Animal-Loving Karen And Jeff Banister Step Up To The Plate As Honorary Co-Chairs For Operation Kindness’ 25th Annual Canines, Cats And Cabernet

Alexandra Banister, Jacob Banister and Jeff and Karen Banister*

Texas Rangers General Manager Jeff Banister is a familiar name in the sports pages and on the evening news. But what some might not know is that he and his wife Karen Banister have two kids, Alexandra and Jacob, two Labradors (Bella and Scout) and two Maltese (Gracie and Cooper).  

Since the baseball season ended last month, the folks at Operation Kindness took advantage of the pooch-loving Banisters’ down time and arranged to have them serve as the honorary co-chairs for its 25th Annual Canines, Cats and Cabernet at the Omni Dallas on Saturday.

Nelda Cain Pickens (File photo)

According to Operation Kindness CEO Jim Hanophy, “Canines, Cats and Cabernet gets bigger and better every year, and we are honored to celebrate our 25th anniversary of this event with Jeff and Karen Banister. We know that with their support we will be able to knock this year’s event out of the park.”

But the Banisters aren’t the only ones cheerleading for the organization. Operation Kindness supporter Nelda Cain got involved with the no-kill shelter through her friend/OK Board Chair Kathy Kinser. As Nelda explained, “I have loved getting to know the powers that be at Operation Kindness and feel my efforts are entirely worth it. It is the oldest no-kill shelter in Dallas and serves the entire county including Fort Worth. It is also amazing what a following the organization has attracted, as the work is needed and successful.”

One of the highlights will be the furry guests of honor that have loved staying at Operation Kindness, but would love to find permanent homes.

Hoss*

Abby*

Cupcake*

Marlon*

In addition to a dinner and a live and a silent auction, there will be a raffle for a seven-night stay at an RCI Resort in the city of the winner’s choice plus a $500 Visa gift card for airfare. Chances are just $50, but are in limited supply.  

Tickets are the gala are available here.

* Photo courtesy of Operation Kindness

2016 Art Ball Auction Item #3: VIP Front Row Experience

In North Texas, not all art is confined to the AT&T Performing Arts District. There is a large number of folks who swear that Dallasites consider sports to be an art form. So, naturally 2016 Art Ball Live Auction Chair Trisha Wilson whipped up a live auction package that is strictly top-drawer sports for this Saturday’s Dallas Museum of Art fundraiser.

VIP Front Row Experience (Value: Priceless)

_MG_5714 Gene and Jerry Jones File photoEven if you don’t like sports, you’ll love making your friends envious as they see you where they only dream of being. For the Dallas Cowboys, the winner of this package will be joined by three guests in Gene and Jerry Jones’ personal box. And you just know what that means. Loads of top-notch food and beverages, pre-games festivities and appears by the Cowboys cheerleaders. And, of course, there will be exclusive access to the field, so you can wave at all of you buds in the stands.

For a Texas Rangers game, there will be box seats for 12. And instead of just taking home a program and selfies, the winner will have a Rangers shortstop Jurickson Profar autographed jersey and baseballs autographed by retired Rangers battling champ Michael Young, Rangers’ Manager Jeff Banister and retired Rangers catcher Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez.

As for the Dallas Mavs, no box seats here. No, siree. There will be four courtside seats and, of course, a lot of folks up in the stands wondering, “How come?”

The only problem with this package is that it will totally spoil you for future games. But why not spoil yourself or your favorite sports aficionado?

Compliments of Gene and Jerry Jones (Dallas Cowboys), Julie and Jim Turner (Dallas Mavericks) and Taunee Taylor (Texas Rangers)

* Graphics provided by the Dallas Museum of Art

A Passing: Rusty Rose

Rusty Rose, who was known for everything from being a successful businessman, Texas Rangers co-owner, art collector and philanthropist to being “Lela’s and Will’s dad” and “Deedie’s husband,” died last night.

Rusty Rose (File photo)

Rusty Rose (File photo)

While the University of Texas at Austin and Harvard Business School graduate was at home with business titans and U.S. Presidents, he was just as comfortable watching the birds of the sky or others shine in the spotlight.

