Monday, November 18, 2013

BETHESDA BASEBALL HOLIDAY AUCTION DRAWS A CROWD (PHOTOS)

Last evening's Bethesda Baseball Holiday Auction at the Doubletree Bethesda hotel drew a crowd of baseball fans, and raised money to provide and improve ballfields for area children. Sponsored by BCC Baseball and the Bethesda Big Train of the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League, the event was also a chance for fans to quiz an expert during this hot stove period prior to Major League Baseball's winter meetings.
Legendary D.C. sportswriter Shirley Povich
and Bethesda Big Train mascot Bunt
find themselves shrunk into
bobbleheads

Tim Kurkjian of ESPN, an alumnus of Walter Johnson High School in Bethesda, said this season proved that any team has a chance to make the playoffs, and that unlike last year, he wouldn't make early predictions. But he did predict Washington Nationals phenom Bryce Harper would one day be in the hall of fame. Kurkjian lamented the rush of today's sportswriters and bloggers to tweet and post the story first, without being sure it's accurate. Asked how MLB could adjust the season to prevent winter weather conditions during playoff and World Series games, Kurkjian said he feared the season may only get longer, with even greater expansion of the postseason field now on the table. One bidder during the live auction won a "priceless" dinner-for-8 package with Kurkjian at Bethesda's Hard Times Cafe.

Abe Lincoln helps himself to
a glass of ice water
The top celebrity on the bill was Nationals relief pitcher Drew Storen, who signed autographs and posed for pictures for fans. When I mentioned I've had him on my fantasy baseball team during a couple of recent seasons, he recommended I draft him again this year. Hopefully that means he's gearing up for a career year in 2014. During the live auction portion of the evening, Storen gave away an actual, signed jersey of his, and a signed baseball, to a successful bidder.

Bethesda Big Train mascot Bunt tries to sneak
up on a tray of appetizers, but the server
is already on to his game
Speaking of jerseys, there was an autographed All-star game jersey from the Baltimore Orioles' Chris "Crush" Davis, and an autograph prize package - jersey, bat, baseball, and #8 scoreboard number - from the Iron Man himself, Cal Ripken. The Bethesda Big Train donated an autographed Bryce Harper jersey.

Other popular items included a Bruce Springsteen album signed by The Boss himself, a luxury vacation to Florblanca Resort in Costa Rica, and a 42 movie poster signed by Harrison Ford and Alan Tudyk, among others. And for Redskins fans, a chance to sit behind the end zone at FedEx Field for their December 8 game versus Kansas City (and an RGIII autograph, to boot).

The auction was conducted by Pat Haggerty, a local journalist and professional auctioneer, who also appeared in the Borat movie.

There was also a ton of cool stuff in the earlier silent auction - can you beat a boxing glove signed by Sylvester Stallone? No, you can't. Bidders jockeyed for a chance to be General Manager of the Bethesda Big Train for a night, send their kid to the Big Train Celebrity Nationals Camp, or throw out the first pitch at a Big Train game.

Lots of local businesses donated packages, including Equinox at Bethesda Row, Eyma Salon, Sandy Spring Builders, L.A. Boxing, Secolari, Port City Brewing, My Gym, Kicks Karate, Build-a-Bear, Honest Tea, Rockville Town Square's Buffalo Wild Wings, Dogtopia at White Flint, and BCC Baseball.

The Nationals threw in an autographed Louisville Slugger from Jayson Werth. How about a Mariano Rivera autographed ball, from the best closer ever to play the game?

Then there were the food packages, including a Bethesda Beer and Bar package from BlackFinn, Union Jack's, Rock Bottom, and - as the odd bar out - Gaithersburg's Dogfish Head Ale House. Rockville Town Square, Park Potomac, Kentlands, Cabin John Shopping Center, Bethesda Row, White Flint and Tysons Corner were among the restaurant destinations represented.

Among the Experiences packages were a $50 gift card to Bethesda Blues and Jazz Supper Club, a weeklong Nantucket getaway, a cruise on the Boomerang Party Yacht, lunch with Byron Mouton at Buffalo Wild Wings, and a choice of luxury suite or 3rd-row seats at a Washington Capitals game.

Attendees enjoyed a variety of foods, much of it ballpark-themed. There was even a stadium vendor wandering the crowd with free Cracker Jack. Try getting something free at a Nationals game!
Rounding out the guest list was a trio of mascots: Abe Lincoln, who somehow managed to work the crowded room without falling, and the Big Train's Homer and Bunt.

Stay tuned for video from the event!

1 comment:

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