The Yankees brought former players and Hall of Famers to Finsbury Park.
Ahead of their London Series against the Boston Red Sox, the New York Yankees hosted a clinic and barbecue for London Mets Youth and parents at our very own Finsbury Park.
The evening opened with remarks from Hal Steinbrenner, Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman, and Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred. All of whom stressed the importance of community engagement as a means of growing the sport in the United Kingdom and recognized the London Mets for our hard work as ambassadors for baseball. The clinic saw Mets youth rotate between four stations focusing on different parts of the game: base running; pitching; fielding; and hitting. But what made the clinic special were the names manning the stations.
Teaching Mets Youth base running was the hero of the 2003 ALCS and current Yankees Manager Aaron Boone. Heading up outfield drills was 2009 World Series MVP, Hideki Matsui, and infield was handled by crowd favorite Nick Swisher.
Teaching our young Mets the finer points of pitching were current Hall of Fame inductee Mariano Rivera and three time all-star Andy Pettitte.
In the batting cages, the kids benefited from the instruction of former Rookie of the Year Carlos Beltran, three time MVP Alex Rodriguez, and Mr. October himself, Reggie Jackson. The Yankees greats at Finsbury Park combined in their careers to win two ALCS MVPs, four World Series MVPs, and four American League MVPs. They combined to make 57 All Star game appearances and sport 19 World Series Championship rings between them. The true greatness of the Yankees players and front office, however, should not be measured only in the awards and championships won, but the generosity of spirit they exhibited with our youth. The Yankees were happy to linger during the barbecue, talking with kids and parents, signing autographs, and taking selfies. What shone through in all of them was their obvious love of the game and their desire to pass their knowledge on to a new generation, and new continent, of baseball fans.
In addition to the generosity of time, the Yankees presented the London Mets with a gift of a truckload of equipment to aid in the teaching and playing of baseball. The gift was revealed to the Oohs and Ahhs of the parents and players gathered followed by cheers and applause. The impact the Yankees have made on the lives of our youth and on the baseball community in London is immeasurable. We at the London Mets could not be more grateful to our new friends in the baseball world, the New York Yankees.