Deedie in accepting the 84th Linz Award in April 2013 thanked her husband saying, “After 48 ½ years of marriage he still doesn’t agree with me on everything, but has supported me in everything.” It was that partnership that helped establish the Deedie and Rusty Rose Foundation, create The Pump House and was part of the group that made “unprecedented gifts of their private collections” to the Dallas Museum of Art in 2005, among so many other contributions.

Most recently Deedie and Rusty presented a $1M gift to Trinity Park in September and served as honorary co-chairs for the Perot Museum’s annual fundraiser in November.

His death leaves a void in numerous lives, projects and organizations. Hopefully, the memories of his achievements and the twinkle in his eye will continue to inspire others to carry on in his stead.

Our most heart-felt condolences go to his family, universe of friends and those who have been touched by his generosity.

Children’s Medical Center’s Tree Lighting Glowed With Derek Holland, Jody Dean, Chris Durovich And A Fella In A Red-And-White Suit

A towering tree with lights surrounded by children and their parents knows no specific religious occasion. It is a moment of happiness, bonding and appreciation. On Monday, November 30, Children’s Medical Center’s garden was ground zero for such a moment.

Children's carolers

Children’s carolers

While patients and their families surrounded the sky-high tree, other youthful patrons had to stay in their rooms. Doctor’s orders, don’t you know. But they didn’t miss out on the official lighting, thanks to the Children’s Medical Center crew. With one crew member making sure nothing blocked the camera from the carolers and Texas Rangers Derek Holland, KLUV’s Jody Dean and Children’s Health CEO Chris Durovich welcoming Santa, the rest of the TV crew was on target despite the evening’s chill.

Chris Durovich

Chris Durovich

Santa Claus

Santa Claus

Speaking of the night’s temps, there were plenty of patio heaters and each chair in the rows around the tree had a white throw for shoulders.

But there really was no need.

Derek Holland, Seth Fuller and Jody Dean

Derek Holland, Seth Fuller and Jody Dean

The event came off without a hitch with 13-year-old patient Seth Fuller pulling the switch and lighting the major Christmas tree with its multi-colored lights and all the minor league trees lit up in white. For sports-loving Seth it was Christmas coming early. Not only did he get to partner up with Derek on lighting the tree in front of his folks Cheryl Buchanan and Donald Fuller, he also just became a new uncle.

Children's Medical Center clowns

Children’s Medical Center clowns

Then the crowds headed back to the Butterfly Atrium that looked more like Santa’s wannabe party room with Children’s clowns looking like North Pole elves and stacks of Papa John’s pizzas being prepped by Children’s Health’s John McFarland for delivery to munchkins and their families.

But the event was just the kickoff of a busy week for the Children’s staffers. They still had the Annual Children’s Holiday Parade to orchestrate the following Saturday in downtown Dallas.

Michael Young And Talmage Boston Hit One Out Of The Park For Communities In Schools Dallas Region

Even if you didn’t know the difference between a home run or a runner in your stocking, you would have loved being at the Communities In Schools Dallas Region’s Line Drive Luncheon on Wednesday, November 4 at Edison’s. Part of the reason was having attorney/baseball historian Talmage Boston chat it up with former Texas Ranger great/present Texas Ranger staffer Michael Young. Here’s a report from the field:

Baseball season may be over, but Texas Rangers fans rallied at Edison’s for lunch with Mr. Ranger himself, Michael Young. Young was the guest speaker at the 2015 Line Drive Luncheon, where he appeared with moderator Talmage Boston to “talk baseball” and raise money for Communities in Schools Dallas Region, Inc. (CISDR).

Guests arrived at 11:30 for a VIP Reception in the Bentley Room, where they lined up for exclusive photo ops with Young. From there they moved into Edison’s Gatsby Room for a silent auction, raffle and an All-American Ballpark Buffet featuring Eddie Deen’s freshly grilled hot dogs and hamburgers, served with sweet potato fries, baked beans and plenty of “fixin’s.”

