Wednesday, January 22, 2014

My night at the Baseball Assistance Team dinner

I had the honor of getting to attend Tuesday's Baseball Assistance Team (BAT) 25th annual dinner, held at the Marriott Marquis in Manhattan. Many thanks to MLB for getting me into the event. BAT helps former players and front office personnel in need.

While Tuesday's snowstorm kept some of the event's honorees, like Bud Selig and Jimmy Rollins, from being able to attend in person, there were over 75 current and retired MLB players, as well as many hundreds of other attendees, at the dinner. There was also a nice tribute to Michael Weiner, the late had of the players' union, at the event. And the Yankees, as well as the Dodgers, were honored for having the best support to the organization in 2013.

It was a cool event to go to. I showed up in the afternoon to pick up my media credentials, and then get a cup of coffee at the hotel's Starbucks, and I saw Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar getting a coffee of his own!

That is just one of many of the big names I saw at the dinner. I saw David Cone chatting with a friend at the pre-dinner reception; was going to say something but I was tongue-tied for once in my life! I also saw Tommy Lasorda, Steve Garvey, Rollie Fingers, Orlando Cepeda, Phil Linz, Dr. Bobby Brown, Dmitri Young, and many other former MLBers walking around. Adam Jones of the Baltimore Orioles was also there as one of the current MLB players at the event.

I got the chance to talk to Harold Reynolds -- he is just as engaging and charismatic as he is on TV -- at the pre-dinner social hour. At the dinner itself, there is supposed to be a former MLB player at each table. My table had Greg Colbrunn, who played for the Arizona Diamondbacks on their 2001 team. So I was asking him questions about that series, and what it was like. Also noticed his World Series ring. Interestingly enough, Colbrunn was a coach for a number of years in the Yankee farm system, and finally got his chance to coach in the big leagues last year as -- drumroll please -- the Boston Red Sox's hitting coach! So now he will have two rings!

Tike Redman, a former MLB player who received financial assistance from BAT after his daughter was diagnosed with cancer, gave a touching speech about how the help meant to him and his family. It really brought the point home as to how valuable the organization is.

Anyhow, if you ever get the chance to attend the BAT dinner, I wholeheartedly recommend it. Great night for a great cause!

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