It was all about heart in the second edition of the Citi Field Kids program, which took place prior to the finale between the New York Mets and Cincinnati Reds on Thursday afternoon. On hand to speak at the program was future Hall of Famer John Franco and Master of Ceremonies SNY anchor and reporter Michelle Yu.
Citi Field Kids, which is an educational and motivational community-based initiative for New York City school students in developed by Citi in collaboration with the Jackie Robinson Foundation. In the first edition of the program, Jake Ballard and Kari Miller spoke about overcoming obstacles.
This edition, Franco told the kids from the United Neighborhood Houses the importance of heart when it came time to achieving his dreams.
The future Mets Hall of Famer had this to say to Yu about what the turning point in his career was:
“The thing that was the turning point in his career was the fact that these guys who were taller than me getting all the looks by scouts-I knew I was better than them. I knew that I could compete and that I can strike that guy out. The one thing that I had that the scouts could not measure was heart; you can’t judge a man by their heart.”
Franco continued by saying:
“When you have the determination to do something you want to do –you do it. I used to ask the scouts what the difference between myself and a taller player throwing a 93 mile per hour fastball and they couldn’t tell me.”
The Mets all-time saves leader also took time out for a one-on-one with 1495 Sports.
The former team captain had this to say on the importance of being an athlete and being able to give back:
“It is very important, kids look up to us as role models and it is important to show others how special it is to give back to the community and to set a great example for the kids who are our future.”
On family and helping others to achieve their dreams:
“My family is very inspiring to me so what I try to do is to tell the kids to go out and try to achieve whatever they want too as long as you put your mind and heart to it.”
On the importance of a good education:
“Not everyone is going to have the opportunity to become a professional athlete. There is that old saying ‘A mind is a terrible thing to waste,’ and when you get your education you can become anything you want to be.”
What it was like to have been able to put on a Mets uniform being from the New York area:
“It was very special, I grew up as a Mets fan and watched all the great players and to now be in the Mets Hall of Fame with these great players it is a very special feeling.”
Message for the fans at home about giving back:
“There are a lot of people out there who are less fortunate who need our help and if you have the chance-if there is a certain foundation or charity you want to help out with go out there and help because it’ll not only help you feel better but it’ll make those less fortunate feel better as well.”
1495 Sports fans are encouraged to check out the very special photo and video gallery from the Citi Field Kids program, as the site was able to go on the pre-game tour of the Jackie Robinson Rotunda and the Mets Hall of Fame, which was led by former Jackie Robins Foundation Scholars.
Helping to lead the tour that 1495 Sports was on was Penn State-alumni Edwin Arnes, II, who quizzed the kids on different aspects of Robinson’s life and career.
Afterward all the kids were able to enjoy the finale between the Mets and the Reds as knuckleball specialist R.A. Dickey is on the hill.
Also seen on Examiner.com below: