Yanks don capes to gear up for HOPE Week

Yankees team up with A Moment of Magic, dress up to help kids with pediatric brain cancer

Yanks don capes to gear up for HOPE Week

NEW YORK -- The Yankees swapped their iconic pinstripes for a set of equally recognizable capes and masks on Thursday morning, with Yankee Stadium transformed into a playground for superheroes and princesses as part of the team's annual HOPE Week.

A group of children with pediatric brain cancer were delighted in the left-field Audi Club, first by a group of volunteers from A Moment of Magic wearing Disney princess costumes, then by several Yankees in disguise: Jordan Montgomery, Michael Pineda, CC Sabathia, Luis Severino and Masahiro Tanaka, plus general manager Brian Cashman.


"Today's an amazing day," said Sabathia, who wore a Yankees cap above his Superman costume. "I love to dress up, so any time I get a chance to dress up, I was all in. Just to get a chance to see the kids' faces and everybody smiling and having a good time, it makes it really worth it."

The group played games, performed activities such as coloring with crayons and enjoyed lunch while posing for pictures with with Cashman (Spider-Man), Montgomery (Captain America), Pineda (Wolverine) and Tanaka (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Michelangelo).

Yankees general partner Jennifer Steinbrenner Swindal wore a princess outfit, while Sabathia's wife, Amber, and Severino's wife, Rosmaly, were also in costume.

Cashman, who has rappelled from a tall Connecticut building each offseason for several years, joked that he might not give the webslinger's outfit back.

"I was walking down the hallways in it yesterday around the office," Cashman said. "My favorite month of the year is October -- hopefully because it's October baseball for the Yankees -- but Halloween is awesome. I love the haunted mansions and all that stuff."

Originally called The Princess Project, the mission of A Moment of Magic is to "restore the magic of believing at a time when a child needs to 'just be a kid' and remind them to be brave, strong and fearless."

Founded in December 2014 by Kylee McGrane and Maggie McAndrew, the program relies on college-aged volunteers to arrange visits to sick children in hospitals, schools and social service institutions, all while dressed as some of the most recognizable princesses from children's movies.

A Moment of Magic prides itself on "never saying no" and has visited sick children in 15 states, with approximately 200 visits last year.

"They get so excited," McGrane said. "They love taking pictures with us. They love asking us questions, so we need to know every detail about every movie. The next day, they may be going through chemotherapy or surgery, so if they get to look back at a picture of them having a lot of fun and it makes them smile for a little bit, that's the ultimate goal."

The organization plans to expand by adding at least 10 college chapters throughout the United States this year, and Sabathia said he was proud that the Yankees could help bring awareness through HOPE Week.

"I think it brings everybody together," Sabathia said. "We get up early and it's pretty much long nights, but it brings the team together to come out in the community and try to make an impact on our city."

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.