New York Mets to host families of slain NYPD officers at spring training
The New York Mets will welcome the families of slain NYPD officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu as honored guests over the weekend at the team’s spring training site in Port St. Lucie, Fla.
Ramos and Liu were the police officers who were ambushed and killed execution-style in their squad car by Ismaaiyl Brinsley in December in a deplorable act of senseless violence that left the city of New York and the nation stunned.
The Mets are flying in “Ramos’ wife, Maritza, sons, Justin, 19, and Jaden, 13, will join Liu’s widow, Pei Xia, mom, Xiu Yan, and dad, Wei Pang,” per a New York Post report. The families will spend all weekend as the Mets’ guests with Justin and Jaden serving as bat boys for a few games after being outfitted with their own Mets uniforms.
A Liu family friend told the Post that they are “very grateful” to the Mets for the gesture.
“Although they’re not big baseball fans, they are looking forward to going down to Florida and seeing another part of American culture,” said the friend.
The concept of welcoming the Ramos and Liu families originally was suggested by Mets star David Wright. The third baseman, whose father was a cop, previously had reached out Ramos’ sons when he learned they were fans of the team.
“The whole family are big Mets fans, especially of David Wright,” a source close to the Ramoses said. “They’re really looking forward to this trip.”
That will make the news that Wright reportedly intends to “wine and dine” both families during a night out during their stay.
The thoughtful gesture by the Mets follows the reports in December immediately after the officers’ murders that the Yankees intend to pay for the education of Ramos’ two sons through its Silver Shield Foundation, an organization that funds the educations of New York City police officers, firemen and Port Authority employees who have made the ultimate sacrifice while serving in the line of duty.
While nothing can be done to take away the pain, suffering and heartbreak these two families have had to endure, both New York-based ball clubs deserve credit for letting the Ramoses and Lius know that they have not been forgotten.