Sportress of Blogitude

Gerrit Cole attends game to honor Kobe crash victim John Altobelli

Gerrit Cole attended Tuesday’s season-opening game for the Orange Coast College baseball team to honor the memory of John Altobelli, the school’s longtime coach who was among the nine victims who perished in Sunday’s helicopter crash.

Altobelli, along his wife Keri and their daughter Alyssa, were killed in the crash in Calabasas, Calif., that also took the lives of Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, as well as four others.

It’s unclear whether or not Cole actually knew Altobelli, but the New York Yankees ace grew up in Newport Beach, Calif., about an hour away from Orange Coast College.

Cole later shared a heartfelt tribute to Altobelli, his wife and daughter on Twitter.

Altobelli was in his 24th season as Orange Coast College’s head coach. The players were left to decide whether or not to play in Tuesday’s opener. They agreed to take the field due to the belief that Altobelli would have wanted them to play. The team, wearing his No. 14 in memory of their coach, won 8-1.

It’s not surprising that the deaths of Bryant and his teenage daughter have garnered the most headlines and the majority of the attention in the days since the crash. It is of course nevertheless critical to not lose sight of the fact that seven other people lost their lives, each one leaving family, loved ones and friends who have been left devastated by Sunday’s tragic accident.