This morning I received a phone call that from sports and entertainment promoter Larry Davis.
He wanted to let me know that he was doing an event in conjunction with Steiner sports at Empire Steak House.
The two honored guest would be Yankee manager Aaron Boone and The rookie sensation Gleyber Torres.
Whenever Larry has a young player or a Latin player at one of his events he likes to invite me because of my long history with these type of players. Sometimes these players don’t have the command of the English language or just the fact that they are so young in this type of setting.
When Travolta as Larry is known because of how much he looks like John Travolta, said that the young player was Gleyber I told him that he didn’t need me there because Gleyber is mature beyond his years and his command of the English language is getting better by the day.
Travolta asked if I would like to come anyway, so who am I to turn down a free meal.
When I entered the Empire Steak House Travolta sat me with Mitch Modell, of Modell’s Sporting Goods, Charlie Santoro and some of my friends from the Yes Network. The event started with Aaron Boone talking about the first half of the Yankee season and the terrific personalities that he has in his players. At that point Travolta came over and brought me to Say hello to Gleyber. This terrific young man greeted me with the kind of respect that you would of thought that I was the celebrity.
After our pleasantries he said that he didn’t realize that it was going to be such a big event. He asked me if I would be available for him in case he needed a translator. I laughed and said that I had been watching him do his interviews all season and thought that he has been great. He asked if I would help him anyway in case the line of questioning got tough so I told him I would.
When they finally called Gleyber up to the stage, I stood to the left of him. Far enough not to be a distraction but close enough that Gleyber could see that I was there.
When the line of questioning started to come from the very seasoned interviewer Michael Kay, I have to say this young man could not of responded any better. He was very complimentary of his teammates and coaches and extremely respectful of the Yankee brand as a whole. Michael Kay asked Boone if there was another player that Gleyber reminded him of and for the life of me I couldn’t remember who Boone said. To me there is only one. The great Roberto Alomar. I have known Roberto since he was 6 years old and have seen him grow up. Sure it’s easy to make baseball comparisons both offensively and naturally defensively. However the one area that they truly have in common is that they both have incredible parents who love their son unconditionally. No matter how great their son gets or in the case of Roberto Alomar got, they will always be thier little boy. This will always help Gleybers head from getting to big as was the reason why Alomar’s never did.
I recently had a conversation with Gleybers dad that I remember having with Roberto’s dad Sandy in 1988 just before Robbie’s first season in the big leagues. Both fathers basically said the same things from the standpoint of parenthood and that is Father knows best. When I speak to both Roberto and Gleyber, the respect they have for their parents are beautiful.
I know Robbie Alomar like if he is my brother and his dad Sandy has always been a big brother and a true mentor to me. Getting to know Gleyber and his parents this year makes me feel great for the Yankees and thier fans because if Gleyber has just half of Robbie Alomar’s career then we Yankee fans are going to be in great shape for years to come.
My very favorite Roberto Alomar story will always be that on his very last day as a Major League Baseball player Robbie got a brand new baseball and signed it ‘ To the Boss, my only regret was not playing for you. Roberto Alomar. When I gave the ball to the Boss, he said that this was one of the nicest gestures that a player had ever done. That ball sat on his desk for years. The Boss loved the fact that Robbie understood what it meant to be a Yankee without ever being one. This was something that Robbie learned from his dad Sandy who played for the Boss
In the case of Gleyber he talks about the Yankees as his family. He understands that even though he is so young he has a responsibility to lead by example. I have to think that this is what he has learned from his parents and why he is in line to be the next pride of the Yankees.