Want to take batting practice at Minute Maid Park? “Candlelighters” will show you the way.

A fundraising project benefitting ill children will take place at Baseball USA later this summer, and eventually, those efforts will also filter downtown, to Minute Maid Park.

Houston kids will comprise 88 baseball and softball teams that will play in the Candlelighters all-day baseball tournament on Aug. 27 at Baseball USA, raising funds for families of children with cancer. Participants will solicit donations in the weeks leading up to the tournament, and the top 12 fundraisers will win the grand prize — a round of batting practice at Minute Maid Park, under the tutelage of none other than Scrap Iron himself — former Astros manager Phil Garner.

A total of 15 fundraising folks will win the batting practice session. In addition to the 12 spots that will go to the kids who played, three more will be allotted to anyone who did NOT play in the tourney but still wants to raise money for Candlelighters.

In other words…

If you’re 45 years old with bad knees and your baseball career both peaked and plummeted your junior year of high school, but you’d still like to hang out with a former World Series manager, this one’s for you.

If you’re a soccer mom who was always picked last and stuck in right field during Wiffle Ball battles at family reunions, but you still yearn to step into the batter’s box at a real Major League stadium, listen up.

If you’re a college kid trying to impress that girl in your Western Civ class who has no idea who you are and, worse, shows no sign of really caring who you are, pay attention. (You get to bring guests!)

Donate, donate, donate

The last three spots are open to any and all. The only requirement is you have to finish in the top three of all non-playing fundraisers. The process is easy: Go to the Candlelighter’s registration section and sign up for a personal fundraising page. Upon registering, you will receive an email that contains your player fundraising link and a sample email to send to your family and friends.

We were tipped off to this event by Astros radio broadcaster Dave Raymond, who was key in getting the Astros and the Astros in Action Foundation involved.

“It’s a chance to take batting practice on a Major League field with a Major League, World Series-managing Astros legend as your coach,” Raymond said. “Astros in Action and (Vice President of Foundation Development) Marian Harper have been very generous to set up the batting practice portion for us.”

Batting practice will take place before a home game in September. The exact date will be determined in the near future.

A good cause

Candlelighters began in 1989 with two parent support groups from the Medical Center: one at Texas Children’s Cancer Center and one at MD Anderson Cancer Center. The Texas Children’s Hospital group sought formal incorporation, and in 1992 Candlelighters was legally formed. In the fall of 1992 they invited the MD Anderson Parent Group to join them and the two organizations merged into one.

The Parent Consultant Program was developed to directly meet the needs of families at the treatment centers and to inform them of potential resources. Their programs and services extend beyond the hospital walls with their Family Camp, Adopt-A-Family, Fall Festival, quarterly newsletter, and other special events.

Over the years, they have learned how critically valuable it is for our Parent Consultants to be able to personally hand parents of children with cancer practical assistance such as a meal pass, parking pass, phone card, or gas card. Candlelighters is designed to bring comfort to childhood cancer families when stress is so high and they feel so helpless.

For more information on Candlelighters and the baseball and softball tournaments, please visit http://strikeoutkidscancer.org.

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1 Comment

WOW! Anyone can take batting practice at Minute Maid? Sign me up! My kid will go nuts to win this! Candlelighters is a great cause as well. I love this!!!!

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