Yankees center fielder Curtis Granderson and New York City’s Public Schools Athletic League announced Thursday that Granderson will be donating 300 Louisville Slugger bats to the league’s softball and baseball teams. The announcement took place at South Bronx High School.
“One of the big things that my foundation, myself and my family have instilled and the reason why we wanted to do this, I love baseball,” Granderson said on Thursday. “I’ve been playing baseball since I was 6 years old, I played many sports. Now I’m 30 years old, still playing, obviously, loving it, but one of the crazy things I hear when I talk to different people about why they don’t play, it’s expensive. With the help of Louisville Slugger and my foundation, the Grand Kids Foundation, we were able to donate these bats. I’m sure as the softball players and the baseball players can attest to, this is probably the most expensive piece of all your equipment.”
With metal bats being banned from high school competition in New York City since 2007, teams are forced to rely on wooden bats, which can break easily during the course of a game -- or practice -- and become costly to replace. While talking to those in attendance Thursday, Granderson mentioned how he broke two bats during a game recently.
The PSAL will provide the 300 bats to its 115 softball teams and 139 baseball teams, according to New York City Department of Education Spokesperson Margie Feinberg. According to the New York Daily News, a PSAL official said the donation is worth approximately $50,000.
According to Louisville Slugger’s website, wooden bats can range from about $20 to more than $100 apiece.
“You can see how the game can start to get up there in price and I never want to go ahead and have kids say 'hey, I can’t do it because it’s too expensive,’ so hopefully this is one of the ways we can help out to keep kids playing, keep kids active,” Granderson said.
He added: “I hope the bats can take you guys on to further and much further heights. Championships, scholarships and on. Just continue to do it and thank you for allowing me to do this.”
Granderson was joined at South Bronx High School by New York City public schools Chancellor Dennis M. Walcott, who lauded the Yankees center fielder’s charity work.
“By having these bats, it gives your team and others an opportunity to compete and compete really well,” Walcott said. “On top of that, it allows you really to say you are here in the presence of a professional ballplayer who is not just here because he thinks lightly of you, he’s here because he thinks so seriously about you and all the students like you to make sure he gives up his time, he creates a foundation to donate back into the community and make the city and the country a better place. And Mr. Granderson, I want to say thank you to you.”