By Doug Halberstadt
A long-running debate in the game of baseball continues to be whether it is more entertaining for a fan to watch a great pitchers’ duel or a homerun derby. I’d prefer a 13-10 game over a 1-0 no-hitter any day of the week.
For those of you in my camp, I’ve got an event for you. It’s the Second Annual Charity Challenge Homerun Derby at Little Cubs Field in Freeport, Ill.
This Sunday, July 31, the event will run from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Last year, this event raised nearly $20,000 for nine charities. In a span of nine hours (8 a.m.-5 p.m.), 2,550 home runs were hit. That is an unofficial world’s record for home runs hit in one day at one baseball field. With the added couple of hours this year, I’m guessing fans could witness more than 3,000 homers.
Chicago Cubs Charities will participate this year from 11 a.m. to noon. Participants include former Cubs and White Sox pitcher Steve “Rainbow” Trout and Cubs front office staff, including Vice President of Community Affairs Mike Lufrano. Trout will be available for interviews, photos and autographs between 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. A signed Aramis Ramirez jersey will be part of a silent auction, along with a package of four Cubs tickets with on-field passes for photos on the field before the game.
Several teams from the Freeport and Rockford area will be competing in the fund-raiser. Each team has gathered pledges for each home run hit. Some of the teams committed to participating this year are Malcolm Eaton Center, YMCA of Freeport, Goodwill, East Gate Christian Center, First Free Methodist Church, Tri-County Christian, Boys and Girls Club of Freeport, St. John United Church of Christ, First Tee of Greater Rockford and Little Cubs Field.
Food and beverages will be available throughout the day, and the Little Cubs Field Gift Shop will be open all day. The onlookers will be given a chance to make “Famous Homerun Calls” and invent their own for the event. Admission is free and open to the public.
Little Cubs Field is at 1160 W. Empire St., Freeport.
Doug Halberstadt can be reached via e-mail at Dougster61@aol.com.