The annual Coach Fisher & Friends Celebrity Softball Game is always a good time. Fans get to meet their favorite players, receive autographs, shag home runs and enjoy what can only be described as a team of professional football players attempting to play softball. Pretty straightforward, right?
It's gets even better though: All the proceeds from the event go to charity. Proceeds from this year's softball game went to The BackStopppers, The Jack and J.T. Snow Scientific Research Foundation, Mercy Ministries, Wounded Warrior Project and Catch-A-Dream Foundation.
So, what did you miss?
JAMES LAURINAITIS' DOMINATION OF THE HOME RUN DERBY
Listen to the crack of that bat. Just listen to it! That's the sound of a moonshot. James Laurinaitis crushed seven home runs, two of which made it out of the park. He took on Remy of 93.7 The Bull in the home run derby finals. T.J. Moe, T.J. McDonald, Alec Ogletree and hip-hop artist Murphy Lee were the other derby participants.
YOUR CHANCE TO SHAG HOME RUNS
So, if you were a "kid," you had the chance to shag any home run ball. Every "kid," with or without a glove, ran out to the field, because what "kid" doesn't want to catch a homer?
I'm 23. I took my chance and ran with it. I beat 20 10-year olds to a home run ball that bounced off the wall. Very proud moment of mine.
THE OPPORTUNITY TO TAKE A PICTURE WITH THE BEST
Greg Robinson, Jo-Lonn Dunbar, Greg Zuerlein, Sam Bradford and Johnny Hekker (yes, THE Johnny Hekker, among many others, signed autographs and took pictures with fans (who had nothing for them to sign).
Two of the more popular players were Greg the Leg and Sam Bradford. They signed everything, from helmets, to footballs and guitars. No pregnant bellies this time. Very unfortunate.
And players signed autographs late into the night, too, well after the fireworks concluded.
But the softball. Let's get back to the softball game that was played.
Teams were Blue and White, Fisher and Schottenheimer. The rosters, below, show a heavily stacked Blue Team. Austin Pettis, who drew praise from Ozzie Smith for his play at SS, hit three home runs, drove in seven RBIs and was honored with the MVP award last year, was teamed with Austin Davis, who had a short career on the Southern Miss baseball team.
There was really was too much going on at once to give a full (and accurate) log of the game. There were plenty of shenanigans, like several attempts of the hidden ball trick, added runs, and kids and cheerleaders pinch running. But it was a lot of fun:
THERE WAS SOME SWEET BONDING TIME,
SICK PLAYS AT SHORTSTOP FROM AUSTIN PETTIS,
HARD HITS AND HOME RUNS FROM AUSTIN DAVIS,
AND GRACE AND SWIFT FEET (AARON DONALD) IN RIGHT-CENTER FIELD.
THERE WERE BIG SWINGS,
AND A LOT OF SHENANIGANS.
CHRIS LONG WAS TOSSED
AND PSYCHED PETTIS ON A CONGRATULATORY HOME RUN HIGH-FIVE.
HE ENDED UP WINNING... THE LVP.
- The game ended in a 22-22 tie. Coach Fisher offered any member of Schottenheimer's team the win if they joined Team Blue.
- On his first at-bat, Brian Schottenheimer bunted.
- Rodger Saffold took some really big swings. He connected for a hard-hit double eventually.
- Coach Fisher didn't approve when T.J. Moe took off from 3B and stole home. After a brief pause in the game, Fisher sent Moe all the way back to 2B.
- Murphy Lee's little boy is a trooper. In pinch running duties, he took a sharply hit ball to the shoulder and was taken out of the game. He was awarded the MVP award.
- Didn't take a picture of the box score, but there were nearly as many errors as hits.
- Chris Long pitched a strong 6 2/3 innings before Schottenheimer pulled him for T.J. Moe. Long gave up 20 runs (some on errors). T.J. pitched out of the jam and the game went into the 8th as a 20-20 tie.
- To quote Fisher: "If Schottenheimer can get us 22 points every game, we're gonna win a lot of games this year."
- For a more complete game summary, Ron Clements has a nice post on gatewaygrizzlies.com. Props to him, too. It couldn't have been easy keeping track of what happened.
Lastly, if you didn't make it out to the event, you probably missed the sunset. It was decent.