What rivalry?

Very touching story in the Wall Street Journal today about how the Yankees players put aside their hatred of the Red Sox to help out Boston’s first base coach Ron Johnson this past September.

Johnson, who was Kevin Long’s minor-league manager in the mid-90s, was struck by tragedy a month earlier when his daughter was riding a horse and was hit by a car. Bridget needed to have her leg amputated and Johnson’s bills were piling up.

So prior to a game in September, the Yankees hitting coach called a team meeting and informed the players of his good friend’s misfortune. One by one they “ponied” up the money — substantial donations — to help out this man that they had never met.

Long story short, Bridget and her prosthetic leg will be just fine thanks to the generosity of the “classless” Yankees. Yes indeed, soldiers of the Evil Empire were selfless enough to help out a member of their bitter division rivals.

It’s a good read, so if you have the time I highly recommend it.

Here are some quotes:

Long:

The day I got the big-league job, he was one of the first ones to call. The day he got the big-league job, I was one of the first ones to call him.

Our friendship is deep. It goes way, way back. Friends aren’t just there for the good times, they’re there when things go backwards on you. Anything I could help him with, I wanted to do.

AJ:

He came to us, and you could hear it in K-Long’s voice how important it was to him. You just wanted to help in any way you can. We’re a huge family here. Whether you’re a Yankee or anybody else, we’re all in it together.

Mo:

When you hear things like that, it’s a fellow worker. You just want to help. Especially when it comes to the family, you know?

Posada:

We ask K-Long how she’s doing, and obviously she’s doing much better with the legs, and the prosthetic leg.

Johnson:

When we play the Yankees (in Spring Training tomorrow), and you see me going up and thanking some guys, don’t think I’m just going over to chat with them.

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