Yankees honor victims of Orlando shooting

Girardi: 'I think it's important that we don't forget and that we remain close as a country'

Yankees honor victims of Orlando shooting

NEW YORK -- The Yankees recognized the victims of the recent tragedy in Orlando, Fla., prior to Tuesday's game in a ceremony that included Yankees manager Joe Girardi and Rockies manager Walt Weiss laying a rainbow wreath at home plate in memoriam.

Both clubs lined the baselines at Yankee Stadium for a moment of silence. Billy Bean, Major League Baseball's vice president of social responsibility and inclusion, was a special guest of the Yankees and said that the organization's solemn remembrance carries weight throughout the game.

"What the Yankees do, what they say, what they stand behind has value," Bean said. "For the team to take a moment to make an acknowledgement, it's going to intersect with someone's life in this stadium. Maybe a child will ask a parent a question and they will have to make a consideration for not only who was the target of that attack, but why."

Forty-nine people were killed and 53 were wounded on June 12 in a mass shooting at a LGBT nightclub in Orlando. It was the deadliest shooting in United States history, and the nation's worst terror attack since Sept. 11, 2001.

During his pregame media availability, Girardi wore an #OrlandoUnited T-shirt, which fans can purchase online at the team stores of the Orlando sports teams, including the Orlando Magic and Orlando City SC. All proceeds go directly to the OneOrlando fund.

"I think it's good to continue to bring light to what these families are going through, what the city of Orlando is going through," Girardi said. "I think too many times in our country, we have tragic incidents, we pull together and are really strong.

"Then all of a sudden, we drift apart again and we go about our normal lives and we forget. I think it's important that we don't forget and that we remain close as a country."

In the days following the attack, Bean was present for a Night OUT event held at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., and at LGBT Pride Night at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., last Friday, where approximately $300,000 was raised by a sold-out crowd of 40,135.

Rays honor Orlando victims

Those proceeds were directed to Equality Florida's Pulse Victim's Fund, with Major League Baseball donating an additional $100,000. Bean said his hope is that MLB uses its platforms to help with healing as well as spreading awareness of the significance of the tragedy.

"This was a hate crime against the LGBT community, against the Latino community, against the city of Orlando and for every American -- because we're all connected in one way or another," Bean said.

Bean said that he has made several visits to the Yankees on their invitation in the last two years, where he aims to educate their employees and players, both at the Major League and Minor League levels.

"I want to thank the Yankees," Bean said. "For me, I was thrilled when [general manager] Brian [Cashman] and [assistant general manager] Jean [Afterman] called me and said they planned on this and if I would come. I'm grateful and I want to make sure everyone knows, put your eyes on this game, and it'll be a great example."

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch, on Facebook and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.