Saturday, September 26, 2009

Tina Cervasio Invites Fans From Both Sides of Rivalry to Garden of Dreams Event

As the Red Sox and the Yankees prepare for game two of their nearly meaningless series in the Bronx, one can't help but think of the long list of players whose career resume included stints on both sides of the Massachusetts-New York line.

There is, of course, none more renowned than the Babe and the vaunted curse which hovered over Beantown for the better half of a century following his departure.

The Curse is supplemented by the Sparky Lyle-for-Danny Cater trade in the 70's and defections by Clemens, Boggs, Damon, Zimmer headed west and Mendoza, Wells, and a cameo appearance by Leyritz, heading east.

In each of these examples the defectors were met with spite, cat-calls and boos upon each return to the original stomping grounds.

The once-hero returns as the hated a la the WWE each time one of the traitors took their places between the lines at their former home town field.

So when you stumble across someone is so loved, so respected and revered and held in such a high regard in both of these rival cities, it is a true testament to who they are and what they bring to both of these markets.

From 2006 to 2008, Tina Cervasio spent nearly every evening in the living rooms of Red Sox fans from Aroostook County, Maine, to Block Island as the Red Sox on-field reporter for the New England Sports Network (NESN).

When not dazzling Red Sox fans with her coverage on the field, Cervasio worked tirelessly as the lead correspondent for “Red Sox Hot Stove,” “Red Sox Report,” and other NESN specials and magazine shows, while also contributing to “NESN Sports Desk” on the Red Sox beat and other sports.

Amongst her many Red Sox reporting highlights were the first television interview with Jon Lester, as he began his comeback from cancer, her breaking of the news of Manny Ramirez' injury, which could have hindered the Red Sox as they prepared for the post-season.

She was the first to interview Clay Buchholz following his no-hitter and Curt Schilling following his one-hitter (8 2/3rd innings of no-hit ball); and secured exclusive interviews before each post-season game with Red Sox players during their historic World Championship run.

After two years in Beantown, Cervasio took her show 180 miles down Route 84 when she returned to the New York metro region to join the crew of MSG Media.

Cervasio's career actually started in the Tri-State area in various capacities following her graduation from the University of Maryland in 1996.

She is now the popular host, anchor, and reporter for MSG and MSG+Plus, live events and original programming. She works as the courtside reporter for Knicks road games and conducts pre-game and post-game interviews for all Knicks games.

In addition to her many vocational accolades, Cervasio prides herself on her involvement in the community and works tirelessly to raise money for charity.

While in Boston, Tina was heavily involved in fund-raising for the Jimmy Fund. Since heading to New York, Cervasio has become deeply committed to raising funds for Garden of Dreams, a non-profit charity that helps fulfill wishes for kids in crisis in the New York area.

Cervasio will be run her second consecutive New York City Marathon on Nov. 1 as part of the MSG Dream Team to raise funds for the Garden of Dreams.

Tonight (Sept. 26), Cervasio and friends invite all Red Sox and Yankee fans to Foley's the New York City Irish Bar with the Baseball Attitude, for a fund-raising event for the Garden of Dreams Foundation.

The event will begin at 7:30 and continue until closing time. Foley's is located at 18 W. 33rd St., between 5th and 6th avenues in New York City.

Cervasio, along with Foley's owner Shaun Clancy, promise good fun, great sports talk, prizes, raffles, and auction items including:

  • Signed Red Sox Jason Bay bat
  • Signed Red Sox Josh Beckett baseball
  • Signed Red Sox Mike Lowell jersey
  • Signed Yankees Joba Chamberlain photo
  • Signed NY Knicks NBA Hall of Famer Walt “Clyde” Frazier basketball
  • Tickets to MSG events, Gift Certificates, and many Knicks, Giants, Nets and Rangers items expected.

Cervasio was kind enough to pull herself from her hectic schedule to answer a few questions about the event.

Civ: How did you become associated with Garden of Dreams?

Tina: "Garden of Dreams" is a non-profit charity that works closely with all areas of Madison Square Garden, including the Knicks, Rangers, Liberty, MSG Media, MSG Entertainment, and Fuse “to make dreams come true for kids in crisis.”

I'm under the MSG Media umbrella and because Garden of Dreams was so similar to the Red Sox Foundation, which I also was involved in, I jumped in full steam ahead.

Garden of Dreams creates unique and unforgettable events and activities, often involving unprecedented access to Madison Square Garden celebrities, events, and venues, that have brightened the lives of thousands of special children and their families.

Civ: With your busy schedule, how do you find the time to volunteer?

