Czar’s Got Heart: Joe Torre Safe At Home Foundation Annual Gala

Last Thursday Ali and Joe Torre hosted the 8th Annual Safe at Home Foundation Gala in New York City to benefit multi-media and school-based educational initiatives to raise awareness of domestic violence.

11-time All-Star and Yankees Team Captain Derek Jeter was the guest of honor. Sports stars and fans alike turned up to lend their generous support for a cause that means a lot to Joe, who himself grew up with an abusive father.

Ali and Joe created the foundation in 2002 in order to educate students, faculty and families about domestic violence and to provide teens experiencing abuse with a safe space and counseling.

I had to be in Denver for the Lakers at Nuggets broadcast on Thursday, so unfortunately I was unable to attend. But I know first hand that the Safe at Home staff and volunteers do an incredible job organizing the event each year.

Some of the world’s top entertainers including Billy Crystal, Paul Simon, Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi and Mariah Carey have performed in the past, making for a truly memorable evening.

Here’s a clip from one of the benefits I attended a few years back when someone you may recognize popped in to give me a quick plug during my interview.

If you would like to make an online donation to the Safe at Home Foundation please click here, or you can call 212-880-7360.

Mike Looks Back: Fellow Jersey Boy Jon Bon Jovi

Jon Bon Jovi is coming up in concert at the New Meadowlands Stadium for three nights next week. I’ve been to his show before. In fact, I’ve been on stage with him. In Cleveland we had run into his manager the night before his show and he arranged to bring a group of us up on stage, off to the side. We stayed there for two or three songs. Then that group got off and the next group came up on stage, but they told me to just stay. So I wound up staying up there for almost the whole concert. I was actually behind Jon looking out at the crowd from his perspective. It was sensational.

Jon Bon Jovi and Mike Fratello at the Annual Joe Torre Safe At Home Foundation Gala.

Jon and I first met at a Cleveland Browns game back when Bill Belichick was the head coach. Jon and I were both down on the field before the game. It was freezing, snowing.  We were introduced and eventually I said, “Come on Jon, we sit in the box up there.” But he said, “No, I want to stay down here.” Then just before halftime he called me on the cell phone and said, “How do I get up there?” because it was so damn cold out on the field. So he came up and sat in the box with us for the rest of the game.

Jon is one of the nicest people you’ll meet. He’s also one of the hardest working guys I know. And he love sports – he’s a great sports enthusiast. He was one of the co-majority owners of the Philadelphia Soul AFL football team, which won the ArenaBowl in 2008. He’s also a Jersey guy who, like Frankie Valli and Bruce Springsteen, is one of the guys in the entertainment field who’s just done so much for the music industry. That‘s Jersey pride.