Thursday, January 3, 2019
By RENALDO DORSETT
Tribune Sports Reporter
THE teams have been drafted and the final few days to galvanise support as events for the Don’t Blink Home Run Derby in Paradise weekend got underway.
Several of the participants in this weekend’s derby hosted a Pop Up Meet and Greet at the REV Cable Bahamas office in the Marathon Mall yesterday.
Aspiring players and fans had an opportunity to interact with the players and for photo opportunities and autographs ahead of Saturday’s event.
In addition, players are scheduled to host a clinic at the Atlantis resort on Friday, January 4, facilitating players aged seven and older, from 9am to 1pm.
Registration is free to the public and begins on site at 8:30am. You can also pre-register at www.dontblinkapparel.com
“Our whole goal was just to inspire as many kids as possible. We decided to bring it back to help those kids and also to give the Bahamian people something to enjoy,” Lucius Fox Jr said.
“We encourage everyone to come out and workout with the pros, interact with them and learn as much as you can. It will certainly be a fun-filled experience. We just wanted to do something for the Bahamian people.
“The kids are the future, we know that they’re the future, we take it upon ourselves to help them every chance we get. So bring your kids out, allow them to work with us, the many pros from the Bahamas and the visiting international pros as well.”
At last year’s event, clinic participants were drilled at various skill positions, including hitting, fielding, pitching and base-running.
The weekend culminates with the main event on Saturday, January 5 when the country’s top pro baseball prospects will host another showcase of local and international talent as they vie for the title of the Bahamian Home Run Derby King.
The Don’t Blink Home Run Derby, powered by REV, is all set for noon at the Montagu foreshore, featuring over 30 participants in the unique showcase.
With a greater number of participants, the roster for this year’s event will be divided into teams headlined by Fox and Todd Isaacs Jr.
Following the team format, the top four individual hitters from each team will advance to see who will be crowned the Bahamian home run king.
Twenty active Bahamian professional players will participate in the event, up from 16 local participants last year. In 2012, there were just two active Bahamians in the minor league system, indicative of baseball’s exponential growth in the country.
Defending champion Bo Bichette will be back and headlines the list of visiting players. Miami Marlins outfielder Lewis Brinson is also expected as the lone major leaguer in the field.
“To see it happen and how much people enjoyed it made us happy. We didn’t win but the joy on people’s face made us happy and the lives of how many little kids we touched was great. The amount of Americans that saw this event that wanted to come down was surprising,” Fox said.
A unique venue presents a unique approach as players will hit home runs into Montagu Bay. Home run barriers will be set by buoys in the water that have been measured with the proper major league approved dimensions.
The title sponsor, REV will broadcast the event live and will simulcast live on it’s Facebook page.
“We never have the opportunity to play in front of our people. Baseball players never get to showcase their talent on the island, but last year we got to showcase how much our hard work has paid off,” Fox said, “I remember telling kids I never dreamt of seeing the places I’ve seen or meeting the people I’ve met and it’s all been because of baseball. We just want to give every young kid coming up behind us every opportunity and I think the Bahamian people are opening up their eyes to baseball even more.”
Proceeds from the event will benefit the Cancer Society of the Bahamas, the Sister Sister Breast Cancer Support Group and the development of youth baseball in the Bahamas.
“The lineup has grown a lot. It speaks volumes to where our young men are developing in this sport of baseball,” event promoter Todd Isaacs Sr said, “We didn’t know what to expect last year and the vibe was just great. We want to make it bigger and inspire the young kids and that’s really what this is about. It’s very good that our kids can come out and talk and touch these guys and learn how they did this. We can actually see the doors being opened in Major League Baseball.”