November 18, 2011
Brian Cashman normally operates in the lap of luxury. As general manager of the New York Yankees, he works in a world of $35 million setup men, big sweetheart deals for declining superstars and box seats that cost more than most mortgage payments.
It has always been cool, then, to know that Cashman is still a very normal guy after spending all that time working for the world's most luxurious sports team. He has a track record of using his position to raise money for charity in unique ways, a history that continued on Thursday night when he slept in Times Square to raise awareness for Covenant House. Cashman is on the board of the organization, which works to provide support for homeless children.
For Cashman, bedding down would be the end of a busy Thursday, which began near dawn in Milwaukee as baseball's GM meetings were wrapping up. He napped on his afternoon flight back to New York and headed straight to a charity dinner on Staten Island — the 15th annual Dr. Theodore A. Atlas Foundation dinner — and then went to the sleepout.
It was about 40 degrees when he arrived, and he was dressed in layers, including a gray sweatshirt, a winter coat and a black hat with a skull and crossbones on it. Cashman enjoys the outdoors — he often kayaks in Long Island Sound during the winter — and brought his own sleeping bag and an extra set of gloves.
Because he works for the Yankees and because some people are born skeptics, I expect to hear some cynicism in the comments about Cashman's stunt. But think about this: After beginning the day trying to improve the 2012 Yankees in a different time zone, Cashman got on a commercial flight and traveled to not one, but two fundraisers for different charities. Would it have been easier for him to just cut a check and head home? Of course it would have. But Cashman stayed out and generated a lot more headlines that will spur more donations than it might have.
This isn't the only offseason day that Cashman has spent doing good work, either. Last Saturday, he and new Cubs president Theo Epstein were the headliners at Buster Olney's benefit for Hurricane Irene-affected farmers in Vermont. According to WEEI's Alex Speier, Cashman urged the ESPN writer to hold a fundraiser after seeing some images of the farms that were hit in one of Olney's columns.
At any rate, here's to Cashman. No matter what team you support, please consider supporting one of his causes during the upcoming holiday season.
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