Old Timers ball game is Saturday

Published 10:12 am Wednesday, July 16, 2003

By By BEN RAYMOND LODE / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- The old will take on the young at this year's Old Timers Baseball Game taking place at Thomas Memorial Baseball Stadium in Niles.
The baseball game, which is the fourth annual Old Timers Baseball Game here, starts at 7 p.m., Saturday, July 19, and is a fund-raising event for the Ronald McDonald House at Memorial Hospital in South Bend, Ind.
Pastor Jeff Whittaker at the Michiana Christian Embassy is one of the event organizers.
He said in previous years, the game has simply been Old Timers vs. Old Timers, which the players themselves have felt has limited the audience.
In an effort to broaden the event and get as many people in the community involved as possible, event organizers this year decided to invite 16 to 18-year-old area All Star baseball players to play against the old timers, he said.
Which has so far led to a few comments about whether the old timers are up to the challenge.
Whittaker said people have asked him and said: "Aren't you worried about playing against these young guys."
But people who come to the event will experience much more than just a baseball game.
The baseball stadium's gates will open at 6 p.m. and a Home Run Derby will kick off at 6:30 p.m., Whittaker said.
Whittaker said there will be special surprises and special stunts going on throughout the game.
Making sure the action never stops will be the job of official McDonald's mascots, Grimace and Hamburglar.
He also hopes the game will benefit from the regular Saturday Babe Ruth Baseball League games at the stadium.
Whittaker said event organizers are making an effort to transform the old timers baseball game's atmosphere into the atmosphere one might find at a minor league baseball game.
Whittaker, in an effort to illustrate the atmosphere he hopes will be present during Saturday's game, described the event as a Carnival of Baseball.
There are no admission costs, or fees for entering the game, but players wanting to play for the old timers must be 35-years-of-age, Whittaker said.
He said there will be collection points around the stadium that will be staffed by McDonalds representatives where people can donate money to the Ronald McDonald House. Whittaker said most of the players who have participated in the game before have played baseball at some stage of their life.
Whittaker hopes the event will raise $1,000.