The NYPD baseball team is traveling to Colombia to play America’s favorite sport with officers in South America while donating sports goods to children.
The baseball team arrived at JFK airport’s Terminal 5 just before dawn in preparation for their 10:30 a.m. flight. But this isn’t the first time the club has jetted off to play ball. The rich history of the team with ties dating back to the early 1900’s and has seen the players batter up in other locations, such as the Dominican Republic.
For President at New York Finest Baseball Club and retired NYPD officer Jose Vazquez, the goal is to not only enjoy the pastime but to also spread cheer through it by helping those in need.
“We’re also donating some baseball equipment and clothing and even some soccer equipment because we know how much they love soccer down there. And we’re basically going on there to make new friends and new connections,” Vazquez told amNewYork Metro while standing in the shadow of JetBlue’s departure. “It touches our hearts to do it. We realize how privileged we are in this country. You know, when you go to a country that really can’t afford the stuff that we have here, you go there and you’re able to donate and you put a smile on these kids’ faces and it just makes your day.”
According to Vazquez, the NYPD baseball team travels between two to three times a year in which they often partake in first responder tournaments in hopes of winning money for charity. In April the team will be traveling to Chicago in an effort to raise funds for the state’s fallen Police Officer Andrés Mauricio Vásquez Lasso who died in the line of duty on March 1.
“We get to do a lot of goodwill stuff at home, whether it’s baseball related. We participate in different things like food drives, kids clinics. So, it’s nice to just extend that reach. We’re lucky to have good partners here like the Montefiore health system. They’re always trying to plug us into different things we can do to get kids active to get them gear. A lot of our guys are pretty fortunate to know people to get good gear. And it’s nice that we’re able to spread the game of baseball and goodwill and cheer for everybody,” Player Manager Dennis O’Sullivan said.
The team was also paid a special visit by Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell who greeted the players at the airport and gifted them special commissioner-branded passport holders for their trip. The top cop also posed with the group for a team photo.
“I hope you guys have a great trip and I can’t wait until you get back,” Sewell told the group.
The team is expected to return in one week.