There are many issues and causes teams contribute time and money to, and, sometimes, the issue is personal.
For former New York Yankees manager Joe Torre, domestic violence is as personal as it gets.
As the son of a Brooklyn, New York police officer, young Joe and his family suffered physical and emotional abuse for years. After a 1995 seminar called Life Success, Torre discussed his experiences publicly and wrote about the abuse in his autobiography. In 2002, he and wife Ali established The Safe At Home Foundation, with the mission to educate and stop domestic violence. In 2005, a school-centered initiative called Margaret’s Place was created, named in honor of his mother. The program provides students a safe room in school to talk to a professional counselor trained in domestic violence about abuse at home, and how to get help. His work is as much a part of his legacy in baseball as the World Series Championships he led the Yankees to.
The effort has succeeded in establishing ten fully-funded programs in schools across the country, including in Los Angeles, California and New York City. When Safe At Home Foundation was looking to expand their message, they called the Staten Island Yankees, the Short-Season Class-A New York Penn League affiliate of the Yankees with an idea for an event. As it stands, Staten Island is the only borough not have a Margaret’s Place program in place. That could change after tonight.
Before Wednesday’s game, the team will welcome the Yankees legend and fans will get an opportunity to hear Torre speak on the field in an interview with Staten Island Borough President Jimmy Oddo. There will also will also be a raffle for baseballs autographed by Torre. The first 1,000 fans will receive a three-pack of Torre baseball cards, with facts and tips in order to help raise more awareness about violence at home.
Mike Holley, Staten Island Yankees Senior Director of Marketing, confirms that the 120th precinct, located across from Richmond County Ballpark, gets approximately 7,000 domestic violence reports a year.
"We want to do whatever we can in the community," Holley said "Maybe[we could] have this be an annual thing, but that would depend on them. Our aim is to do something meaningful and this is the type of thing we want to support.”
As Major League Baseball’s chief baseball officer, Torre was a vocal supporter of the newly implemented MLB Domestic Violence Policy and worked with the player’s union to finalize the details. His continued involvement on the issue could serve as an example for other people in baseball to get more involved, and not fear taking a stand against accused teammates. At the minor league level, young players seeing a person of Torre’s stature express his feelings about his own suffering, as well as encouraging their involvement is important.
“I think the foundation really want to get their message out and have a presence here. It’s a starting point,” said Holley
The team has made an even bigger commitment. At some point today, as part of the planned on-field activities, the Staten Island Yankees will present The Safe At Home Foundation with a check, to help support their continued efforts.
“The biggest thing for tonight is awareness,” said Holley.
www.joetorre.org for more information about the organization and upcoming events in your area.
Follow the Staten Island Yankees on Twitter @SIYanks