Anne Lindsey Hunt, Michael Young and Davin Hunt*

Anne Lindsey Hunt, Michael Young and Davin Hunt*

The program started at noon with CISDR Board Chair Karl Schmalz and President & CEO Dr. Judith Allen-Bazemore. Dr. Allen-Bazemore thanked the previous year’s Line Drive Luncheon Chairs, Pam and Philip Bush, and introduced Anne Lindsey and Davin Hunt, Co-Chairs of CISDR’s Adopt An Angel holiday giving program. After a brief video about the problems facing today’s at-risk youth, Michael Young and Talmage Boston took the stage for an informal discussion about the Texas Rangers in both the on- and off-season, as well as Young’s life as a father and his advice for kids who want to make it to the Big Leagues.

“Play other sports,” he said. “Don’t just play baseball.”

Talmage Boston and Michael Young*

Talmage Boston and Michael Young*

When asked if he played other sports as a kid, Young said that he played them all: football, basketball, etc. He encouraged the athletes of tomorrow to broaden their horizons, so that they can find out what they’re best at.

Soaking up Michael Young’s life advice were nine students from T.J. Rusk Middle School in Dallas. The students sat up front with guests from Presenting Sponsor Alon USA. At the end of the luncheon, they joined Impact Texas host “Hondo” Robertson to draw raffle winners. CISDR Board Member Lou Ann Richardson won the “Surf & Turf” dining package, and promptly donated it to the students’ chaperon, CISDR Site Coordinator Tambara Pope.

Hondo Robertson, Rusk Middle School students and Judith Allen-Bazemore*

Hondo Robertson, Rusk Middle School students and Judith Allen-Bazemore*

The 2015 Line Drive Luncheon was made possible by Alon USA, Briggs Equipment, the Lawrence B. Dale Family Foundation, Dr. Bonnie Martin & Associates, Claire and Talmage Boston, Lou Ann Richardson, Flowserve, Ernst & Young, Pam and Philip Bush, and Petty & Associates. Part of CISDR’s ongoing 30th Birthday Celebration, the Line Drive Luncheon will be followed up with the Dream Achievers Luncheon featuring Caroline Rose Hunt, taking place on Thursday, February 11, 2016, at the Dallas Arboretum.

For additional information about Communities In Schools of the Dallas Region, Inc. and its role in educational reform initiatives, please refer to the organization website at www.cisdallas.org. Visit CIS National at www.communitiesinschools.org to find other Communities In Schools locations.

About Communities In Schools of the Dallas Region

Communities In Schools of the Dallas Region, Inc. (CISDR) is a nonprofit organization that provides campus based integrated academic and social support to students deemed at-risk per Texas Educational Agency, in partnership with local school districts. Since 1985, the mission has been to surround students with a community of support and empower them to stay in school and succeed in life. The local CISDR program can be found on K–12 campuses in 12 school districts in Dallas, Collin, Ellis, Hunt and Rockwall counties.

* Photos provided by Communities In Schools Dallas Region

A Passing: Richard Rainwater

There are certain diseases that don’t achieve the prominence of cancer, heart disease and diabetes. Unfortunately, they become eye-, mouth- and brain-opening life-changing issues, when friends, families and well knowns are diagnosed.

Once of those diseases is Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP), a fatal brain disease. It’s one of the nastiest in the corral of orphan diseases. The initial symptoms are a loss of balance, bumping into objects/peoples and falls.

Well, darn it. That could apply to a toddler or most any baby boomer. The problem is that eventually the patient develops changes in personality, general slowing of movement and problems with visions. Eventually, other problems arise like poor eyelid function, inability to sleep through the night, urinary incontinence/constipation and a stiffening of the neck muscles.

Interestingly, one of the keys to diagnosing the disease lies in the hands of ophthalmologists. They take a long look at the eyes of patients and see the slightest signs that indicate much greater needs than reading glasses.

Because PSP is such a rare disease, it is often diagnosed at Parkinson’s disease “because of the slowed movements and gait difficulty, or as Alzheimer’s disease because of the behavioral changes.”

So, what is the cause of PSP? Fewer than 1% are associated with a family member.

Sunday’s death of North Texas philanthropist/incredibly successful businessman Richard Rainwater resulting from PSP only proves that this orphan disease is very open-minded. It does not discriminate between the rich and poor or the successful and the failure. Diagnosed in 2009 and despite pouring $15M into the research of PSP, Richard succumbed to the disease Sunday.

