PAWTUCKET â Itâs not unusual for the Pawtucket Red Sox organization to schedule a summertime event at McCoy Stadium while the primary tenants are off waging International League wars at another teamâs ballpark. Through the years, McCoy has opened its doors to headline performers such as Bob Dylan and the Dropkick Murphys to welcoming Team USA Baseball.
Another non-PawSox event is on the docket for Sunday, Aug. 10, one rooted in West Coast swagger. With the iâs dotted and tâs officially crossed, the Triple-A franchise announced Tuesday that the venerable diamond located on Ben Mondor Way will host the Jeffrey Osborne Celebrity All-Star Softball Classic.
The game begins at 6 p.m. with gates opening 90 minutes before a different kind of first pitch.
After all, itâs not every day that a mish-mash of celebs hailing from around the country descend upon McCoy.
âThis is a fun event and weâre excited to be hosting it,â stated PawSox President Mike Tamburro when reached Tuesday night. âIt was too good of an opportunity to pass up.â
A musician, singer-songwriter, and lyricist who was born and raised in Providence, Osborne has secured commitments from a slew of friends from the music and sports worlds. The basketball community will be well represented with NBA legends Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Joining the pair are James Worthy and Bryon Scott, two former teammates and cogs from the Los Angeles Lakersâ âShowtimeâ era from the 1980s.
Johnson, who was part of the Los Angeles Dodgersâ ownership group that helped orchestrate the eponymous âNick Punto tradeâ in Aug. 2012 that helped the Red Sox slash massive payroll, will join Osborne in headlining a West-based softball squad that also features four-time 20-game winner Dave Stewart and singer Smokey Robinson.
The West team will face a âWhoâs Whoâ of former Patriot and Red Sox players who will comprise the East team, one led by former Patriots standout QB Steve Grogan and center Pete Brock. Ex-Red Sox pitchers Bill Lee and Oil Can Boyd are certainly no strangers when it comes to appearing at McCoy; both are slated to take part. Providence College head basketball coach Ed Cooley is also on board.
Additions to the rosters for both teams will be announced in the coming weeks. The celebrity softball game will serve as a lead-in into the third annual Jeffrey Osborne Celebrity Classic Golf Tournament, set for August 11-12 at Portsmouthâs Carnegie Abbey.
âIâm truly blessed to have so many close friends and colleagues who have joined me in support of the Celebrity Softball Game at McCoy Stadium as well as the Jeffrey Osborne Celebrity Classic,â said Jeffrey Osborne in a statement released by the PawSox. âIt is through these efforts that we can continue to provide support to music and the arts, as well as to non-profits who provide a safe haven for families in need.â
According to Tamburro, the idea of McCoy Stadium hosting an event of this star-studded magnitude was bandied about a year ago. Last August, Osborne helped facilitate a celebrity basketball game at Providence Collegeâs Alumni Hall, which served as the official kickoff to several days of mingling and schmoozing with big-time names while raising money for Rhode Island-based charities.
Last winter saw representatives from Osborneâs camp and PawSox officials revisit the idea. Osborne, who has performed the National Anthem at McCoy in the past, recently appeared at the stadium just as all the commitments from Johnson and the rest of the household names were nailed down.
âThis year, it all worked for everybody,â noted Tamburro. âI think itâs going to be fun for the fans and the community. Itâs not often that we get these West Coast stars to appear on the East Coast. There are some pretty big names and this is just the beginning. As we get closer to the event, theyâll be some more names to announce. There will be a legitimate softball all-star team on both sides.â
All the ticket proceeds will go to the Jeffrey Osborne Charity Foundation and the PawSox Charitable Trust. Tickets for the event are now on sale at the PawSox Box Office at McCoy, on-line at www.pawsox.com, or over the phone by calling (401) 724-7300.
All tickets will be priced the same as regular-season PawSox tickets, which are $12 for reserved box seats and $8 for general admission ($5 for children aged 12 & under and senior citizens).
There will also be a special deal to include a pre-game meet-and-greet barbecue with the celebrity All-Stars and a ticket to the game for a donation of $50 (fans are encouraged to phone the PawSox regarding the opportunity to hobnob with the featured attractions).
âThe community is the winner here so I hope they come out and support this,â Tamburro said.
âIt is an honor and pleasure to come back to Rhode Island to help out my good friend Mr. Jeffrey Osborne at McCoy Stadium in his Celebrity Softball Game where we will have tons of fun,â said Magic Johnson in a release. âSo come on out and hang with the Magic Man!â
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