Wright, Jeter team in Batting Challenge
Players' foundations to benefit from season-long event
NEW YORK -- Derek Jeter and David Wright forged a quick friendship after playing for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic. Now, the Mets and Yankees stars have even more of a reason to keep tabs on each other.
Delta Air Lines is sponsoring the Subway Series rivals in a season-long Batting Challenge, to benefit the respective players' foundations.
At the conclusion of the regular season, Delta will make a $100,000 donation to the foundation of the player with the highest batting average. $50,000 will also be donated to the foundation of the runner-up.
"I will follow the face of the New York Mets," Jeter said, to laughter. "I had the opportunity to play with David in the Classic and actually get to know him. Not only is he a tremendous player, but he's a great person and a great leader. I'm looking forward to it."
"It's an incredible opportunity and it's a win-win for both of us," Wright said. "I'm hoping to go out there and put on a good show for the fans and be able to be rewarded in a nice way, helping out both of the foundations."
The official Batting Challenge announcement was made Friday at the Rose Stone Lounge, located within the Shops at Columbus Circle in New York. Wearing specially-made Delta jerseys with their names and numbers on the back, both players grinned while posing for photographs holding bats created for the event.
"It's a fun challenge for us," Jeter said. "I'm not facing him and he's not facing me. I'll be pulling for him."
Jeter will be batting for the Turn 2 Foundation, which creates and supports signature programs and activities that motivate young people to turn away from drugs and alcohol and 'Turn 2' healthy lifestyles.
Wright will dig in for the David Wright Foundation, which provides aid and assistance toward the health, emotional development and education for children in need in the New York tri-state and Norfolk, Va., metro areas.
"He deserves a lot of credit for starting the David Wright Foundation," Jeter said. "I know how difficult it is to start a foundation at a young age, how much time it takes. I think a lot of people do great things in giving money to charity, but getting more personally involved and starting a foundation is difficult to do. He should be commended for that."
Wright said that he hopes to replicate many aspects of the demeanor that has made Jeter successful both on and off the field.
"Because of our schedules here in New York, we very rarely run into each other," Wright said. "I've always admired from afar what he's been able to accomplish and the way he carries himself.
"Getting a chance to play with him every day, I learned a great deal with how he carries himself and his preparation. To see a guy that has accomplished what he's accomplished and the amount of work and effort he puts in every day, it tells me a lot."
The results of Delta's Jeter/Wright Batting Challenge will be determined by the highest batting averages at the end of the regular season, based on a minimum of 400 plate appearances. In the event a player is unable to reach 400 plate appearances, Delta will nullify the Challenge and donate $75,000 to each player's foundation.
"As the official airline of New York baseball, Delta is thrilled to host the Delta Batting Challenge, which will benefit two very worthy charities," said Gail Grimmett, Delta's senior vice president in New York.
"Derek Jeter and David Wright are true fan favorites and hometown heroes, and through the Batting Challenge, fans will now have even more reason to cheer for them each time they step to the plate this season."
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.