DON’T Blink Home Run Derby co-founders Lucius Fox, far left, and Todd Isaacs Jr and CARIFTA Local Organising Committee CEO Lynden Maycock.
#By BRENT STUBBS
#Senior Sports Reporter
#In the aftermath of the return of the fifth annual Don’t Blink Home Run Derby in Paradise in Montagu last month, Freedom Farm received a generous donation of $200,000 worth of baseball equipment from the Players Alliance Association.
#Now dubbed “the greatest show on sand,” co-founders Todd Isaacs Jr and Lucius Fox said they are delighted that the league that got them started in the sport of baseball is the beneficiary of the gift.
#The professional baseball players, who have been childhood friends off the field, made the announcement in the foyer of the Thomas A Robinson National Stadium on Friday concerning the December 13-18 event, which attracted one of the largest crowds since its inception in 2018 with over eight-plus million viewers on their social media platforms.
#Fox, who last year became the eighth Bahamian to crack the Major Leagues when he made his debut with the Washington Nationals, said the donation will help to give more Bahamians an opportunity to harness their skills with the proper equipment to follow suit in their quest to become the next core of players to excel in pro baseball.
#Isaacs Jr, who played for the New Jersey Jackals in the Frontier League, said when they presented the first cheque, it was a complete surprise, but to be able to create an event that enabled the Players Alliance Association to donate the amount of money that they did was the “coolest thing” that happened at last month’s Home Run Derby.
#“For us to create an event that has garnered the attention of the world and to garner the attention of a non-profit organisation like the Players Alliance Association, who came down and shared with us all week and to top it off by donating $200,000 in equipment to Freedom Farm says it all,” Isaacs Jr added.
#“We want this event to be successful. We want the world to come to the Bahamas to experience this event, but we want organisations to come down and believe in our message and to believe in our vision and to see the future and hope of what is to come next. We have no excuses because we have the equipment to get the job done.”
#The donation, according to Fox, will enable more of the inner-city kids to get the same opportunities as the more privileged kids to get a chance to play the game and change their lives and their family’s lives by getting a chance to become pro baseball players just as they are.
#Putting the event into perspective, Isaacs Jr said it closed out with a bang as Fox’s team retained their team title, while for the first time, it was an all-Bahamian final with BJ Murray of the Chicago Cubs’ affiliated Mesa Solar Sox in the Arizona Fall League, out-hitting Trent Deveaux, who previously played in the Los Angeles Angels’ minor league organisation, for the individual championship crown after a star-studded showcase of the Bahamian current and visiting pro players.
#“This year, we’re looking forward to celebrating the 50th Independence and so we’re looking forward to closing out the year with a bang in December,” Isaacs Jr said.
#“We’re just looking at bringing fresh new ideas to the Bahamas and continue to evolve this event.
#“We started the Don’t Blink week off with a celebrity softball game and ended it with a gospel concert headlined by Todd Delaney.
#Our friends came down and had a great time. We hosted over 75 Major and Minor League players, current and former players along with two Hall of Famers, so it shows the growth of the event and the interest the world is showing in the event.”
#Lynden Maycock, the chief executive officer of the Local Organising Committee for the 50th Golden Jubilee CARIFTA Games that will be staged at the stadium from April 7-11, said they are delighted to be a part of the “greatest show on sand.
#“On Sunday night, we hosted the Todd Delaney Gospel Concert and we had an awesome experience with Todd Delaney. Coming out of the experience with Todd Delaney, he mentioned that the experience was the greatest he’s ever experienced on all of his tours.
#“Even though it was free to the Bahamas, for the first time, he has given promoters exclusive rights to market that particular concert.
#So the return that the Bahamas and the LOC would receive based on the investment we would have invested in that particular event, we are very fortunate to know that the blessings will continue to follow us.”
#The Don’t Blink Home Run Derby also attracted the Major League Baseball Association, led by its executive director Tony Clark, who met and chatted with Prime Minister Philip ‘Brave’ Davis about the future of baseball in the country with the construction of the new Andre Rodgers Baseball Stadium.
#“To have the second most powerful man in baseball in the country is just a sign of things to come,” Isaacs Jr revealed.
#In March, Fox said the majority of the Bahamian players, who participated in the Home Run Derby in December, are expected to suit up and play for Great Britain at the World Baseball Classic in March.
#He said one day the Bahamas will have its own team participating, but for now they can cheer on the players as they participate for Great Britain. Fox expressed their gratitude to the many sponsors, who assisted in “Sports in Paradise” as they continue to present the “greatest show on sand,” including the Bahamas Government, the CARIFTA LOC, Atlantis Resorts, REV TV, Chandler Bats, Bahamasair, Bahamas Waste Management, Heritage Seafood, Cancer Treatment Centers of America, A Sure Win, M&E Limited, Cuba Libra, Balso, Global Sun Integration Management, Family Medical Center, Triple A Marine, Harmony Construction, BiG Baseball Generations, Prime Shipping, Happy Healing Homecare, C3 Propane, MVP Sports Nation, Roc Nation, Pop Studios, Gatorade, National Sports Authority and Bahamas Shack Express.
#“To all of the fans, we can’t say this enough,” Fox summed up.
#“Thank you for helping bring back the greatest show on sand and for making our dreams come true.