Take Me Out to the Ball Game: Yankees Salute to DOGNY A Big Hit
The American Kennel Club and its DOGNY public art project became a part of the wonderful and colorful history of New York's legendary Yankee Stadium on Saturday, August 24.
Yankee stars Jason Giambi, Derek Jeter, Roger Clemens, Alfonso Soriano and their teammates shared the field and the day with the AKC, which was honored for its DOGNY fundraising project for Search and Rescue Dogs nationwide. DOGNY, a tribute to the SAR dogs for their work in New York and Washington D.C. on September 11, 2001, is well on the way to raising over $1 million for these dogs and their human partners, and others like them who perform heroic work every day across the country.
"DOGNY Day" began with a pre-game ceremony at home plate where representatives from the American Kennel Club and the Hartz Mountain Corporation were introduced to a home crowd of 53,494 prior to the Yankees-Texas Rangers game. Yankee announcer Bob Shepherd introduced AKC Vice President Dennis Sprung, who made a presentation on behalf of DOGNY to Robert Devine, President and CEO of Hartz, and to Alfred L. Cheauré, President and CEO of the AKC. Hartz was the major sponsor for the event, donating stuffed DOGNY Yankee toys to the first 25,000 children entering the stadium.
Six members of the NYPD Canine Unit, all of whom served at Ground Zero, joined the presentation, along with Hamlet, the Yankee Bomb Dog. Representatives from the Iams Corporation, which is sponsoring over 20 sculptures, and FedEx, which has donated its services to transport sculptures to and from artists, were also in attendance as major DOGNY sponsors.
Following the ceremony, Broadway and recording star Linda Eder sang a rousing rendition of the national anthem as the NYPD Canine Unit stood at attention in front of the enthusiastic fans. During the game, the DOGNY toy dogs were visible throughout the stadium, and the AKC logo was featured on the giant scoreboard and in another announcement.
"What a thrilling day for DOGNY and the American Kennel Club," said AKC Chairman of the Board Ron Menaker. "We thank the Yankees for their recognition and support of DOGNY and the nation's Search and Rescue Dogs."
In addition to Menaker, several DOGNY sponsors and Executive Committee members were special guests of the Yankees: Iams President Jeff Ansell, FedEx Senior Vice President Ken May, FedEx Senior District Manager Honi Reisman, Toni Sosnoff of Atalanta Sosnoff, John Daniello of JGD Associates, Matthew Stander and Eugene Zaphiris of Dog News, and AKC Board member Walter Goodman.
Ms. Eder and her husband, famed composer and Broadway producer Frank Wildhorn, and the NYPD Canine Unit teams were also part of the DOGNY party hosted by the Yankees in a private press-level suite.
Some additional notes from the Yankees' DOGNY Day:
- Following the game, the Yankees unveiled their DOGNY statue, complete with a Yankees hat and pinstriped uniform, autographed by all the Yankees. The dog will be on public display with the other statues, and eventually will be a part of the charity auction to be held at Sotheby's on December 16, with celebrity auctioneer Liz Smith.
- It's easy to understand why the AKC and DOGNY are baseball fans this summer and fall: in addition to all the support received from the Yankees, both Major League Baseball and the New York Mets are sponsoring their own DOGNY statues.
- The 80-year-old Goodman, an AKC Board member for the past 14 years and a native New Yorker, mentioned that the last time he had attended a Yankee game, Babe Ruth was still playing (Ruth's last game as a Yankee was in 1934).
- Incidentally, Goodman and Menaker are the sponsors of the two DOGNY statues that were unveiled in the DOGNY launch in Shubert Alley last week, "Showstoppers" and "Broadway Loves DOGNY."
Dennis Sprung with Robert Devine and Alfred L Cheaure receiving plaques from DOGNY.
Sgt. John Ryan, Officer Pete Davis & Apollo, Officer Robert Schnell & Atlas, Officer Joseph Caputo & Bravo, Officer Christopher Hanley & Kiefer, Sgt. Carlos Valdez, Yankee Bomb Dog Hamlet with handler Vic.
BROADWAY'S BEST: Broadway star Linda Eder and her husband, composer and Broadway producer Frank Wildhorn (in Yankees hat).
NYPD HEROES: Officer Pete Davis and Sgt. Carlos Valdez, members of the NYPD Canine Team.
DOGNY HEROES: AKC Chairman of the Board Ron Menaker, Iams President Jeff Ansell, Executive Committee Member John Daniello, AKC President Al Cheaure', Kathy Menaker.
DOGNY / YANKEES FANS: Patricia Cheaure' and Martin Sosnoff.