Alex Rodriguez never forgets where he came from.
On Tuesday morning, the retired New York Yankees player presided over a ceremony to celebrate the refurbishment of the baseball field at Boys & Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade’s Kendall club.
The makeover is an All Star Legacy project, which also includes a spanking new center/game room for teens, complete with mini hoops court, desktop computers and an air hockey table.
Not sure if it was the intense heat, but A-Rod looked like he was welling up at the outdoor ceremony, speaking about his time playing ball at the BGC when he was a kid growing up nearby in Kendall.
“I always want to support this organization,” said the NYC born slugger, 41. “It’s so much a part of who I am.”
After leaving the tent, Rodriguez’s 9-year-old daughter Ella hugged him. Gossip watchers did not see the divorced father of two’s famous girlfriend, Jennifer Lopez, however. The actress-singer was at the Miami Beach Convention Center with him for Fan Fest on Sunday, so there's that.
Rodriguez acknowledged a lot of people got him to where he is today, such as Jim Clark, president of Boys & Girls Clubs of America, as well as longtime club board member, Miami’s James Bernhardt.
“I see you sneaking around in the background, Mr. Bernhardt,” joked Rodriguez, adding, “He's done more for this community, more for me and my family. A local mentor and hero.”
Also in attendance was Miami Marlins power player Giancarlo Stanton, the starting DH for Tuesday night’s All Star Game at Marlins Park.
“I’m glad I retired when I see guys like this sitting next to me,” said Rodriguez to laughs. “You couldn’t put someone else next to me?”
The handsome six foot six outfielder, 27, was there on behalf of the All-Star Smiles, providing free dental care and checkups to local kids.
“This is huge. It hits home for me,” said Stanton of the charity initiative. “Kids all over are in tremendous pain. [Dental problems] are one of the big reasons why they miss school and go to the emergency room. They're told to pop an Advil and have a nice sleep.”
Stanton thanked his All Smiles partner, Delray Beach dentist Dr. Craig Spodak, who was also in the crowd. Spodak’s dental group has helped hundreds of kids since starting All Smiles with the baseball star back in 2015.
“We worked tirelessly and hard on getting this done,” said Stanton. “This is one of those things you can't just put money in and let it develop. It takes time and effort and patience. Kids gets scared. Sometimes it's their first time at the dentist. Some parents can't afford the car to get them there.”