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.

On the Road with Mike: Back at Yankee Stadium

I caught the Yankees game last night with my longtime friend Tony Karcich, the head football coach at St. Joseph High School in Montvale, NJ. As they so often do, the Yankees delivered an exciting victory in the first game of this 2009 World Series rematch against Philadelphia. For me the fun began before the ballgame got underway because I had the opportunity to go down to the field and catch up with a few of the players including Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada, whom I’ve known for some years now.

CC Sabathia had to work hard and throw a lot of pitches. He got into a couple jams, but held strong to get the 8-3 win. Yankee bats came alive against Roy Halladay, one of the Phillies’ ace pitchers. Posada didn’t catch, but he came off the bench as a DH and got a big hit. He looked spry and speedy on the bases, so his foot must be feeling better.

It was good to see the Yanks have such a terrific at-bat despite the absence of Alex Rodriguez, who missed his fifth consecutive game due to a groin injury. A-Rod took batting practice and fielded some ground balls during the warmup, so we got a chance to chat about whether the Celtics or Lakers would win Game 6.

New Nets coach Avery Johnson was also down by the dugout before the game. I talked to him about growing up in New Jersey, and we discussed which section of town he and his wife might move to. Avery invited me to come watch the Nets’ training camp this summer, and I wished him luck with his exciting new venture. All in all it was a great day at the park.