July 28, 2006
I'm excited to be online with those of you that have joined us today. It's an honor to have an opportunity to coach one of the Challenger Division teams of Little League baseball on the South Lawn of the White House. I'm looking forward to it and it's going to be a lot of fun. With that, I'm happy to take your questions.
Tom, from Orland Park, IL
Mr Leiter- From your point of view, what is the goal of "Tball at the
White House" and what are you personally hoping the kids take away from
The goal of tee-ball is that it's a starting point for future Major Leaguers. When I first started playing baseball, tee-ball didn't exist. In the Pee Wee League, which is what it was called at the time, we took live pitches, as opposed to having it placed on a tee.
As far as what I hope the kids will take away from the event, its going to be a lifetime memory and an amazing experience for not only the players and teams, but for anybody and everybody who will be at the White House for the event.
Ben, from Washington writes:
Why are you pictured in a Yankee uniform? I thought your heart was with
My heart was with the Mets I had every intention of ending my career with the Mets, but it was not my decision. I was given the opportunity to finish my career where it all started, and that was in a Yankee uniform.
Greg, from Lindenhurst,NY writes:
Dear Mr. Leiter, Hi I am a big fan of yours on the YES network and I
wanted to know how you enjoyed your last year with the Yankees
especially when they are the team that drafted you? Also, what is it
like working with Michael Kay and the rest of the YES network gang?
Congratulations on getting picked for the White House team... Keep up
the good work for YES and hope the Yankees win it all this year.
The last year of my career was a blast, especially one game that stood out. In my first start at Fenway Park with the Yanks, I beat the Red Sox and it made my season. I have really enjoyed the transition from retired player to broadcaster with the YES Network. Working with Michael Kay, who has been a friend of mine for the last 19 years, has truly been enjoyable, and I really admire his professionalism.
Ken, from Indianapolis writes:
Who's picking up the tab if a youngster fouls a ball off through a White
It's gotta be the President. It's his house.
Josh, from Capitol Hill
What's your favorite pitch?
I made a career throwing a cut fastball (cutter).
Jeff, from Salt Lake writes:
How long does the game last? Do you keep score? Thanks for all you do to
help the kids
The game is one inning for each team and everyone will get a chance to hit. Of course, in a game like this, it has to end in a tie and everyone is a winner.
Dani, from Charleston writes:
Mr. Leiter-I have heard about your charitable organization, Leiters
Landing. What exactly does it do, and why do you do to make a difference
in childrens' lives?
My wife and I formed our charity in 1996. Many athletes have their own foundations and the intentions of Leiter's Landing were and continue to be a funding arm for charities that help children in need. Through Leiter's Landing, we have been able to help numerous childrens charities especially in the New York area and South Florida.
Jim, from Topeka writes:
I see that Little League is involved with Tee Ball. Were you a litte
leaguer? How young were you when you first started playing baseball.
When did you determine that you were going to try to make it in the
I started at age 7 with Pee Wee baseball. I never thought I was going to be a Major Leaguer. I dreamt of being a Major Leaguer but never thought it would ever become a reality. And even after I was drafted by the Yankees in the 1984 Draft, I still didn't believe I was going to be a Major Leaguer.
Cliff, from Brimfield, Ohio
Coach Leiter: How are the teams that get to play White House Tee Ball
selected? and are you involved with any baseball activities that you can
share your pitching expierence with and help the young men improve their
game and baseball in general? Thank You
Little League picks the teams who play each year. My nature is whenever I see kids playing baseball, I'm inclined to help them -- whether its walking in Central Park and seeing kids playing a pick up game or going out to Berkeley Heights, New Jersey to watch my friends' kids play in Little League games or going down to where I'm from on the Jersey Shore. In fact, I built a field in my hometown of Bayville, New Jersey, and I go down to help out whenever I can.
Janice, from Long Island
Do you think baseball should still be an Olympics event?
There's no doubt about it that I think baseball should be an Olympic event. There are plenty of other sports that are in the Olympics currently that you'd be hard pressed to find being played on the playground. So, yes, it should definitely be an Olympic sport.
Turner, from Slidell, LA
I see that Hall of Famer Willie Mays is the Tee Ball Commissioner this
year. Have you ever met Willie? Are you excited to meet him?
Yes, I've met Willie a few times. He was often in San Francisco, around the batting cages, when the Mets came to play the Giants. When I was a young fan of the Mets, Willie played for them in 1973 when they lost to Oakland in the World Series. Next to the President, Willie is the second most impressionable person that I look forward to spending time with on Sunday at the Tee Ball game.
Joe, from San Francisco
Al-What do you miss most from pro baseball? After playing for almost 20
years, are you excited to be a commentator, or do you wish you were
still in the major leagues? Thank you
I believe that my time was up. I could still be pitching this year, but not at the level that I was used to pitching at, and I didn't want to hang on just to hang on. So now I'm excited to be a commentator, and I look forward to pursuing that as a new career as a retired player.
Sally, from Rockville, Md
Hey Al, I think the challenger league is great and I commend you for
participation in this special day for some terrific kids. Do you know if
anyone is covering it on TV or will I be able to watch it online?
Well, I'm hoping that I will be able to put in my own report from the YES Network -- the Yankees Entertainment Sports Network. In addition to the other press that will be on hand to cover the event, the White House will be webcasting the game in its entirety on WhiteHouse.gov.
Thanks to everyone for all the great questions. Sunday's game will be quite exciting and I am really looking forward to meeting the players, parents and my fellow coaches. Also, I'd like to thank President Bush for hosting Tee Ball at the White House and for asking me to serve as an Honorary Coach. Play ball!