Ali visits Giants
SCOTTSDALE, Arizona (AP):
When Muhammad Ali showed up in the clubhouse on Tuesday to tout his Athletes for Hope charity campaign, San Francisco Giants players, coaches, clubbies and even the general manager and owner stood in line for photos with the 68-year-old former heavyweight champion.
Ali, who lives in Scottsdale, suffers from Parkinson's disease. He rarely talks in public and speaks in a barely audible whisper.
"It's great," pitcher Dan Runzler said of meeting the man known as 'The Greatest'.
Athletes for Hope has more than 1,000 members in 50 sports committed to community service and other charitable activities. Along with Ali, the organisation boasts Andre Agassi, Mia Hamm and Lance Armstrong among its founding members. The focus is on donating time, not money.
Meeting ali a highlight
"Virtually every member of this team signed up," said Ivan Blumberg, Athletes for Hope chief executive officer. Ali visited the San Diego Padres on Monday and headed to Reds camp yesterday.
Meeting Ali will be among the highlights of the spring for many of the Giants.
"It's exciting. He is one of the greatest," said left-hander Jonathan Sanchez. "To have someone like him here makes you be better every day. This makes you feel like you want to get up every day and battle."
Manager Bruce Bochy, GM Brian Sabean, long-time equipment manager Mike Murphy and even managing partner Bill Neukom took their turns in the chair next to Ali for pictures.
"There's only one Muhammad Ali," Bochy said after his team's 6-2 win over the Chicago White Sox. "Special day. That guy's a hero, an icon. To have his presence in our clubhouse, I know the guys really enjoyed it. This guy is a champion not just inside the ring but outside it. He has influenced so many people in the world."