New York Yankees: David Wells

Photos from HOPE Week

June, 29, 2012

Courtesy of New York Yankees

Courtesy of New York Yankees

Courtesy of New York Yankees

HOPE Week: Afternoon with CAP kids

June, 29, 2012

When Jeff Woytovich and his wife, Betsy, created the Children's Alopecia Project (CAP) in 2004, it was a chance to help those inflicted with the alopecia -- a disease that causes hair loss -- to gain confidence and self-esteem as they endured trying times.

The couple's daughter, Madison, was diagnosed in 2003.

"A lot of these kids don't feel normal," explained Woytovich. "So when you get to be with kids that feel just like you, you now feel normal and get to do things and feel in ways that you never did before."

Friday afternoon at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx, members of CAP were able to feel normal among some of baseball's current and former stars as the Yankees stopped by to conclude HOPE Week. The eighteen members of CAP who showed up from as far as Houston, Tex. enjoyed a wide range of activities with the Bombers on a hot day.

Third baseman Alex Rodriguez, Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson, former Yankees David Wells and Darryl Strawberry, manager Joe Girardi, current Yankees Ivan Nova, Freddy Garcia, Raul Ibanez, Andruw Jones, Dewayne Wise and Cory Wade, and former Rutgers player Eric LeGrand all participated. The Yankees presented CAP with a $10,000 check and all the CAP families were invited to Friday night's game against the White Sox.

"This was the surprise of a lifetime," said Aaron Friedman, a 14-year-old from Cleveland who is diagnosed with alopecia. "Meeting all these players and seeing them give back to the community, there's nothing like it. It's the greatest feeling in the world."

Alopecia is a disease that is caused by the body's immune system attacking hair follicles, which causes smooth, roundish patches of hair loss. The disease strikes approximately four million people in the United States. After the Woytovich family couldn't find a support network for kids with the disease, they created their own, which has expanded internationally and includes more than 1,000 families.

Since a handful of the stars who showed up Friday were bald, including Jones, Wade, Wise, Ibanez and Wells, the CAP kids were able to paint on their heads. Some painted specific objects, while there was an attempt to put the Yankees' logo on top of Jones' head. Ibanez said being bald gave him and some of the other players a bond with the kids.

"It gives you a talking point right away," Ibanez said. "These kids, having to go through some of the things they've had to go through, this is really about trying to build their self-esteem and show them it's OK to be bald."

When they weren't having their heads painted, the Yankees were leading scavenger hunts. Taijha Williams, a 13-year-old with alopecia from Jersey City, N.J., paired up with her favorite Yankee, Nova, and the two could be seen smiling as they walked side-by-side through the gardens -- even though they got lost twice along the way.

"I loved that she's interacting and feeling comfortable in her own skin. Obviously that's the goal but day to day it's a challenge," said Williams' mother, Denise Rolon. "This event, she gets to let her hair down and really appreciate the fact that they know she has alopecia and don't treat her any differently."

Wells to Yankees: 'Grow some'

June, 11, 2011
David Wells, the ex-New York Yankees pitcher turned television analyst, had a message for his former team before its 4-0 win over the Cleveland Indians on Saturday afternoon:

Quit complaining about getting hit so much and do something about it. Take on the mentality of manager Joe Girardi and “grow some.”

The Yankees have been hit eight times in their last five games -- including five times during a three-game sweep at the hands of their arch rivals, the Boston Red Sox.

“Right now,” Wells told ESPN’s Johnette Howard inside the Yankees’ clubhouse on Saturday morning. “Boston is in the Yankees’ heads.”

CC Sabathia stepped up and did what he had to do,” Wells said, referring to how Sabathia hit Yankees-killer David Ortiz in the leg in game three of the Red Sox series Thursday night, but even then only after shortstop Derek Jeter and third baseman Alex Rodriguez had been plunked by right-hander Josh Beckett in the first three innings of that game. “But when you have a team in your head like Boston is in the Yankees’ heads, that’s not good. And you can’t let just let them stay there. If the Yankees do that, they’re dead – well, not dead, because they can always come back, I guess. But you have to do something about it.”

The Yankees didn’t. Instead, they fell to 1-8 against the Red Sox this season, and lost their first six home games to Boston for the first time since 1912.

“Boston punched us in the mouth,” Rodriguez said.

Wells told Howard he “wasn’t advocating a beanball war,” but said the Red Sox looked too comfortable, something Girardi readily admitted when asked specifically about Ortiz, who went 4-for-12 (.333) with two home runs, six RBIs and four runs scored during the series despite being hit for the first time in 161 career games against the Yankees.

“Nobody wants to hurt anybody,” Wells said. “I’m just talking about pitching inside, not letting a team get comfortable against you. The Red Sox are too comfortable here. David Ortiz was getting too comfortable. That’s not what you want.”

Wells told Howard he honestly didn’t think Ortiz’s bat flip after hitting a home run in game one of the series was “that bad.”

“When things are going that bad like they were going for the Yankees in that Boston series, sometimes you almost have to invent a reason to do something about it, you know?” Wells said. “If I’m on the mound there, you better believe I’d do something. When a game or a series is going that bad, you don’t just go 2-0 on a guy and lay another pitch in there.

“You have to let them know, ‘Hey? Guess what, man? I’m out here too.”

Aside from Sabathia, Girardi hasn’t certainly made public his comments that he’s “tired” of seeing his players hit and if it continues, he’s going to “protect his own.”

On Friday night, Girardi got into a heated exchange with Indians manager Manny Acta and the two had to be separated after both benches cleared after first baseman Mark Teixeira was drilled by a fastball from right-hander Fausto Carmona during the second inning follow a mammoth solo home run by center fielder Curtis Granderson.

Then, on Saturday afternoon, right-hander Mitch Talbot was ejected for beaming Rodriguez in the sixth inning.

"I'm not sure if it was intentional, but I know it hurt like hell," said Rodriguez. "It's just the form of getting hit, it seems a little fishy. Obviously guys are going deep and pitchers are shaking two or three times to the fastball in and we're getting smoked.

"The bottom line is we got embarrassed here against Boston and got punched in the mouth.”

Still, Wells wonders when “enough is enough.”

“Grow some,” Wells said.



Jacoby Ellsbury
.362 0 3 6
HRC. Beltran 3
RBIC. Beltran 8
RC. Beltran 7
OPSC. Beltran .969
WH. Kuroda 2
ERAM. Tanaka 3.21
SOC. Sabathia 21