Ray Negron's Playball Weekly Blog

Positive reinforcement to our youth is the key… The Yankee Way!

Cristian Rey High School in Brooklyn was a wonderful surprise.

When I received a message from Allen Garcia, an administrator at the school to please visit and give a message to the students I didn’t know what to expect.

I know Brooklyn very well and also know how tough some of these areas can be.

What I found was a school that was very in tune with what these students need to advance to the next level in life.

When I spoke to them about the importance of life and the pursuit of happiness and success I could tell that they hung on every word.

I was very straightforward and hardcore about my life and how I was no different than they were. I also explained the importance of not feeling sorry for themselves when times are hard, and they are going to be every once in a while. The key is when we fall how are we going to get up?

The thing that impressed me the most was the line of questioning. They came at me with true and honest questions and I fired back with honest answers.

I can only say that I was very impressed with the students, the teachers, and the administrators because their responsibilities for the students were very genuine. I must add that the students’ admiration towards the teachers was real.

I have to add that the school’s principal Deana Phillipe and the President of the school William Henson were outstanding in how they communicated with the students. I have to admit that Allan Garcia’s love of the Yankees did sway me into making the trip to Brooklyn. I can’t ever turn down true Yankee fans.

The next day I found myself in Bradenton Florida and IMG (International Management Group) Sports Academy. I have been visiting the student-athletes and participating in their baseball program for the last fifteen years under the tutelage of one of their directors Kit Carlson. While there I spent the time with the father (Earl Stroman) of one of our newest Yankees Marcus Stroman. His son Jaden is a student there. I must add that from my amateur scouting skills Jaden is truly a terrific infield prospect with a great arm and very good power. He is a contact hitter and the grand slam that he hit wowed all in attendance. After the game, it was nice to get together with some of the young players and talk about the game. It’s always great to get together with former Suffolk County police detective Stroman who has been coaching baseball in Long Island for many years so I can understand his son’s knowledge of the game. I must add that Earl is a hero to my sons who are also police officers and have worked with Earl in Suffolk.

While in Tampa I will be visiting several schools and youth organizations including the Tasco teen program. This is an organization that was first introduced to me by George Steinbrenner in 1992.

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