Yankees pitcher David Robertson had been in his hometown of Tuscaloosa for several hours May 26 by the time he was to meet mayor Walt Maddox at recently built Alberta Elementary School.
But he was about to be hit with yet another illustration of the magnitude of the April tornado that struck the city. Robertson, his wife, Erin, and YES reporter Kimberly Jones, who accompanied them, were under the impression the building was intact.
“We get there, and the school is a pile of dirt and cinderblocks,’’ Jones said. “You could see the little plastic chairs amid the rubble. To me, that was when more of the emotion took over from the shock.’’
Jones’ report on the Robertsons’ visit will take up much of YES’ Yankees pregame show Sunday, but it figures to capture only a fraction of what they witnessed, and the gruesome stories they were told.
“David told us a bunch of times, ‘This is worse than I thought it would be,’’’ Jones said.
Robertson hopes to raise money to assist victims through The David and Erin Robertson Foundation at www.highsocksforhope.com.
Here is a list of elements of Jones' piece that YES sent me:
*Visit P&P Produce, where David and his wife bought their Christmas tree in December, which is now leveled; there is no semblance of any structure at the location now
*Pass a familiar spot alongside a road but cannot recall what business used to reside there since there are no remnants of any building
*Randomly bump into David's high school friend Lewis Foster, who happened to be operating a bulldozer as part of the cleanup efforts. When asked about the tornado, Foster says he "didn't have time to really get scared" as the tornado approached
*Meet up with David's cousin Rick Brignac, and the two reminisced about two of their favorite restaurants, both of which were reduced to rubble
*Speak with Walt Maddox, the mayor of Tuscaloosa
*Visit the site of Alberta Middle School, a school recently built only to be wiped out by the tornado
*Speak with Meredith New, a Tuscaloosa resident with 5-year old and 18-month old children who lost her stepfather (who lived across the street from her) in the tornado
*Speak with Lauren Murray, who started the "We Are T-Town" grassroots initiative (Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/WeAreTtown) to provide furnishings, household items, clothes, furniture and even mobile homes to victims of the tornado
*Discuss David's "High Socks For Hope" charity (http://highsocksforhope.com/) which is raising money for the Alabama tornado victims; David is donating $100 for every strikeout this season