Yankees make impact at Walter Reed, visit White House

April 26, 2010 — There have been far too many days to
count… Far too many days in which I’ve beamed with pride because I’m a member
of the New York Yankees front office.

Today was one of those days. In fact, that feeling of pride
was never more apparent within my inner being than it was today.

I am not only proud to have had the opportunity to join the
team at the White House, where we were welcomed at 3:00 pm by President Barack
Obama, but I was overwhelmed by the first stop in our busy day.

At 10:30 am, the entire team arrived at Walter Reed Medical
Center, which is one of the largest military hospitals on the East Coast. Each
player and coach spent more than two hours with wounded soldiers and their
families. They visited with a countless number of severely injured soldiers,
the majority of which were single, double or triple amputees.

The visit was impactful, but not because the team signed a
ton of autographs or posed for hundreds of photos. But because, in the words of
Army Specialist Phillip Cross, who was seriously injured in Iraq: “They
listened to our stories. They wanted to know what happened to us, and they were
interested in how we were doing. For America’s baseball heroes to show that
type of concern, it goes a long way in lifting our spirits. And when you’re
going through what a lot of these guys are dealing with, that’s awesome.”

“Those guys are our heroes,” Andy Pettite told me as we
boarded Bus 1 for the White House. “They keep us safe, and they’re paying the
ultimate sacrifice. Seeing those guys, who have lost body parts to preserve our
freedom, it really puts things in perspective. We’re able to play baseball for
a living because of their sacrifices.”

We arrived at the White House at 2:00 pm and took an
hour-long tour before assembling the East Room. A few minutes later, Vice
President Joe Biden and President Obama entered the elegant space, and the
President kicked off the Yankees ceremony with some humor.

“This team goes down to spring training every year expecting
to win it all.” President Obama said. “And more times than not, they do. Of
course, if I had Mariano Rivera, I’d expect to win it all every year as well.”

The President quickly turned his focus to the work the
Yankees have done in the community over the last few years. He lauded Derek
Jeter and Jorge Posada for the contributions they’ve made through their
respective foundations. The President applauded Mark Teixeira for the
scholarship fund he founded in honor of his high school teammate, who was
tragically killed in a car accident. And the President gave praise to Joe
Girardi and the entire team for the lives they impacted during last year’s HOPE
Week events.

Before turning the mic over to Girardi, President Obama
discussed the team’s first stop of the day, and he summarized what it is to be
a New York Yankee.

“The Yankees winning spirit was on display today, when the
team visited Walter Reed and spent time with our armed forces and their
families and brought hope and joy to families who really needed it,” the
President said. “I want to personally thank the Yankees organization for that.”

“That’s what makes the Yankees special,” he continued. “It’s
not the names on their roster or the size of their trophy case. It’s the people
underneath the pinstripes that set this team apart. It’s the players and
coaches who share a belief that anyone with first-class talent has the
obligation to be a first-class person. That is what being a Yankee is all

And that is why I am so proud to be a part of the New York
Yankees organization.

–Alfred Santasiere III

Walter Reed Blog Photo.jpg

Barack Obama - White House - 4-26-10 (EDITED).jpg

Joe Biden - White House.jpg

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