Dellin Betances took a bag filled with a frozen turkey and fixins, placed it in an older woman’s cart inside the Polo Grounds Community Center and said, “Happy Thanksgiving.”
The Yankees’ four-time All-Star reliever repeated the process again and again Tuesday night for women and men who had stood in the long line outside. Betances donated $2,500 toward the cost of 600 turkeys so that those in need among this Harlem community in upper Manhattan could celebrate the holiday properly next week. It made him happy to help.
But you know what else would make this 30-year-old Manhattan native happy?
He would like the Yankees to sign shortstop/third baseman Manny Machado, especially in light of shortstop Didi Gregorius undergoing Tommy John surgery last month.
“I’m hoping we can get [Machado] here,” said Betances, who could become a free agent himself after next season. “Obviously, he would be a big add to our team. We don’t know how long Didi is going to be out for.”
Betances is a good friend of Machado’s. They played together for the Dominican Republic in the 2017 World Baseball Classic.
“I know he’s a good teammate,” Betances said.
Machado totaled 37 homers and 107 RBIs with the Orioles and the Dodgers last season, but he raised a few red flags during the postseason with his baserunning and his comments. He said he isn’t the hustling type.
“Obviously, I’m not ownership, but as a player and a guy that played against him and played with him, I don’t think he’ll be a problem,” Betances said.
Betances also said it would be “huge” if the Yankees could re-sign free-agent relievers David Robertson and Zach Britton. The team won 100 games but lost in the ALDS to the Red Sox, who went on to claim the World Series.
“You’ve got to give credit to them,” Betances said. “They had a hell of a year. But it definitely leaves a bitter taste in your mouth when the team that’s been a rival for quite some time -- me as a fan and now as a player -- when they win the whole thing, it’s definitely a different feeling.”
CC Sabathia also chipped in $2,500 toward the turkeys. The RoseMark Group was involved with making donations and raising funds, too. Whole Foods donated the fixins. Six hundred more turkeys will be distributed Sunday in Newark.
“This is what it’s all about, for us athletes to give back,” Betances said. “… Being from New York, there’s no better feeling than being able to provide for families that are in need and families that want to spend a good time and have a good Thanksgiving.”