He was a buddy of Fort Worth billionaire Sid Bass and former president George W. Bush, a part of owner of the Texas Rangers and invested big time in Crescent Real Estate. Still, one can’t help but wonder if making an appointment with an ophthalmologist might have extended his life.

Suggestion: See your ophthalmologist and follow it up with a yearly visit.

To the Rainwater family and friends, we offer our condolences and only wish that this orphan disease like so many others had found its resolution a long time ago.

Ellen And Clayton Kershaw Welcome Cali Ann Kershaw To The World

Ellen and Clayton Kershaw (File photo)

Ellen and Clayton Kershaw (File photo)

It’s a girl for local hometown sweethearts and Kershaw’s Challenge founders Ellen and Clayton Kershaw. Her name is Cali Ann Kershaw and like her parents, she’s a cutie pie. Weighing in at 6 pounds, 13 ounces and measuring 20 inches long, she was born Friday, January 23, at 5:43 p.m.

Anita Hawkin’s Find One Reason To Smile Gets Kicked Off At VH Casual Dining For Women Called Moses

On the eve of his 42nd birthday, Colorado Rockies pitcher LaTroy Hawkins was with his entrepreneur/author wife Anita Hawkins and daughter Troi Hawkins at Victor Hugo’s VH Casual Dining in Oak Cliff. The occasion wasn’t an early birthday party. It was the kick-off party for Anita’s project —Find One Reason To Smile.

LaTroy Hawkins, Troi Hawkins and Anita Hawkins*

LaTroy Hawkins, Troi Hawkins and Anita Hawkins*

Founded in November, the program is “an inspiring Facebook community where uplifting messages are shared daily among the almost 800 members.”

Nicole Reusser and Victor Hugo*

Nicole Reusser and Victor Hugo*

According to Anita, “One Reason to Smile is something given to me by God, that He put on my heart to share with others,” says Hawkins. “We are bombarded by so many horrible things in the news media on a daily basis, but I know that every individual out there has at least one reason to smile, something to be grateful for, and I wanted to build a community where people could share their reasons for joy and be encouraged by others.”

When “dozens of posts” started coming in daily, she launched “an Indiegogo campaign to raise funds to compile these personal stories into a coffee table book with 100% of the proceeds going to benefit the Women Called Moses Coalition and Outreach Center.”

In addition to dining on calamari fries, sweet potato johnny cakes and shrimp and melon ceviche, guests donated funds and “visited the videographer station where they share their One Reason to Smile.”

Debra Bowles*

Debra Bowles*

Guests included Women Called Moses Executive Director Debra Bowles, Susan Norvell, Kendyl Zimmerman, Osasu Woghiren, Jerricka Kelly, Brandon McIntosh, Nicole Reusser, Tricia Washington, Kim Hanrahan, Shanan Wilkerson-Brown, Kristin Smith, MaRiya Jenkins, Esther and Patrick Hubbard, Dianna Johnson, Tyeesha Holt and Kevin Crank.

* Photos provided by
Find One Reason To 
Smile

Despite Cowboys Loss To The Cardinals, CARE Breakfast Patrons Partied On Without A Care At Natalie And Mike McGuire’s Home

Despite the Cowboys loss to the Cardinals on Sunday, November 2, the 75 guests including Paula McLeod, Brenda and Bob White, Allie Beth and Pierce Allman and CARE Co-Founder Steve Schiff at the CARE Breakfast patron party were in a great mood. But how could it be otherwise at Natalie and Mike McGuire’s wonderful Park Cities home?

Scott and Jan Osborn, Steve Schiff and Natalie and Mike McGuire

Scott and Jan Osborn, Steve Schiff and Natalie and Mike McGuire

Natalie’s dad, Barry Andrews, who hasn’t missed a Cowboys game in 20 years, admitted that loss without quarterback Tony Romo “was a tough one.”

Barry and Lana Andrews

Barry and Lana Andrews

When CARE Board Chair Jan Osborn was asked if keynote speaker retired Celtic Chris Herren would be at the party on the eve of the breakfast, she explained that he was on his way….from New York. It seems that he had run in the New York Marathon earlier in the day and was flying in. Wasn’t that calling it close? After all the breakfast started bright and early at 8 a.m. at the Omni Hotel with 600 expected to attend. With total confidence, she said he would indeed make it. But again, what if? Then Jan smiled, “Then I’ll get up there and talk.”

