Not only has Alex Rodriguez been banned from playing baseball in 2014, but his character was also removed from the animated movie, Henry & Me, to be premiered in New York City in June, 2014. The film was to premier in September, 2013, but due to the issues surrounding A – Rod, the New York Yankees and Major League Baseball, the producers of the film, of which David Plotkin, Chairman of The Max Cure Foundation, is a co-producer, decided to cancel the September launch of the movie, to remove Rodriguez as one of the central characters in the film and to replace him with former Yankee, Hideki Matsui. The animated film is based on the book, “Boy of Steel”, written by Ray Negron, an executive with the New York Yankees and an avid writer who emphasizes in his writings his love of children and his sincere desire to make a difference.
The story line is based on young Jack’s diagnosis of cancer and how he faces the many obstacles confronting him as he attempts to defeat cancer with the help of the New York Yankees. Jack, an avid Yankee fan, faces the horrific disease with hope and courage, having been encouraged by Yankee legends Babe Ruth, Lefty Gomez, Mickey Mantle, Thurman Munson, Yogi Berra, Reggie Jackson and others and by many current players who either now wear or had worn the Yankee uniform, including as noted Hideki Matsui who continues to be idolized not only for what he did while a Yankee but also in Japan for his accomplishments as a player for the Japanese team known as the Yomiuri Giants. In addition to players, also depicted in the film are George Steinbrenner, Joe Girardi, Michael Kay and Brian Cashman . The cast includes the voice overs of Richard Gere as Henry, Luis Guzman as Lefty Gomez, Chazz Palminteri as Babe Ruth, Danny Aiello as Dr. Acosta, Cindy Lauper as Nurse Cyndi, Lucie Arnaz as Jacks Mom, Paul Simon as Thurmon Munson, Austin Williams as Jack and Serena Girardi as Jack’s friend.
The producer of the film, Joe Avallone of Reveal 42, Inc., formerly Creative Group Acquisition, Inc., had been introduced to The Max Cure Foundation and David Plotkin in 2011 by John Franco, the former New York Mets pitcher who was inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame in 2012. John, a supporter of The Max Cure Foundation, is a member of its Circle of Ambassadors and told the producer how the story of young Max Plotkin and his battle with cancer was aligned with that of Jack, the youngster in the film battling cancer. That led to Joe Avallone meeting with David Plotkin and learning that like Jack in the film, Max’s first symptoms of the disease resulted from playing baseball with his father outside his home. As with Jack, Max bravely confronted the hurdles he had to overcome during the treatments to defeat the disease and happily, both Jack and Max are childhood cancer survivors, giving hope to those children who are afflicted with the disease and to their families.
It is anticipated that following the release of the movie in mid-June, 2014, there will be sales of the DVD. Such sales are expected to benefit various charities, most of which were identified by the actors in the film and by those whose images are portrayed in the movie. Included in the charities to benefit from the sale and distribution of the DVD’s will be The Max Cure Foundation. Stay tuned for more information as the release date approaches. It is anticipated that both David Plotkin and Max, together with the Yankees and the actors identified above, will be involved in promoting the film. Indeed, Max was described by those involved with the film as “being the real life Jack.” The movie is not only expected to be widely accepted by baseball fans, especially those of the New York Yankees, but also by the public generally, including those interested in childhood cancer issues, as they are moved by the bravery exhibited by Jack during his successful battle to overcome pediatric cancer.