empty boxes out to the recycling bin, Donohue said, “Next time, just kick them down the stairs.”


Yankees fans salute Damon

Yankees fans showed their class Monday night by greeting Johnny Damon with a standing ovation in his first game back at Yankee Stadium since Game 6 of last year’s World Series. Damon and the Yankees parted company in the off-season and he moved on to Detroit, but Yankees fans showed that they had not forgotten all he had achieved in his four seasons in pinstripes.

He was one of the Yankees’ World Series heroes in 2009, batting .364 with six runs, two doubles, four RBI and three stolen bases, two coming in his daring double steal of second and third on one play to ignite the three-run, ninth-inning rally that spurred the Yankees to victory in Game 4 at Philadelphia’s Citizens Bank Park.

Once a pariah at the Stadium when he played for Boston, Damon jumped to the other side of the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry and became a favorite in the Bronx for his aggressive, no-holds-barred approach. It was also fitting that his return coincided with the Yankees’ HOPE Week because Damon has long been dedicated to community service.

Johnny won the Roberto Clemente Award, presented annually to the major league player who combines outstanding skills on the field with devoted work in the community, in 2008, the year after he received the Joan Payson Award for community service from the New York Chapter of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. He was also honored at the Thurman Munson Awards Dinner in 2009.

Damon is the national spokesman of the Wounded Warrior Project, which provides programs and services designated to ease the burdens of severely injured service men and women and their families by aiding in the recovery process and smoothing the transition back to civilian life. Services include benefits counseling, rehabilitation, adaptive sports opportunities and advocacy initiatives He has made a series of radio and television appearances to create awareness and fundraise for the organization.

Johnny also brought along several Yankee teammates to Walter Reed Army Hospital on several occasions to visit with troops who suffered devastating injuries fighting the war on terror. He visited children suffering from cancer during the 2008 season at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and teamed up with Puma to participate in a fundraiser where a percentage of shoes sold resulted in a donation to the tsunami relief fund.

In 2006, Damon founded the Johnny Damon Foundation, which assists local and national programs that provide leadership and growth opportunities for disadvantaged children at risk. The past two years, Damon has hosted the Johnny Damon Foundation Celebrity Golf Classic to raise money for Orlando, Fla., area based charities, such as Winnie Palmer Children’s Hospital, as well as the Wounded Warrior Project. He has been the host of “Johnny Jam,” a star-studded celebrity event with live music, comedy, and silent and live auctions benefitting the Foundation.

During his time with the Yankees, Damon participated in a United States Embassy-sponsored trip in December 2007 around the globe. On the trip, Damon stopped in Bangkok, Thailand, where his mother comes from. Johnny and his family shared in a Thanksgiving lunch with more than 100 orphans at the Rajvithi Home for Girls. Bangkok Gov. Apirak Kosayothin made Johnny an honorary citizen of Bangkok, and Damon presented the governor with an autographed baseball and Yankees cap. Johnny then talked baseball with students at the International School of Bangkok and threw out the first pitch in a game between the Thailand Sanuk and Bangkok SEA little league teams.

A point of irony in Damon’s return was that he came to bat for the Tigers against Javier Vazquez. One of the least favorite moments for Yankees fans at the old Stadium was provided by Damon in his Red Sox years, a grand slam off Vazquez in the second inning of Game 7 of the 2004 American League Championship Series. It gave Boston a 6-0 lead on the way to a 10-3 victory that completed the Red Sox’ remarkable comeback in becoming the first baseball team to win a best-of-seven series after having lost the first three games. The Sox went on to win their first World Series in 86 years.

Two years later, however, when Damon came back to Fenway Park with the Yankees, he was regularly booed by those same fans. Would Yankees fans have done that if Damon had a Boston uniform on Monday night? I doubt it.