Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

Bobby Valentine Says The Yankees Didn't Help Out After 9/11. Really?

Illustration for article titled Bobby Valentine Says The Yankees Didn't Help Out After 9/11. Really?

Here's Bobby V. doing what Bobby V. does when you put him near a microphone: Making bizarre, unnecessary, and not particularly accurate comments about the 2001 Yankees' response to the September 11th attacks.

“Let it be said that during the time from 9/11 to 9/21, the Yankees were (not around),” Valentine told Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts on Wednesday. “You couldn’t find a Yankee on the streets of New York City. You couldn’t find a Yankee down at Ground Zero, talking to the guys who were working 24/7.”

He added: “Many of them didn’t live here, and so it wasn’t their fault. And many of them did not partake in all that, so there was some of that jealousy going around. Like, ‘Why are we so tired? Why are we wasted? Why have we been to the funerals and the firehouses, and the Yankees are getting all the credit for bringing baseball back?’ And I said ‘This isn’t about credit, guys. This is about doing the right thing.’”


Just making sure I've got this right. The whole point of Valentine embarking on this retroactive sympathy pissing contest is to take credit for something that "isn't about credit?" Cool.

So what did the Yankees do for New York City in the days following September 11th, besides a team donation of $1 million, further donations from individual players (which they specifically said would not be publicized in the media), hosting a blood drive, hosting a memorial service, making the stadium locker rooms available to police, fire, and EMT workers, and donating food, clothing, and equipment to personnel working at Ground Zero and families of the victims?

On Sept. 15, they chartered three vans and visited the Javits Center, a staging area for volunteers and rescue workers.

"To see the police and the firemen, it was nice," Rivera said. "Before they came to Yankee Stadium to see the Yankees. This time we went there to see them. It was rough. I told them they can do it. You guys are the men.'"

"It was good to see the people, the volunteers and the firemen and the police," Jeter said. "They were asking for autographs and you felt like you should be asking for their autographs."

They visited a hospital that was treating injured victims.

At St. Vincents, manager Joe Torre said, an injured fireman approached him. The man initially thought his leg had been broken after a 15-foot fall through a pile of debris. But he was thrilled when the X-rays were negative, meaning he could return to the site, although he was clearly hurting.

"He wanted to rub [coach Don] Zimmer's head," Torre said. "He came up and said, 'I want to rub your head like Jeter does.' "


They visited the Park Avenue Armory, where people gathered to await news of missing family members.

A paramedic introduced Bernie Williams to an older lady. Williams didn't get her name, and wasn't even sure if she liked baseball — or even knew who he was.

"What can you say at a time like that?" Williams said. "The only thing I could think of was, 'You look like you need a hug.' "

So, Williams held the stranger, who began to cry.

The boy was 5 years old, 6 at the most.

His eyes were wide, yet red from crying, when he handed Paul O'Neill a Beanie Baby to sign.

O'Neill returned the autograph; something he had done thousands of times, but this time it was different.

The boy said "thank you," then looked at the cast on O'Neill's foot and said, "I hope you feel better soon."

O'Neill paused, as if for dramatic effect, then quietly said, "And, he just lost one of his parents."


The next day, the Yankees flew to Chicago for the start of their road trip.