The Yankees' fifth installment of the "HOPE Week" initiative was profiled on NBC's "Today" on Friday morning, with NBC's MATT LAUER appearing on-site at Yankee Stadium for Thursday’s charity event organized by the group Birthday Wishes. Footage showed aspects of the entire day for a group of 25 homeless children celebrating their birthday at the stadium, with Yankees P MARIANO RIVERA telling Lauer, "The smile that we see on their faces when we interact and have fun with them … is a moment they will never forget." Lauer: "It's clear Hope Week isn't about how much you can gather, but how much you can give." Following the in-studio report, Lauer said, “It was such a nice day at the stadium yesterday, it really was. You could see the players were smiling as much as the kids and that made me feel good” ("Today," NBC, 7/12). Yankees Ps CC SABATHIA and PHIL HUGHES also took part in the event. Birthday Wishes co-Founder and Exec Dir LISA BASILOFF said, "I'm completely blown away by everything the Yankees have done for the kids" (N.Y. POST, 7/12).
UNDER THE HAMMER
: The family of the late SAM SNEAD
"put items on the block" for an auction of some of the Golf HOFer's "most valued major championship trophies and medals." The items include "his 1954 Masters trophy, his 1946 Claret Jug for winning the Open Championship at St. Andrews and the gold medal for his 1942 PGA Championship." An online auction began Wednesday and the live auction will be Aug. 1-2 in Rosemont, Ill. (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 7/12
AROUND THE BASKET: Basketball HOFer SCOTTIE PIPPEN is “being sued over a fight last month at an upscale Southern California restaurant that left an autograph-seeker hospitalized with a head injury.” The $4M lawsuit filed Thursday in L.A. Superior Court said that 49-year-old plaintiff CAMRAN SHAFIGHI “simply asked Pippen for a photograph for his girlfriend’s 12-year-old son” (AP, 7/11)….Heat G DWYANE WADE’s ex-wife SIOHVAUGHN WADE on Thursday “dropped a lawsuit she filed Tuesday" alleging she was owed at least $1M million from her ex-husband (CHICAGOTRIBUNE.com, 7/11)
NAMES: Attorneys for former Penn State President GRAHAM SPANIER on Thursday "filed notice of their intent to bring a defamation lawsuit against" former FBI Dir LOUIS FREEH, who penned the report on the JERRY SANDUSKY scandal at the school (CENTRE DAILY TIMES, 7/12)....NBA free agent G MONTA ELLIS on Wednesday left his “longtime agent, JEFF FRIED.” Ellis is “frustrated that he has yet to receive a high-paying contract offer.” Sources said that he is expected to “sign with agent DAN FEGAN” (ESPN.com, 7/10)….WNBA Fever F TAMIKA CATCHINGS has “joined the fight against diabetes,” as she is “advocating for Dribble to Stop Diabetes,” a national campaign (INDYSTAR.com, 7/11)….Patriots TE ROB GRONKOWSKI and his family on Thursday signed copies of their book, “GROWING UP GRONK: A FAMILY'S STORY OF RAISING CHAMPIONS,” at a Barnes & Noble (BOSTON HERALD, 7/12)….Musical act MACKLEMORE & RYAN LEWIS will perform July 29 at K.C. Live as part of the MLS All-Star Game festivities. The show is “part of the five-day pregame fan festival” (K.C. STAR, 7/12)….The first nonstop flight from Beijing to Houston with more than 300 passengers landed Thursday afternoon with former NBAer YAO MING aboard (CHRON.com, 7/11)....The NHL and NHLPA announced that the two organizations will “donate $100,000 to the Canadian Red Cross to assist with flood relief in Alberta.” The donation will “come from the NHL foundation and the NHLPA Goals & Dreams fund” (CP, 7/11).
IN MEMORY: Former Emerson College AD and ECAC Commissioner RUDY KEELING, the first African-American commissioner of that conference, “died of cancer Saturday in his Londonderry, N.H., home” at the age of 66. He became Emerson AD in ’02 and was named ECAC Commissioner in ’07 (BOSTON GLOBE, 7/9).