In life, people seem to think that they have the biggest problems in the world. However, if they took the time to look around, they would see that there are always people with much bigger problems.
I had a whirlwind 48 hours and it began at the Yes studios. At 8:30 in the morning, a long line was starting to form because the popular TV Show “Centerstage” was featuring Bronx legend and Oscar nominated actor Chazz Palminteri.
The reason I was there was because if you’ve ever seen a “Bronx Tale,” than you know why I love that movie and play. However, more importantly I was there because I had received a call from Nick Singh from an organization called “Experiences 4 Causes”. He told me about a 17 year old boy by the name of Tyler Padron. Tyler is suffering from Hydrocephalus, which is a condition that occurs when the brain gets too much water.
Tyler has had 40 operations to date to deal with the problem. Nick was hoping that somehow we could put Tyler together with Michael Kay because Tyler’s dream has been to become a broadcaster and his true hero has always been the lead TV voice of the Yankees. With that being said I contacted one of my true friends in life, Charlie Santoro, who is an executive at Yes but more importantly is a true champion of all children’s causes.
We brought Tyler to the studio and waited for Michael Kay back stage. You can tell that Tyler was as nervous as a teenybopper waiting for Elvis. When Michael came out of the makeup room he went right over to Tyler and treated him like a true V. I. P. Michael gave Tyler his true Bronx charm and made Tyler believe that in life anything is possible. By the scars on Tyler’s head you can see that he has gone through a lot, however, Michael Kay and Tyler Padron together were champions for a cause.
That afternoon I went to Yankee Stadium. The Yanks had a doubleheader against the Baltimore Orioles. On this day, Gleyber Torres hit 3 home runs.
That’s a very special day for any baseball player. What made it more special for Mr. Torres was that the next day was an off day and he was going to spend it with a bunch of special needs kids. Kids suffering from all types of problems including cancer. Kids that have never really had a fair chance in life to truly be little kids however they never seem to complain.
When Gleyber and his friend and agent, Jose Mijares, showed up at the Viscardi Center, the eyes on the kids’ faces just glowed. There were other stars there like hockey’s Ron Duguay the former NY Ranger, and Hall of Fame football star Harry Carson, but the kids just gravitated towards Gleyber.
Let’s not forget that Torres is only 22 so he is close in age to a lot of these kids. The great thing about Gleyber is that he looks at these kids, not as special needs, but as kids. One youngster that has spent his whole life in a wheel chair and has never complained is named Chris Alvarez. Even though Chris is probably only two and a half feet tall, in Gleyber’s eyes Chris was 6 feet tall. Gleyber even exchanged telephone numbers and invited Chris to a Yankee game. Chris mentioned how happy he was that Gleyber hit three home runs and Gleyber being Gleyber told Chris that he would always dedicate that game to him. All the parents that were there thought that was just a beautiful gesture.
In the immortal words of George Steinbrenner and Lou Gehrig… We’re Yankees, it’s what we do.
A special thank you to Larry Travolta Davis for looking out for the kids at the Viscardi Center.