Ever dreamed of playing baseball at Wrigley Field? Well, you can! Hosted by the Wood Family Foundation and Cubs Charities, the first annual Battle of the Bats Home Run Derby is coming up and all are invited to participate.
The Wood Family Foundation’s slogan, “Stepping up to the plate for Chicago’s kids,” will be put into action Thursday, June 18 as 40 participants will join together to raise money for Chicago’s youth while playing in a home run derby. Open to the public, spectators can come watch free of charge and enjoy a bite to eat. Encouraging support for the event, Executive Director of the Wood Family Foundation Amy Wright says, “It’s going to be a fun and unique way for fans to experience being a baseball player.”
Three rounds of home run derby will be played beginning at 2:30 p.m. Thursday afternoon, with event check-in beginning at 2 p.m. In Round One, each player will have ten outs. The top ten home run scorers from Round One will then advance to Round Two, where players will have eight outs. The Championship Round, the third and final round, will take the top three participants who scored the highest number of home runs in Round Two. Former Cubs great Kerry Wood will pitch the Championship Round, where each player will have five outs and the Battle of the Bats Home Run Derby Champion will be determined. Cubs’ alumni Ryan Dempster, Jon Lieber, and Todd Wellemeyer also will be present at the event to give baseball tips and visit with the participants. Following the Championship Round, a Post-Event Party of dinner and awards will be held for all the participants.
Both the Wood Family Foundation and Cubs Charities are joining together to put on this interactive and enjoyable event in order to raise money to support the children of Chicago. As president of the Wood Family Foundation, Wood is quite an active philanthropist, organizing and participating in a variety of programs. “Kerry Wood couldn’t be a nicer individual,” Wright says of her colleague. Intending to be involved long-term with the youth of Chicago, the Wood Family Foundation has created programs that truly support them. Some of the proceeds from the Battle of the Bats Home Run Derby will go to Pitch In, a Wood Family Foundation mentoring program.
With high aspirations to make a positive impact on Chicago’s youth, each individual interested in participating must raise at least $3,500 in order to be eligible to play. Participants will receive an event uniform, batting practice with Kerry Wood, meet Cubs alumni and have their name on Wrigley Field’s video board. They will also receive a baseball signed by Wood and friends, two tickets to the post-event party, and food and beverages during the event. Even though participation in the home run derby is limited to forty participants, it is hoped that at least $150,000 will be raised, especially since so many enticing incentives are offered to the top fundraisers.
The team that raises the most money will win a dinner with Kerry Wood at a date and place to be determined. The team that raises the second highest amount wins an afternoon or evening with Wood at a Cubs game where they will all be seated in infield box seats. The top four individual fundraisers have four prizes from which to choose: the chance to throw the first pitch at a Cubs game; to be a grounds crew member for a day; to receive a press area tour; or to receive a Chicago Cubs baseball signed by the team.
Whether you wish to be a participant or not, this is an excellent opportunity to show your support and spend an afternoon at Wrigley Field. Everyone will benefit—the participants, the spectators, and, most importantly, Chicago’s youth.
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