Husband Scott smiled, knowing darn well that Jan would handle any situation that might arise.

Speaking of husbands, Honorary Co-Chair/Los Angeles Dodger pitcher Clayton Kershaw was looking a bit overwhelmed by all the guests. Luckily, Honorary Co-Chair/wife Ellen Kershaw eased his concerns during a brief time out in the hallway.

Bob and Brenda White and Ellen and Clayton Kershaw

Bob and Brenda White and Ellen and Clayton Kershaw

Then the golden Highland Park High School sweethearts posed for photos. When asked if they had been in Africa for their projects in Zambia, Ellen smiled and said that due to circumstances, they’d had to put the trip off to 2015. That circumstance is the upcoming January birth of their first child…a daughter.

How was Clayton handling the arrival of Baby Kershaw? Ellen glowed, “He’s thrilled.”

But before that took place, the Kershaws were carrying on with business as usual, including the Kershaw’s Challenge at the Rustic later in the week. It’s been a success in Los Angeles and this would be the first for their hometown.

Dallas Historical Society Has A Touchdown With Texas Sports Legends At The Hall Of State During The Fair

Leave it to the Dallas Historical Society to set a mighty fine exhibition when the State Fair brings throngs of folks to Fair Park. Knowing how folks love sports, they are showcasing a collection of memorabilia that would set fans’ hearts fluttering — Texas Sports Legend. From championship rings and belts, a Heisman Trophy to an Olympic unitard, all types of sports and champs are right there in the Hall of State. Here’s a recap from the Tuesday, September 23rd “sneak preview:

Texas Sports Legends*

Texas Sports Legends*

“On September 23, the Dallas Historical Society’s Fellows received a sneak preview of this exhibit. Fellows are those who donate at least $1,500 to the Society. They receive exclusive invitations for exhibits and events at some of the most historically significant places in the city.

“Those in attendance included Alicia Landry, Tom Landry Jr., Norma Walker and her family, Veletta and John Lill, Margaret and Lester Keliher, Kathleen and Ban Bywaters (known for helping the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas launch its Trains exhibit).

Kathleen and Ban Bywaters*

Kathleen and Ban Bywaters*

“They viewed interesting items in the exhibit such as:

  • Tom Landry‘s Championship Rings
  • Curtis Cokes' championship belt*

    Curtis Cokes’ championship belt*

    Curtis Cokes’ Championship Belt

  • Nastia Liukin‘s World Championship Medals and Olympic Unitard
  • Roger Hornsby‘s Cardinals Uniform
  • Davey O’Brien‘s Heisman Trophy
  • Michael Johnson‘s Track Shoe
Tom  Landry Jr., Margaret Keliher, Lynn and Allan McBee*

Tom Landry Jr., Margaret Keliher, Lynn and Allan McBee*

Lynn and Allan McBee, Dallas Historical Society’s co-chairmen of the board of trustees, said, “Since it was founded in 1937 by some of Dallas’ most prominent leaders, Dallas Historical Society’s Fellows have provided one of the strongest funding sources, public endorsement and valuable special events’ financial resources for the Dallas Historical Society. For those interested in seeing historically significant exhibits, such as the Texas Sports Legends, we encourage you to join the Fellows. We also have a series of programs and events especially for this membership group.”

“Those interested in joining can go online at Dallas Historical Society.

“’Whether they grew up here or became a member of a Texas-based team later in life, there are many legends to be honored who have contributed to Texas athletics,’ said State Fair of Texas President Mitchell Glieber. ‘We know that we cannot honor them all, but we thank the Texas Sports Hall of Fame for loaning us a selection of sports memorabilia for fairgoers to enjoy during this year’s Fair, themed “Deep in the Heart of Texans.”’

“A selection of the inductees from the Texas Sports Hall of Fame who will be highlighted in this exhibit include: auto racing legends – A.J. Foyt and Johnny Rutherford; baseball legends – Roger Clemens and Nolan Ryan; basketball legends – Rolando Blackman and Clyde Drexler; boxing legend – George Foreman; football legends – Joe Green, Tom Landry, and Doak Walker; golf legends – Ben Crenshaw and Lee Trevino; hockey legend – Mike Modano; rodeo legend – Don Gay; soccer legends – Mia Hamm and Kyle Rote Jr.; swimming legend – Eddie Reese; tennis legend – Zina Garrison; and track and field legends – Carl Lewis and Michael Johnson.”

