No matter it is who steps in the batter’s box, so long as that player is wearing a Mets uniform, you are going to root for that player. At times, that can be tough as we have seen with Bobby Bonilla, Vince Coleman, Bret Saberhagen, and many other Mets past and present. These experiences make you relish the opportunity to root for a good player and an even better person like Curtis Granderson.
For the second straight season, Granderson was nominated for the Roberto Clemente Award for his being a “player who best represents the game through extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy and positive contributions, both on and off the field.” (MLB.com). Major League Baseball announced Granderson was nominated for being:
One of the sport’s greatest ambassadors on and off the field, he makes a major difference for inner-city kids with his Grand Kids Foundation, backs many other causes and donated $5 million to his alma mater at the University of Illinois-Chicago to help create a new baseball complex.
The Grand Kids Foundation runs youth baseball programs in Florida (site of the Mets Spring Training), Chicago (his hometown), Detroit (his first major league team) and New York. Granderson doesn’t forget anyone or any place. In his career, Granderson has used the wealth he has accumulated due to his tremendous baseball talent, and he has helped children who are less fortunate than him. Recently, Granderson posted an example of the fun and learning that happens in his baseball programs:
— Curtis Granderson (@cgrand3) September 14, 2016
Overall, the Grand Kids Programs stated mission is “Through play, education and sportsmanship, participants gain invaluable skills they can carry with them for a liftetime.”
This past year, Granderson has expanded beyond these baseball clinics and safe spaces for children to learn and play baseball by starting Grand Giving. Grand Giving is “an annual hunger relief program” that has the goal of providing “one million meals during November for families in New York and Chicago.” (New York Post). The program has been a success in Granderson’s native Chicago, and now he has brought it to New York this year. This program is near and dear to Granderson’s heart, as he said, “I remember days of not having a meal, trying to focus in the classroom and to be able to do things I wanted to on the baseball field and basketball court. Imagine if you did not have a meal for a couple days.”
However, Granderson is much more than these foundations. He has also donated his time during this season to read to school children:
Here are Curtis Granderson and Eric Campbell reading "Green Eggs and Ham" to children today at PS 92 in Corona. pic.twitter.com/RNPYqdJO08
— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) May 3, 2016
Even with Granderson taking his time out to help others, he still remains an important and productive player for the New York Mets. Last year, he was far and away the team’s MVP keeping an injured Mets team in the race until reinforcements were able to arrive. He would also be the Mets best player in the World Series hitting three home runs. This year has been more of a struggle for him, but during the Mets charge for the postseason, he has been hitting .245/.387/.673 with a double, a triple, six homers and 14 RBI over his last 15 games. During that stretch, he has moved over to center field because that is what the Mets needed him to do.
Couple that with his taking time to sign autographs before and during games, Granderson is about an easy a Mets player there has ever been to root for. With that in mind, the least we can all do is tweet #VoteGrandy so he can get the recognition he so richly deserves for being a terrific player on the field and an even better human being off of it.