Tuesday, July 4, 2023

Yankees HOPE Week Day 2: Sarah Langs


Sarah Langs chats with Yankees Manager Aaron Boone in Monument Park. Provided by New York Yankees.

On the second day of the Yankees HOPE Week, on Tuesday, Sarah Langs was the honoree on the 84th anniversary of Lou Gehrig's famous "Luckiest Man" speech on July 4, 1939.

Langs is one of the most respected statistical analysts in Major League Baseball, as he worked in ESPN's research department and then began working for MLB Advanced Media as a reporter/producer in 2019 at the age of 26. In October 2022, she announced that she was diagnosed with ALS, Lou Gehrig's Disease.

Langs and other women from the organization "Her ALS Story" took part in a pregame tour of Monument Park and the Yankees Museum. The tour included a "Hands on History" component, where the participants had the opportunity to interact with Yankees artifacts, including a game-used Lou Gehrig cap and bat. 

Sarah Langs holding Lou Gehrig's bat and wearing his cap. Provided by New York Yankees.

The group attended Yankees Manager Aaron Boone's pregame press conference, where Langs and pitcher Gerrit Cole joined Boone on the dais.

"All the things that you're hearing about Sarah, the outpouring of it is because that's who she is," Boone said. "She has a talent for this game, a skill, but more importantly, a love and a passion for it, and that was very evident when I got to work with her at ESPN. I knew, in short order, if I needed to know something, Sarah threw it at me in the moment on a broadcast or something, I knew it was right and I knew I could go with it, and you became aware of it, but just her passion and her love for the game was infectious, and I always loved working with, or not necessarily working with, people that have a passion for what they're doing and a love what they're doing because that shows, but anyone I come across in life, whether it's going to get my morning coffee, and you can tell someone loves what they're doing. That always really speaks to me and is very attractive to me. I think Sarah embodies that, and is showing the world that on a daily basis, all while doing it in difficult circumstances."

Sarah Langs during the pregame press conference with her Langs Star. Provided by New York Yankees.

Langs then said, "I'm not used to being on this side, but in those seats looking at Aaron trying not to laugh while covering Yankees games because I know him. I'm just so grateful to the Yankees, to Jason (Zillo, VP of Communications and Media Relations), I mean, this is so, so important spotlight on young women with ALS to show them not everyone looks like Lou Gehrig, but even Lou Gehrig, as I've been saying a lot over the last month, was not your typical case. He was much younger than the average ALS patient, he is not in that normal demographic either, so anything we can do to shine a light on the study it needs, the funding it needs, and the incredible people who are involved in this community. I'm just so grateful, again, so grateful to this organization."

The women were honored in a pregame ceremony, where they were joined by Yankees players behind home plate, and they presented each woman with a rose. 

Provided by New York Yankees.

During the ceremony, a video of Gehrig's full speech was recited by Yankees players, Sarah Langs, and women living with ALS played on the scoreboard.

The Yankees donated $10,000 to Project ALS.

Sarah's parents, Charles Langs and Liise-anne Pirofski threw ceremonial first pitches to Boone and Cole.

Sarah Langs by Lou Gehrig's monument with (from left) her Dad, Charles Langs, Mom Liise-anne Pirofski and boyfriend Matt Williams. Provided by New York Yankees.


Native New Yorker Sarah Langs grew up on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and attended the University of Chicago, graduating in 2015 and working all four years for her college newspaper. After internships with SNY and CSN Chicago, she quickly rose through ESPN's research department and landed a job at MLB Advance Media as a reporter/producer in 2019 at the age of 26, with a focus in finding the statistical nuggets used throughout baseball broadcasts.

She was on top of the world, becoming one of Major League Baseball's most respected and universally liked statistical analysts in a male-dominated discipline. Yet for the last three years, she has been in a battle with ALS (most commonly diagnosed in individuals between 40 and 70), which has altered every aspect of her day-to-day life.

Despite the challenges of her condition, Sarah continues to make her mark on the game, most recently authoring the official game notes to national media for the recent World Baseball Classic. Her passion, persistence and positive disposition exemplify the kind of fight we will hope resides within us.

"One thing that no disease can take from me is baseball," Sarah said after publicly announcing her diagnosis on Twitter in October 2022. "I'm still me, no stopping, and so honored and grateful to get to do what I love."

Her accomplishments in the face of adversity have gained attention throughout the baseball world, including being honored at the 98th annual BBWAA Awards Dinner with the Casey Stengel "You Could Look It Up" Award.

"There are a lot of people who are not faced with something like this who are just as loved and appreciated," Langs said during her acceptance speech. "I want to make sure that those people know it, and I am trying to make them my mission - in addition to making sure that everybody loves baseball."

Sarah has worked with the top entities in her field, gaining the trust and admiration of broadcasters such as Buster Olney, JOn Sciambi, and Karl Ravech, to name a few. She also became a part of MLB TV history by being a member of the first all-female broadcast crew back in 2021.

"I'm so grateful to be part of this baseball community," said Langs. "And I think it shows just how wonderful baseball is - not just the sport but the people involved - that people rally into a moment like this."

Her immense reservoir of spirit now has another direction - in raising awareness around ALS.

"Even if I'm gone, even if it's 50 years from now, I want to figure out a cure," Langs said.

Her well-known mantra, "Baseball is the Best!" is featured on T-shirts whose proceeds benefit Project ALS.

Channeling Yankees legend Lou Gehrig, Sarah echoed the gratitude she has for realizing so many of her dreams in such a short amount of time.

"I may have been given a bad break, but I've got an awful lot to live for," Langs said.

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