Tina: How could you not be touched and inspired by knowing the Foundation does this? Partnering with a diverse collection of children’s related organizations, from hospitals to foster organizations to homeless shelters and “wish” organizations, the Garden of Dreams Foundation has a singular goal each and every day: to utilize the power and magic of Madison Square Garden and its properties to bring joy and happiness to children facing devastating problems: whether they relate to illness, homelessness, poverty, foster care issues, or tragedy.

I've had a very blessed life, and I'm living my dream as a sports broadcaster in the nation's largest television market, holding one of 30 possible jobs (NBA team sideline reporter), the least I could do is give back to these kids in the Tri-State Area.

Civ: What you think about while you're running?

Tina: My mind is all over the place. Sometimes I'm very focused on how my body feels and what pace I am running. But I can't do that for four hours. It makes me even more tired.

Some days, I sort of map out the rest of my day, go through my list of things to do that week in work. Other runs, I visualize running the marathon, and finishing in under four hours. Which won't happen.

There are some morning runs where I just totally day dream. "What if I lived in Italy?" kind of day dreams. And some runs, and this is rare, but when it happens it's a blessing, you just get into a zone.

You are not really thinking about anything, and this is usually when you're running over the two-hour mark. These are the best runs, because there are times when you look at your watch (Mine is a Garmin which logs my miles, keeps my pace, heart rate, etc.) and it tells you you've just covered nine miles, and you don't even realize it.

Civ: Have you met any of the kids from Garden of Dreams?

Tina: I've met lots of children that have been involved in the Garden of Dreams, many of them while they're on their "Dream Experience" at Madison Square Garden. We also have "MSG Classroom" where teenagers from Children's Aid Society come to the Garden to learn how to be sports broadcasters and television sports producers.

They interview players, host segments, interview fans on the street. I have worked with the group several times in their final phase, which is producing an actual 30-minute sports show.

I'm really impressed with the girls. They know their sports, and really want to write and the say the correct things with a lot of passion. I love when they get all nervous before interviewing a player. Then they come back to me and say, "he's kind of normal."

Last year, I did a series on marathon training for our nightly sports show. With that, I reported on "Why we run," and with that story, I spent a day with Charlie Pena and his mother Yvonne, when they were living at the Ronald McDonald House, one of the Garden of Dreams partner organizations.

Civ: Can you tell me about Charlie?

Tina: Charlie and his younger brother, Michael (who was hospitalized when I visited) both suffer from sickle-cell anemia. Loooong story short, when they couldn't find a bone marrow match, they turned to their youngest brother, Kyle. He was a match!

At about 5 years old, he had the surgery to pull his bone marrow, to save his older brothers.

Both Charlie and Michael are doing great! They have come to the Garden on all sorts of occasions. They always say to me, and the parents agree, it just takes their mind of their troubles and the pain.

Whether it's Nate Robinson visiting them in the hospital, participating in the ceremonial first-tip at the Garden, going to an AC/DC concert. It's all kids' stuff, but it's a part of the healing process. And for the Pena family, they say they couldn't have survived without the support of Garden of Dreams.

In fact, Charlie and Michael's parents, Yvonne and Carlos, are invited to my party. Hope they can make it, I want to introduce them to everyone to see, where their money is going.

Civ: How you think the event will be attended since the Sox are in town?

Tina: I've got all my buds from the Boston media coming after the Sox-Yanks game, including my former producers, and friends from NESN that will be in town, of course! There are several Red Sox front office and community outreach people coming as well. Hope it's not a five-hour game.

I'll reach out to some players and coaches I've remained close with, when I'm working Friday night at the game. But, because they have an early game Sunday, I doubt anyone will really be in the mood. It's an important one for the Sox, trying to lock up that Wild Card.

Meanwhile, I have to run an 18-mile race Sunday morning! It's a special NYRR Marathon Tune-up run through Central Park.

One of the best prep races for the marathon. So I won't be "partying" Saturday night. Just trying to raise money, and make sure my guests have a good time. Plus, a lot of my colleagues from MSG and the Knicks say they will be attending.

Civ: Do you still have a lot of Sox fan friends?

Yes! And I try to keep in touch with whatever fans have reached out to me. Twitter and Linked-In have been great, connecting me with Red Sox fans all over the country!

Meanwhile, two-thirds of my Knicks MSG production crew: Huge Red Sox Fans!

My director grew up in Western Connecticut, PASSIONATE FAN! And our AD is from Massachusetts. Both guys went to UMASS. It's a riot being with them all the time.

Because the rest of the bunch, well, they are Yankees fans. We drive them nuts. Mets really get no love. It's amazing. Ha! No pun intended. TC

Todd Civin is a freelance writer who writes for Bleacher Report, Seamheads and Sports Then and Now. To learn more about Garden of Dreams visit If you can't make the party at Foley's but want to help, Tina meet her fund-raising goals, please donate at

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