When the Eastern League baseball playoffs started earlier this month in Trenton, New Jersey, there was clearly a New York state of mind engulfing the ball park. I was right in the thick of it. What wasn’t as obvious was the Alaska connection between the man who would sing the national anthem that night and myself.
The teams doing battle were the Class AA Minor League affiliates of the New York Mets and the New York Yankees. I grew up a Mets fan, about fifteen minutes from Manhattan. I now announce for a Yankees farm team. JW Cortes was raised in New York City. A Yankee fan, he has sang The Star Spangled Banner for the Mets farm team in Brooklyn.
JW and I certainly have that Big Apple thread in common. Yet the city that never sleeps had little if nothing to do with how we met and became friends.
We are both the father of two children. I have a daughter and a son. JW has two boys. His dad served in the Army including two tours in Vietnam. My grandfather was an Air Force man and I’m proud to say fought for us in World War II. Both JW and I were brought up to respect the military greatly. I do my small part today by volunteering and contributing to military causes and promoting our men and women in uniform through my various projects. JW took the big leap and enlisted in the Marines, serving our country in Iraq. He’s a true hero.
Just like our ties to New York, we have plenty in common, but we didn’t connect through fatherhood or any military program either.
It was actually our connections to Alaska that led JW and me to meet. More specifically, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. I’ve been promoting Governor Palin and her values in one form or another for years, including my weekly radio program The Palin Update on SarahNET Radio. JW happened to team up with Todd Palin on the NBC program Stars Earn Stripes. JW’s background as a Marine and NYPD officer made him a natural choice.
After the Cortes-Palin duo shined on the show, I invited JW to be a guest on my show. He shined there as well. We talked about the program of course, but also many issues he holds dear. Turns out we share that in common too. JW’s commitment to fatherhood and his willingness to fight for those in need, like abused women and kids with special needs, demonstrated to me that he is the real deal.
Since that time, I’ve continued to promote Sarah Palin and JW has kept up his hard work. He even got the chance to go on a fishing expedition with Todd Palin to benefit veterans and active service members. Good people like JW and the Palins continue to help others at every turn.
When I found out JW and I shared a fondness for baseball it was a no brainer to invite him to sing our national anthem before a game. He did. He nailed it.
It’s always a great night when you’re at the ball park, but this one was a little more special. I had the privilege of announcing the game. JW rocked the anthem. We had a blast. I look forward to working with him.
You never know what could bring people together. It’s not every day two guys from the capital of the world team up through connections from The Last Frontier But when the ingredients include things like being a dad, serving our country, and promoting true patriots like Sarah Palin, it makes for a great recipe. A little baseball for dessert is always welcomed too.