6/25/2013 11:11 A.M. ET
Trenton Thunder partners with local rescue mission
In honor of HOPE Week, players take tour, eat lunch with less fortunate
By Jessica Quiroli / Special to MLB.com
TRENTON, N.J. -- When Mary Gay Abbott-Young and the Rescue Mission of Trenton were honored by the Double-A Trenton Thunder Monday, it was the continuation of a meaningful partnership.
"This is not the first project with the Thunder," said Executive Director Abbott-Young, shortly before the pregame ceremony. "They do so much for the community. We have a lot of partners in Trenton, and the Thunder is a part of this community. It speaks a lot about the Yankees organization. We're proud to be here and to serve the people that we serve every day."
The Mission welcomed Thunder volunteers second baseman Jose Pirella, left fielder Ramon Flores, catcher Francisco Arcia, shortstop Carmen Angelini, third baseman Reegie Corona and pitcher Fred Lewis.
Barrett Young, who was honored alongside his mother, saw the players getting firsthand experiences, which included a tour and a meal with a handful of people whose lives differ greatly from theirs.
"After they took the tour, they had lunch with eight of our residents. The players opened up, and they had great conversations with the guys. It was inspirational, but I would say also, 'What if they look at it like if I didn't take this turn in life, what could I have done?'"
"The players interaction with the residents was fantastic," said Abbott-Young, who has overseen the mission for 37 years.
"We started out years and years ago," she said. "Many of the residents come [to] us here a couple of times a year. [Thunder general manager] Will Smith does the miniature golf charity event. We also live up the street and bring our grandson to watch a game. We are just good friends, as community members."
The Thunder's presentation included video of the Mission's history, as well as footage of the players' time there.
Time, Thunder manager Tony Franklin believes is well spent.
"We've explained that doing public service is important for them as individuals. We live in a cocoon. Sometimes it's important to remember there are people out there less fortunate than you," said Franklin. "We complain about the bus rides, poor food, and things of that nature. Those things are really not important in the grand scale of life. Let's all go do something worthy of human nature, and forget about baseball for a few minutes."
Young witnessed the simplicity of the moment between the players and the residents, just guys, sharing a universal language on a summer day.
"It was nice to see, because these are guys with aspirations to make it to the Major Leagues," said Young. "And they're talking to the guys who are coming off the streets, some are currently in prison. And they're just sitting there talking baseball."
The Trenton Thunder concludes HOPE Week on Tuesday, honoring the Trenton Children's Chorus.
Jessica Quiroli is a contributor to MLB.com This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.