The New York Yankees will play an exhibition game against Virginia Tech today in Blacksburg in honor of the 32 students killed on campus in April of last year, when a gunman went of a shooting rampage. The game will be played at 3PM ET, and is available for free on MLB.TV.
The Yankees are making a large monetary donation to the school. As reported by MLB.com:
Following the tragedy, Yankees principal owner George M. Steinbrenner pledged $1 million to the Virginia Tech "Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund," while promising to set aside a date during the 2008 Spring Training schedule to visit the campus and embrace the student body.
"This is something the organization felt was important, and they reached out from Day 1," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "I think it's important for our guys to see. Most of us have kids; some of us have been on college campuses. I get emotional when I think about it.
"Mr. Steinbrenner has always been a very charitable man. He's always cared about people and so has this organization. I just think he's doing a wonderful thing."
As this is a special exhibition game, the sides will play for 7 innings.
The exhibition is far different than most played in MLB these days. Where many exhibition games have few star players, the Blacksburg game will see as many Yankees in the lineup as possible, if the players have their wish. As reported by The AP:
"All the players are looking forward to it," [Derek] Jeter said Monday. "The players that can't go want to. I'm sure it will be emotional, especially for the student body."
The game is not available to the ticket buying public. The stadium will be full to capacity after 3,000 students were selected by lottery, 1,000 faculty and staff, and victims of the April 11, 2007 shooting attend.
And the game is not the only stop for the Yankees. They plan to visit a memorial for the victims of the tragedy. As further reported by The AP:
"I think it's important for guys to see it," first-year manager Joe Girardi said. "I get emotional thinking about it. Wake up in the morning, it's a blessing."
According to the NY Post:
Jeff Karstens, a candidate for one of three spots left in the bullpen, will start for the Yankees. VT captain Andrew Wells starts for the hosts.
Virginia Tech hitters will use wood bats donated by Louisville Slugger.
The players will wear special uniforms for the event, according to the MLB.com report:
For batting practice, the Yankees will wear special maroon and orange 'NY' caps with the Virginia Tech logo on the side, some of which appeared in the clubhouse Monday. During the game, the Yankees will return to their normal blue-colored caps, emblazoned with the VT logo on the side. All headgear worn in the game will be auctioned off for charity.