The exhibition will be on display until Sunday, October 19 (aka the last day of the State Fair).

Photo credit: Steve Foxall

Dallas Children’s Theater’s “Knights And Princesses Dream Ball” Had A “Young” Co-Chair Help Exceed The Evening’s Goal

Inside the dimly lit theater at the Rosewood Center for Family Arts, children as well as adults dressed up as “knights” and “princesses” were scurrying around the room, laughing and chatting and waving swords around and having their photos taken onstage. Even Dallas Children’s Theater Executive Artistic Director Robyn Flatt and DTC board member Yvonne Crum had donned royal outfits. The occasion was the Dallas Theater Center’s Knights and Princesses Dream Ball, a fundraiser held in conjunction with the DTC’s current production, “Rapunzel! Rapunzel! A Very Hairy Fairy Tale“.

In addition to the photo opps, the unique, fairy-tale-themed fundraiser featured a “Royal Feast,” and then a dance (to Disney-type music) spun by DJ Sir Seth. About 160 adults and kids turned out for the event, which was the first of its kind and intended to raise money for the DTC’s “sensory-friendly shows” for children with developmental disabilities. Under Chair Karen Travis, and with former Texas Ranger Michael Young and his family serving as honorary chairs, the fundraiser exceeded its $25,000 goal. As a result, the DTC says it will be able to produce three more sensory-friendly shows in 2015. The October 11 performance of “Rapunzel!”, by the way, will be the DTC’s last sensory-friendly performance of this calendar year.

Kershaw’s Challenge’s Dallas Deets Revealed For November 6 “Live Benefit Concert”

In this time when sports lovers shudder at new “problems” for professional athletes, it’s nice to know that Dallas has produced one whose only problem is that there’s just not enough of him to go around. The chap is former Parkie/present L.A. Dodger pitcher Clayton Kershaw.

Jan Osborn, Ellen and Clayton Kershaw, Sarah Oliai and JoAnn Ryan (File photo)

Jan Osborn, Ellen and Clayton Kershaw, Sarah Oliai and JoAnn Ryan (File photo)

He and his high school sweetheart/wife Ellen must have been made by Mattel. They’re just too good to be true. In addition to being professional baseball darlings, they established Kershaw’s Challenge in 2010 to help “impoverished children.”

Since then the twosome have had a very hands-on involvement working with organizations and pulled together more than $900,000 for programs.

For the past three years, they’ve held fundraising events in Los Angeles. Well, shoot! That’s where Clayton works. But now it’s time to raise fun as well as funds in the Kershaws’ hometown.

As reported earlier, they’re gonna have a party and not just any old party — LIVE Benefit Concert! It will take place at The Rustic on Thursday, November 6, and will benefit Dallas’ Mercy Street’s effort to build a Little League “Field of Dreams,” as well as CURE International and Arise Africa.

Mercy Street welcome committee (File photo)

Mercy Street welcome committee (File photo)

Oh, you want to know who will be on stage. Emerald Blue will be the opening act and Clay Walker will be the main act.

General admission tickets will be going for $60, but you might want to check the VIP ones because there will be a VIP reception and you just know the Kershaws will be easier to congratulate there.

After you get your ticket, reward yourself by shopping for something casual and adorable.

For ticket info and sponsorship opportunities, you’ll need to sweet talk Anna Staples.

Texas Trailblazer Awardee Harold C. Simmons Is Honored With Joe Torre Going To Bat For The Family Place

The Texas Trailblazer Award Luncheon VIP reception in the Anatole’s Carpenter Ballroom was filled with those who love baseball and hate abuse. While featured speaker Joe Torre stood his ground with a big smile posing for photos with guests, others had a cup of coffee and a chat to catch up before the luncheon benefiting The Family Place. One of the big topics was Saturday September 27.

