An idea meant to inspire

Bravo to the New York Yankees and their media relations director Jason Zillo. The team recently completed “Hope Week,” the second season of a weeklong program of good will. Zillo came up with the idea for Hope Week in 2009 as a way to recognize and reward inspirational members of the community, while also encouraging service.

This season’s effort was another widely successful initiative, with significant player buy-in and tremendous national PR. New York Magazine called Hope Week, “a great little thing.” NBC News ran moving segments during “Nightly News” and “The Today Show,” with co-host Meredith Vieira saying there “are so many wonderful things that these teams do that need to be recognized” as “we often hear about players behaving badly.” Even the local tabloids praised it, with the New York Daily News’ Mike Lupica writing “there was a magic” throughout Hope Week. Lupica: “Magic and the power of sports. This isn’t just what sports teams can do over a week like this, it’s what they’re supposed to do.”

All franchises give back, and they shouldn’t face the unenviable comparison or position of looking like late-to-the party imitators. The Yankees achieve recognition purely for being the Pinstripes, but it shouldn’t put a damper on what other teams look to accomplish in their market. What Zillo and the Yankees have done rightfully deserves praise, and the team has set the bar so high that we are eager to see how they can continue to inspire.

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