15th Annual Park Place Dealerships – Texas Rangers Triple Play Game Show Spectacular benefits area youth with scholarships, playing fields and equipment
Sporting an enchanted garden theme, the real treasure in the 15th Annual Park Place Dealerships – Texas Rangers Triple Play Game Show Spectacular for fans was the intimate interaction with the fun-loving Rangers players. Though, clearly, the winners were the boys and girls across North Texas who are served by the Texas Rangers Foundation. With 700 fans at the sold-out event, the evening raised more than $700,000 for the non-profit organization.
Each year the Foundation’s executive director, Karin Morris, and her team strive to out-do previous years’ experiences. And they did not disappoint.
“The engagement that the fans have with our players has been so incredible,” said Morris. “And the excitement the players have for the games and the Rookie Songs are always very special. We’ve been so lucky to have such great attendance. Each year, the challenge is topping the previous year’s donations while keeping the event at about 700 so that fans have the ability to see their favorite player and engage with them. Getting any bigger would make it more challenging.”
Entering the Trinity Ballroom at the Hilton Anatole Dallas, guests were offered a chance to bid on a wide range of unique memorabilia from the entertainment and sports worlds. But the real joy for Texas Rangers fans was being able to get up close for personal conversations and autographs with their favorite players, past and present, as well as coaches and front office personnel. In addition to the Rangers full roster, former players such as Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez, Pete O’ Brien, Jose Guzman and others were in attendance.
“It’s been 15 years since Park Place Dealerships and the Texas Rangers developed this fun event to connect fans with players and coaches while raising money to share the love of baseball with area kids, ” said Dave Evans, director of marketing for Park Place Dealerships. “Watching the players relax, laugh and enjoy the evening is always entertaining. While the guys are all fierce competitors on and off the field, they play the game shows all in good fun.”
Immediately after dinner, the Game Show Spectacular began. And, as always, it lived up to the hype. Fox Sports Southwest anchor John Rhadigan and sideline reporter Emily Jones acted as emcees and they engaged fans and players alike in a game of “Heads or Tails.” The auctioneer would flip a coin and participants would signal which side they thought the coin would land on by placing their hands on either their head or posterior. After narrowing the field with multiple rounds, Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre won the game. He generously donated the prize back to the auction. The coveted prize included a Big Green Egg and an all-expenses paid trip to Cooperstown to attend former Texas Rangers catcher Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony, which raised $16,000 for the charity.
Other exclusive auction items such as a trip on the team plane to Chicago, a trip to the Texas Rangers Spring Training and a trip to Napa Valley were so popular they each sold twice, doubling the amount raised for the Foundation.
Continuing the Game Show Spectacular, players once again demonstrated they are just as competitive (and twice as funny) off the field as they are when playing Major League baseball. Jonathan Lucroy faced off against A.J. Griffin in the “Match Game,” with panelists Matt Bush, Andrew Cashner, and Sam Dyson going head-to-head with Tony Barnette, Robinson Chirinos and Nick Martinez. Lucroy won 1-0 after several rounds of hilarious answers.
Next, fans were treated to the annual Rookie Song, which featured Chi Chi Gonzalez, Jose Leclerc, Austin Bibens-Dirkx and Dario Alvarez acting out a skit to the song “Despacito.” The rookies pranced around and posed like rappers to the delight of fans and veteran players alike, finally dropping their microphones at the end. I’m sure the rookies will be reliving this experience throughout the year as Beltre and Odor were seen filming the spectacle while Andrus looked on with an impish smile.
Finally, the evening’s main attraction was the fan favorite “Fielder’s Feud,” pitting outfielders Delino DeShields, Ryan Rua, Nomar Mazara and Pete Kozma against infielders Elvis Andrus, Adrian Beltre, Mike Napoli and Rougned Odor. The players had fun with good-natured ribbing throughout the game. The infielders won and each player received a silver whistle on a lanyard, plus bragging rights for the year. I’d bet it’s not the last tweet we’ll hear from these practical jokers this season.
“Our primary focus this year is on completing the Texas Rangers MLB Youth Academy in West Dallas,” explained Morris. “The facility will provide a safe place for area children to play baseball and softball. In addition to year-round baseball and softball instruction, the Academy will host tournaments, coaching clinics, and skills camps. It will also give young people access to academic tutoring, college prep classes, college and career fairs, financial literacy and internship programs, and MLB industry alternative career workshops.”
The Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation is dedicated to improving the lives of children in need within our community, and provides funding for youth in crisis, youth health initiatives, youth baseball programs, and youth education. Celebrating its 26th year, the Foundation has given back more than $15 million to help children in need.
While the Texas Rangers Foundation can’t set the date for next year’s Triple Play event until after the MLB releases the 2018 baseball schedule, fans might want to reserve the first couple of Sundays in May 2018 for the ultimate Texas Rangers Fan party. Then, watch the Rangers website for the announcement as the event sells out quickly.
Ken Schnitzer founded Park Place Dealerships 30 years ago with a single Mercedes-Benz dealership on Oak Lawn. Today, Park Place Dealerships employs more than 2,000 people and operates 18 full-service dealerships representing luxury brands including Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, INFINITI, Volvo, smart, Jaguar, Lotus, Rolls-Royce, Bentley, McLaren, and Maserati. Park Place is currently building a new Land Rover Jaguar dealership in Grapevine, scheduled to open July 2017, and a new Grapevine Porsche dealership opening in 2018. For more info, visit parkplace.com.