I attended the Bethesda Big Train Celebrity Softball Classic for the 2nd year in a row on Saturday, April 12. It was a showdown between the athletes from pro sports teams such as the Washington Redskins, the Arizona Cardinals, the Maryland Terrapins, and the Washington Spirit, and the journalists who cover them from the Washington Post, 106.7 the Fan, Fox5 DC, and Redskins.com, for example. All of the money raised from the event goes to charity such as Lorenzo Alexander’s ACES fund, and a charity that builds and improve baseball fields for kids in the DC area. “What a turn out! The weather was great and we are raising money for a great cause, with proceeds benefitting the Big Train’s foundation that maintains and rebuilds baseball fields in the Washington, DC area ” said Big Train Asst. General Manager Bart Lambergman. It was so fun that I want to share some of my experiences from this game.
When we entered Shirley Povich Field at Cabin John Regional Park on Saturday night, I felt the spring breeze fly over me. It was a perfect night for baseball.
Before the game, I walked around the concourse where they had free food for fans from Buffalo Wild Wings and a bunch of activities. I saw an auction for autographed memorabilia by some of the Redskins players. They also had some inflatable games, like a pitching game where you can try to strike out Mike Trout. Because I was credentialed media for the game, the first thing I did was go on the field to interview players. I interviewed coach of the media team, Lorenzo Alexander, on the field. He has played in the Big Train Celebrity Classic in the past two years and said that he was going to try to play like his favorite Nationals player Bryce Harper. Here is a picture of me talking to Ryan Kerrigan.
I also said hi to Lindsay Murphy, the FOX5 sports anchor, and 106.7 radio host Grant Paulsen as they warmed up.
The game was full of excitement. It was especially exciting for me because I went upstairs to the press box to watch the game, which was REALLY fun. I sat next to the PA announcer and the man who makes the sound effects.
As soon as the game started, Lorenzo Alexander and Redskins long snapper Nick Sundberg each smacked big flies over of the fence in the same inning. It was a slugfest from then on. The guys were hitting homers every inning. Sundberg actually did a feat that no one will probably ever do again. The long snapper hit the long ball 5 times in 6 at bats. Somebody call the Guinness World Records! He said after the game, “It was a great night. I was super happy to come out here for the charities involved and to be able to hit some home runs against the media.” He said he always bat clean up when he played baseball as a kid, and that’s why he was so effective in this game.
Unlike past year, the media kept the game close. The athletes would pull one run ahead and the media would tie it up the next inning. It went that way for he rest of the game, but in the 7th inning the athletes pulled ahead 13-7.
The media team came back, and Kevin Shafer of 106.7 The Fan radio actually hit a grand slam and came close to winning a Corvette. One of the game’s sponsors, MemberCar, put a bunch of fancy cars on the warning track and promised that if anyone hit a ball in the car they could keep it. Well, Shafer hit a long ball over the softball field boundaries all the way to the baseball field walls and HIT the yellow Corvette, making a big dent. I asked him about his grand slam after the game and if he won the car. Shafer said, “Here’s what he told me: he said that if I hit a ball in the Corvette, I get to keep the car. But it hit on top of it, so he’s not giving it to me. That’s depressing. I thought it went in the car.” So it looks like Shafer isn’t getting the Corvette to keep.
In the end, the athletes came away with another victory, winning 18-13.
The Celebrity game was so fun! If you haven’t been to a game, the Bethesda Big Train plays in the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League in the summer. The team is made up of some of the best college baseball players in the country, including a bunch who have gone to the major leagues. Make sure to check out a game this summer! Go to www.BigTrain.org to learn more about them.