Notes: Stonewall scholars; Judge on Derby

June 18th, 2021

The Yankees celebrated New York’s Legacy of Pride before Friday’s game at Yankee Stadium, acknowledging the 2021 recipients of the Yankees-Stonewall Scholarship Initiative in a Monument Park ceremony.

First awarded in 2019 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Inn Uprising, the initiative annually awards $50,000 worth of scholarships through five $10,000 college scholarships to one graduating high school senior from each of the five boroughs of New York City.

“These young leaders represent the future of the LGBTQ community, and they deserve every opportunity to pursue both their personal aspirations and their dreams to create a more inclusive world,” said Yankees general manager Brian Cashman.

The 2021 recipients of the Yankees-Stonewall Scholarship Initiative are: Viviana “V” Sakura Benzan of the Bronx, Christine Cabusay of Staten Island, Ryan Heesemann of Queens, Skye Mayo of Manhattan and Daniil Tagaev of Brooklyn.

Additionally, Billy Bean -- Major League Baseball’s vice president & special assistant to the Commissioner -- took part in a Zoom discussion with the 2021 Yankees-Stonewall scholars to offer his insight and encouragement.

As a senior adviser to Commissioner Rob Manfred, Bean’s role focuses on player education, LGBTQ inclusion and social-justice initiatives.

“It has been such a privilege to support the Yankees-Stonewall Scholarship Initiative,” Bean said. “The Yankees are providing this amazing group of young adults an opportunity to continue their education and realize their potential. I’m truly inspired by the courage and talent of today’s recipients. They are tomorrow’s influencers, and I can’t wait to see it.”

Maybe next time
With the Angels’ Shohei Ohtani having committed to the upcoming Home Run Derby, was asked if he had any interest in joining what promises to be an enthralling exhibition.

“I haven’t even thought of it,” Judge said. “To be honest, I’ve got no interest right now -- unless the All-Star Game is back in New York soon.”

Judge won the 2017 Home Run Derby at Marlins Park, slugging 47 long balls to become the first rookie to win the Derby outright.

Practice makes perfect
The Yankees’ pitchers went through a Spring Training-like workout on the Yankee Stadium diamond Thursday, spending about 20 minutes performing pitchers’ fielding practice (“PFP”).

“It’s something we did last homestand and just something we like to mix in,” manager Aaron Boone said. “Coming off the road trip [and with] day games the next couple of days into an off-day, this felt like a day we wanted to get out there and go through those reps to attack some different things.”

This date in Yankees history
June 18, 2005: Derek Jeter hit his only career grand slam as part of a two-homer performance in an 8-1 Yankees victory over the Cubs. Jeter had hit 156 homers before the grand slam, the most by any active player and any Yankee before hitting a grand slam.