(SUNRISE, FL) – The first annual HOME RUNS FOR HOPE CHALLENGE, hosted by Fox Sports Net and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays on Monday, June 24, was a home run with corporate participants. The event sold out, with 14 companies in the Bay Area competing for the championship trophy and other prizes. Proceeds from the event benefit the Rays of Hope Foundation, which is dedicated to the development, education, and welfare of children in the Tampa Bay area.
At the event, local corporate teams consisting of five batters each received 20 pitches from a pitching machine, and points were awarded based on the distance of each hit. The winning corporate team, with a cumulative grand total of 2,625 points and 14 home runs, represents Watkins Motor Lines based in Lakeland. Leadoff batter Frank Cruz of Valrico also had the individual high score for the day, with 950 points and eight home runs scored. In addition to Cruz, the Watkins Motor Lines team included Eddie Maldonado of Ridge Manor, Wilber Bonilla of Brooksville, Dwayne Crowell of Largo, and Jason Branch from Brooksville.
"The HOME RUNS FOR HOPE CHALLENGE was created with the goal of enabling people to realize a dream," noted Jeff Genthner, Fox Sports Net Florida's Senior Vice President and General Manager. "For competitors in the event, their dream may have been to hit a home run in a major league ballpark. For those in the community who are less fortunate, our hope is their dreams may be realized through the Rays of Hope Foundation."
"The Tampa Bay Devil Rays are excited about the HOME RUNS FOR HOPE CHALLENGE and how it will benefit the Rays of Hope Foundation," said Dick Crippen, the Executive Director of the Rays of Hope Foundation. "We're especially grateful to Fox Sports Net for presenting this program and working so closely with the Devil Rays staff. We are very thankful to all the businesses and organizations that came out to show off their skills on the field and enjoy themselves while at the same time supporting the Rays of Hope Foundation."
The HOME RUNS FOR HOPE CHALLENGE traveling trophy and other prizes will be awarded to the Watkins Motor Lines team this Friday, June 28th at Tropicana Field prior to the Devil Rays game against the Florida Marlins. The winning group will retain the award until the 2003 competition. Fox Sports Net will also present the Rays of Hope Foundation with a $5,000 check from the proceeds of the first-annual event. A complete list of corporate participants, team point totals, and photos from the event are attached.
Fox Sports Net Florida reaches more than 3.9 million households in Florida. Fox Sports Net Florida is managed by Rainbow Sports Networks, a division of Cablevision's Rainbow Media Holdings, Inc. Fox Sports Net Florida's programming includes Major League Baseball's Florida Marlins and Tampa Bay Devil Rays; the National Hockey League's Florida Panthers; the University of Miami, and the University of South Florida, along with select NASCAR and PGA Tour coverage.
Fox Sports Net reaches more than 79 million households nationwide and is a service of National Sports Partners, equally owned by Cablevision's Rainbow Media Holdings, Inc. and Fox. Rainbow Sports Networks incorporates Rainbow's 50% ownership of Fox Sports Net and Fox Sports National Advertising, and the ownership and management of Fox Sports Net regional networks in five of the nation's largest markets: Chicago, Florida, Ohio, New England and San Francisco.
|Corporate Team Lineup||Team Point Total|
|1. Watkins Motor Lines||2,625|
|2. Talkin Baseball||2,075|
|3. Team Frottz Management||1,975|
|4. Parts Warehouse||1,925|
|5. Tew, Barnes, & Atkinson LLP||1,675|
|6. Time Warner Communications||1,500|
|8. Gatorade/Hops (combined team)||1,175|
|9. Tampa Bay Trane||1,150|
|10. Dailey Communications||850|
|11. Walker Ford||850|
|12. Rooms To Go||850|
|13. The Murray Company||625|
|14. All Electric Services||600|
Photo Captions (JPEG files attached to e-mail message)
HRHC1: Ravi Malick of Tampa bats third for team "Talkin Baseball."
HRHC2: Fox Sports Net play-by-play announcer Dewayne Staats, right, provides expert commentary during the Home Runs For Hope Challenge, while FSN's David Lucoff, left, serves as official scorer.
HRHC3: Fox Sports Net Florida's Sr. Vice President and General Manager, Jeff Genthner briefs the Rooms To Go team on rules and regulations.