NY Sports Day
Ray Negron

Negron: Ottavino is a Lion on the Mound and a Pussycat with the Kids

Adam Ottavino has made an early impression by mowing down all the hitters that he’s faced in spring training so far. The Brooklyn born Ottavino walks on the field with this quiet confidence that says “give me the ball.” One of the newest Yankee relievers has stirred this strong excitement with the fans at the park and I continue to hear many of them ask, “Is Ottavino throwing today.”

In one breath I see a guy that’s ready to come into a game like Sparky Lyle or Mariano Rivera and just put everyone away. Later that evening, I see a very nice gentleman that enjoys his time with a bunch of kids that live in some of the best and worst areas of New York and Connecticut. We all shared a wonderful dinner together and told some very cool stories. The kids felt like they were a part of the Yankees because of the way Ottavino treated them. Whether he realized it or not, he really helped lift their self esteem and made them feel good about themselves.

Being a major leaguer is a great honor, however being a Yankee is the highest honor that a big league player can achieve.

I remember Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar once telling Yankee owner George Steinbrenner that his only regret during his wonderful big league career was the fact that he never got to play for the Yankees. That being said, Ottavino is now a “Superman” to these kids and to kids all over the Yankee Universe. I’m really happy that I got to have dinner with Ottavino and all these kids because it showed me that the Yankees got themselves a terrific pitcher and a very fine young man while New York kids got themselves someone that they can really look up to.


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