It all started with an email… 2 year later it has evolved into more than any of us could have ever imagined. The Boston Men’s Baseball League are pleased to be on the verge of their 3rd Annual 100 Innings of Baseball Spectacular. What started as a casual conversation between teammates has now found its place as an unprecedented event and a major fundraising force.
The 100 Innings of Baseball Spectacular was born in late February, 2004. Brett Rudy and Mike Lembo of the MABL White Sox were exchanging emails on a typical day. Rudy, whose mind is always racing with new ideas and concepts, emailed Lembo with the following message, “I have an idea. Let’s play a 100-inning baseball game.” Lembo, always up for a new challenge, responded, “I’m in. How should we do it?” And so it began…
The two approached BMBL President Steve Wolf with the idea and the trio went to work on the planning. These events happened to coincide with the arrival of a new sheriff in Red Sox Nation. Curt Schilling was the newest member of the Boston Red Sox and the organizers could think of no better way to welcome him to town. The decision was made to transform their event into a fundraiser for his Curt’s Pitch for ALS program to aid in the fight against Lou Gehrig’s disease.
A meeting with the ALS Association MA Chapter ensued and a deal was quickly struck to get things underway. After some begging and convincing to the City of Boston’s Department of Conservation and Recreation a permit was issued to use Kelly Field in Hyde Park for the inaugural game – marking the first time the City of Boston had ever granted permission for an all night event to take place. A date of April 17th and 18th was decided upon, appropriately enough on “Marathon Weekend”.
With only 6 weeks to plan, at this point, things came fast and furious. Phone calls, managers meetings, emails, press releases, interviews, sponsors, and eager participants came rapidly. The “unique concept” they thought they had turned out to be slightly more than just that. As word spread and the event neared it started becoming more apparent that they were on to something major.
The game itself was a blast. Between the great baseball, the food, the great weather, the DJ, the Harley Riders, the countless cans of Red Bull, the great volunteers and fans, Shonda Schilling’s appearance, and the 9 “Iron Men” things couldn’t have gone more smoothly.
When the dust finally settled – one weekend, countless media appearances, 180 players, and 100 innings came together to absolutely shatter anyone’s expectations. A week later a check for $112,000 was presented by the game organizers to Curt Schilling on the field at Fenway Park. As cliché as it sounds – it truly goes to show what can happen when a group of individuals work hard towards a common goal.
In 2005, they were back at in again and made things even bigger and better. 100 Innings become a known commodity around the city and a website was created to help players manage their pledges. The Brockton Rox graciously stepped up to the challenge and hosted the event at beautiful Campanelli Stadium and the stage was set to repeat the feat.
Over a beautiful, but rather cold, April weekend over 160 players teamed to once again successfully complete the feat. 21 “Ironmen” made it the whole 31 hours and countless others put their bodies and weekends on the line in support of the cause.
The two year running total for this event is now at $225,000, which has been allocated to research and patient care for those suffering with Lou Gehrig’s Disease through the Curt’s Pitch for ALS Program.