The Yankees are proud to wear their pinstripes, but off they field, they say it's important to look good as well, as some of the players helped to motivate men who have been through hard times and even prison. NY1's Dean Meminger filed the following report.
Imagine walking into a fitting room and Yankees stars Derek Jeter and Alfonso Soriano are there to give you fashion advice. That's exactly what happened to a group of men at a program called Career Gear.
"I just feel like the luckiest guy in the world right now," said Coss Marte, who spent years in prison for being a drug kingpin.
After his release, Marte turned to Career Gear for help. The organization provides suits for men in need and conducts motivational workshops. Now, Marte has started his own fitness training business.
As a part of their Hope Week initiative, the Yankees surprised the men with clothing donated by DKNY.
"Everyone makes mistakes. I don't care who you are. You just got to try to learn from your mistakes, and it's important that people are given second chances," Jeter said. "And here, this organization like this that's giving people second chances, they should be extremely proud because there's some wonderful men here."
Dion Thompson battled drug addiction and hit hard times, but he said he's been moving in a positive direction, and this Hope Week event will help to keep pushing him.
"It is great to see role models such as some of the team players here, and it's really a pleasure," Thompson said. "It gives me a lot more to look forward to in life."
"Just to see these men's face light up getting a suit, but they talked about it's much more than that. It's allowed them to get back into the workplace, to better themselves, better their families," said Yankees center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury. "It's just truly special."
For the men in this program, meeting superstar athletes is, of course, a big deal, and they will never forget it, but it is the day-to-day work of organizations like Career Gear that will make the difference for the rest of their lives.
"They have of these programs and workshops that help these men kind of get back on their feet," said Yankees second baseman Brian Roberts. "And to hear some of these guys that have actually gone from being incarcerated to owning their own business is pretty amazing."