Appreciation Is Deep Rooted In New York Yankees Clubhouse
As one of the greatest Major League Baseball players faced the grim reality of premature death, Lou Gehrig considered himself "the luckiest man on the face of the earth." Though he eventually would die at the unthinkable age of 37, less than two years later, Gehrig never lost the appreciation of putting on a New York Yankees uniform. That treasured sentiment continues today in the Bronx Bombers locker-room.
As Yankees players parade to the field from their clubhouse each day, a sign with the words "I want to thank the Good Lord for making me a Yankee" greets them. It's a quote from Hall of Fame center-fielder, Joe D'Maggio. On Opening Day, a veteran on the current Pinstripes' roster, made sure that tradition of appreciation continues.
Prior to the Yankees players arriving at the Stadium for Opening Day, according to Brendan Kuty of theathletic.com, first-baseman Anthony Rizzo gave each player two 750 milliliter bottles of Chianti. According to Kuty, the first was "Sor Bruno from Il Cellese, a winery in Poggibonsi, Italy, and it retails for about $130. The other was even nicer: an Il Solatio from the Castello di Albola winery in Chianti, Italy, which goes for as much as $470." That is at least $15,000 to cover the other 25 players on the roster. It is doubtful Rizzo left-out the coaches and the clubhouse staff. It's important gesture.
Opening Day is important for a team. Often there are a few new faces and for the next 162 games, you have to all be pulling in the same direction. Following an 8-1 victory over the Phillies on Monday, Rizzo spoke about the Opening Day surprise that he left his teammates to theathletic.com,“You go through spring training, and everyone is on their own different journey of how they got here. Whether it’s a lot of Opening Days in a row or your first or somewhere in between. Just a little exciting thing for an exciting day. A fresh slate. Fresh opportunities. A lot of high hopes and dreams.” Was the first-baseman carrying on a long-standing New York Yankees tradition? No.
“It’s just a gesture I learned when I was with the Cubs,” Rizzo told Kuty. “I’d see Jon Lester do it all the time, year in and year out. And Jason Heyward, too.” Either way, the gift aligns with a century of appreciation for wearing the Yankee pinstripes. Understanding the "foundational values" it takes to win a championship, is a big reason why general manager Brian Cashman made it a priority to keep Anthony Rizzo in pinstripes.