Curtis Granderson is a hit in the community

Non analytical post.

I take a journalism class. I did a feature on Curtis Granderson. It’s not that good, but enjoy anyway:

The cool breeze of an early morning wind sweeps across George Steinbrenner Field, home of the New York Yankees Spring Training facilities. Position players are running sprints and among them is the new guy, Curtis Granderson, who was acquired via trade back in December. After practice ends, several players walk back to the locker room- except for one. Curtis Granderson walks towards the stands to sign autographs for dozen of eager kids praying for the chance to meet a Major League Baseball player.

In a time where players are less accessible and less visible in the community, Curtis Granderson is making sure he can use his star power to help others. Anyone who has ever met Granderson is instantly transfixed by his humility. “He signs autographs out there every single day when he leaves until he signs everybody’s autograph and you just don’t find that,” says former manager Jim Leyland.

Granderson was born in Lynwood, Illinois, where his parents, Mary and Curtis Sr., subjected him to strict standards. Curtis could only play baseball if he maintained a B average. They stressed the values of education to him, which is why he continued to take classes to earn a degree, even after starting his professional career. The morals imparted in him by his parents have helped Granderson become a leading role model in sports today.

In the past few years, Granderson has been baseball’s ambassador to Italy, Britain, China, and South Africa. He also created his own charity, the Grand Kid’s Foundation. The Grand Kid’s Foundation was founded in 2008 as an educational based organization. The organization helps to purchase school supplies for needy kids, books for schools, and provides equipment to inner city schools. There is even a scholarship program for high school seniors. Granderson also hosted three Celebrity Basketball Games in Detroit, on behalf of his foundation.

Just this past fall in 2009, Curtis won the Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award. The award is given to those whose performance off the field inspires others to do the same. “The fact that other teammates and other players throughout the league have acknowledged that as well has definitely been a great thing, too,” he said.

Along with the Marvin Miller award, he was announced as a member of the “Dream Team” for community service among athletes from ten sports. He was also named as a candidate for the Jefferson Award in Public Service. Adding to his trophy case of public service, Granderson was the Detroit Tigers choice for the Roberto Clemente Award, named in honor of the late humanitarian and baseball great. The award is given to a single player in MLB who demonstrates exceptional work in the community. He even showed up at the White House to help unveil a new campaign to reduce obesity.

“I am excited at being able to continue to help enhance the educational experience for many of Michigan’s students,” says Granderson, who wrote the kids book All You Can Be: Dream It, Draw It, Become It! “I want to help others realize that they do not have to be rich and famous to make a positive impact in their community. Volunteering just one hour a week at any community organization or school can make a difference. People ask me all the time how I have time to do this, but I’m single and I don’t have any kids. If I can find even an hour here or there to do something, I still have 23 hours to rest or see my friends and family. You look at it that way, it’s easy to find time.”

When the New York Yankees traded for Curtis Granderson, they traded for an All-Star center fielder who will help them on the field in their quest to repeat as World Series Champions. They also traded for a guy who will make just as important impact off the field.

“Our arms are open to whatever he wants to do,” said Major League Baseball’s Celia Bobrowsky. “It’s great to have him in the neighborhood.”

Welcome to New York, Curtis.

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