NEW YORK -- Due to the amount of time Major League Baseball players spend with one another throughout a season, it's common to hear them refer to their teammates as "brothers." What they less often publicize is how that brotherhood expands into an entire family outside the clubhouse doors.While their
NEW YORK -- Due to the amount of time Major League Baseball players spend with one another throughout a season, it's common to hear them refer to their teammates as "brothers." What they less often publicize is how that brotherhood expands into an entire family outside the clubhouse doors.
While their husbands and boyfriends are on the field or on the road, the players' wives and girlfriends are busy creating a sisterhood of their own. This turns into a large family once everyone comes back together.
As Carsten Sabathia continues to be one of the players who helps keep the bonds strong in the Yankees' clubhouse in his 10th season in New York, his wife, Amber, has emerged as the leader of the wives.
"I definitely have been titled the 'head wife,' for sure, for quite a while now. I think since '09," Amber said. "I take the job very seriously because I know a lot these girls, we live here year-round. But a lot of these girls come just for the season, and each other is all they have. So it's good to have that family dynamic when the guys are gone and on the road for them to have each other for that support."
A handful of the players' significant others joined Amber in the New York Road Runners' New Balance Bronx 10 Mile race on Sunday morning, which finished right in front of Yankee Stadium. They were raising money for the Sabathias' PitCCh In Foundation.
"You're together 24/7, so we become each other's family," Jonathan Holder's wife, Nicole, said. "And [CC and Amber] work 24/7 for their foundation. ... So whenever we can give back, we jump at any moment."
"Even if it's [running] 10 miles!" added reliever Chad Green's wife, Jenna.
The PitCCh In Foundation's mission is to enrich the lives of inner-city youth by raising their self-esteem through educational and athletic activities. Amber created a marathon team called, "Team 52," five years ago. It enters races like the New Balance Bronx 10 Mile to help raise money for their organization, while also promoting their initiative to stay active.
"I'm finding any way [I can] to make it a fun way to fundraise," Amber said. "CC and I have yet to do an official gala, but we do scavenger hunts, we do basketball games, we do the celebrity softball game this year at Yankee Stadium. So we always want to be active, because ... a big part of [our foundation's mission] is making sure ... youth stays active."
About 30 members representing the foundation -- including wives of players like Albertin Chapman, Luis Severino, Dellin Betances, Gleyber Torres and J.A. Happ -- began the race early on Sunday, with everyone reaching the finish line before 11 a.m. ET.
"I mean, we're just a family," Aaron Hicks' girlfriend, Jessica Knoles, said. "We do everything together. We support each other through thick and thin, whatever it is, so I think it was just important to support Amber and support her nonprofit."
The foundation has helped children in California and New York, including the Bronx. Just over two weeks prior to the race, PitCCh In hosted a backpack giveaway at a local public school in the Bronx alongside Hicks and Didi Gregorius.
"The thing is, we play in the Bronx, the fans are in the Bronx -- so why not come out and support the youth of the Bronx?" Amber said. "The foundation gives back to the Bronx, so any way that I can include [the wives], I will."
Along with the wives and volunteers, Team 52 had a special guest who walked the 10 miles on Sunday afternoon: Sabathia's mother, Margie.
"I'm so proud of her," Amber said. "Now, I think she'll get the bug like, 'When's the next race?'"
"This is unbelievable," Peter Ciaccia, president of events and race director of the TCS New York City Marathon said. "Their support -- and what they do for the kids in the Bronx through their foundation -- is just terrific, and it aligns with what New York Road Runners is about. It's very much a community organization -- community-based and we align with the same type of mission. Amber [being here] and having [CC's] mom [on hand] was really fun."
Mandy Bell is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York.