Wednesday, February 4, 2015

My night at the 35th Annual Thurman Munson Awards Dinner

So I got to attend last night's Thurman Munson Awards Dinner, at the Grand Hyatt in Manhattan. (Thanks to the people behind the event for hooking me up with press credentials!) You can see some photos of it here. I also got to attend the pre-dinner press opportunity.

It was a wonderful evening, for a great cause -- helping children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Diana Munson spoke, both at the presser and at the dinner, and she was very impressive. She said when the dinner started, they expected it to run for a few years. Now it is 35 years! The night raised close to $700,000 for AHRC.

Anyhow, I got to talk to some of the honorees after the formal press opportunity was winding down. I asked Meryl Davis and Charlie White, the 2014 Olympic gold medal winners for ice dancing, whether they got recognized more for their Olympic feats, or for their appearance on "Dancing With the Stars" (Meryl took home the mirror ball trophy as the winner last year!) They said that most people recognize them for both, but some people mention the Olympics first, while others bring up "DWTS" first. They also said that there are a few people who know them for "Dancing With the Stars" and don't realize that they were in the Olympics!

I didn't get to talk to Steve Weatherford, New York Giants punter, but I heard him speak to the press. He said he has both ADHD and OCD, but has a system to keep them under control. He is incredibly charismatic as well -- I could definitely see him as either a sports personality on TV after his career is over, or even as somebody running for office!

I got to ask Dellin Betances, who has a soul patch on his chin, if he was going to have to shave soon. "Oh yeah, it goes," he replied. "I have a week left." He had the most reporters around him at the presser, so I didn't even try to get to talk to him until the end of the event. Incidentally, he looks even taller in person than he does on TV. As somebody who is six feet tall myself, I never say "You're so tall!" to someone, because I find it a little uncomfortable when somebody does it to me. But wow, he is tall!  Betances is also very soft-spoken and quiet. I am rooting for him big time this year -- he seems to have it all together, and at such a young age.

Bernie Williams and Mookie Wilson were supposed to be honored at the event, but they each had flight issues due to the weather, so John Franco stepped in for Mookie, while Charlie Hayes was there for Bernie.

Other baseball people I saw at the event were Michael Kay and John Flaherty. And I got the chance to talk to Sweeny Murti, John Harper, and Bryan Hoch, as well as Ann Liguori and Nancy Newman. It was pretty cool to see these folks at the event. The food at the dinner was delicious, too!

Hoda Kotb introduced Davis and White, and she was very charming. And Michael Strahan introduced Weatherford, and Strahan was awesome! Was extremely excited to see him there, especially because I didn't know he would be at the dinner!

All in all, it was a pretty great night, and for a tremendous cause.

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