Annette Simmons, Amy Simmons and Joe Crafton

Annette Simmons, Amy Simmons and Joe Crafton

Pegasus Ball Honorary Chair Yvonne Crum was talking about the Autism Treatment Centers of Texas fundraiser taking place at the Fairmont, while Mission Ole Co-Chair LeeAnne Locken was promoting the Trinity River Mission funder that will be underway at the same time at One Arts Plaza…Carolyn Tillery, who departed Beverly Drive before it departed newsstands, has been busy writing a book. She was a happy camper about some recent news and has already started working on her second one…WFAA’s Dale Hansen briefly appeared and quickly disappeared…On the other hand, Annette Simmons and Amy Simmons stayed for the entire reception with Joe Crafton…Foodies Bo Pilgrim and Connie Yates were catching up.

Bo Pilgrim and Connie Yates

Bo Pilgrim and Connie Yates

At 11:25 the reception broke up and the herd of guests headed to the Imperial Ballroom on the third level. For many it was their first time to venture into the former Khmer Ballroom that had spent the summer getting a new look. Like a socialite with a recent “well-done refreshening,” the difference was pleasantly noticeable. First thing was the smell of new in the air. It was as if the carpenters, painters and other craftsmen had just left the place. The hallway leading to the ballroom was a bit on the dramatic side with new carpeting and lighting that spotlighted the art along the way. The reception area and ballroom were basically the same space, but the new paint, carpeting and lighting had turned the old girl into a more polished lady.

In the back of the room near the production platform, emcee Gloria Campos was being fitted with her mic. Her hair is a bit longer and she’s loving “retirement.” Her version of retiring is another person’s idea of a second career.

Lana and Barry Andrews

Lana and Barry Andrews

As she headed to her place up front, the nearly 1,000 guests kept arriving. Michal Powell on crutches arrived with Aileen PrattMary Brinegar was keeping her fingers crossed that the weather would hold out for the Rory Meyer’s First Anniversary dinner scheduled the following Sunday…At front row tables were Kelli Ford, Sydney Huffines, Lana and Barry Andrews and Sharon McCutchin…Co-Chairs Stephanie and Travis Hollman, Carol Seay and Stephanie Seay were receiving congratulations for the record-busting luncheon.

Travis and Stephanie Hollman

Travis and Stephanie Hollman

Stephanie Seay

Stephanie Seay

At 11:42, the Booker T. Washington Jazz Combo 1 played “Proud To Be An American” with the female singer not quite sounding like Lee Greenwood. Hey, it’s not an easy song to sing, but the meaning is easy to understand. You just try singing it in front of 900 strangers.

Almost immediately the program was underway with Gloria welcoming the group. She also accidentally described Dale as “a domestic violence advocate.” Hey, it’s easy to do. No, he doesn’t advocate domestic violence, but “an advocate against domestic violence” sounds pretty convoluted. Anyhow, everybody in the room understood what she meant and many got a chuckle out of it.

Before he led the group in the invocation, Fellowship Pastor Gary Brandenburg reminded the guests that the late Harold Simmons, who was being honored at the luncheon, always ended his prayers by saying “…and, Lord, let us never forget how very blessed we are.”

Lunch was served with the menu “inspired by Harold.” Later Dale Hansen would tell the group how he got into it with his table’s server — “I’m gonna need another plate.” But she wouldn’t give it to him. So, he confessed, “I’ll look for a McDonald’s on the way out.”

Paige Fink and Carol Seay

Paige Fink and Carol Seay

As a surprise, The Family Place’s Paige Flink announced the presentation of a video on Harold would be shown. The touching tribute with scenes from his childhood, with family and even walking with his dogs emphasized Harold’s being “loyal, faithful and loving.”

Following the video, Paige revealed another surprise. The Family Place’s child development center at its Safe Campus was being renamed the Harold C. Simmons Child Development Center.

She also acknowledged those present who had been instrumental in helping combat family violence, including the late Dr. Ron Anderson, whose memorial service would take place later in the day.

Then baseball-loving Gloria introduced Joe, reminding the group that he had just been inducted into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame. Then she attempted to introduce Dale by calling him “the other big white guy in my life” in reference to the first one, her husband. But before she could finish with Dale’s intro, he walked on stage, grabbed her by the shoulders and said, “Okay, that’s all.”

Dale being Dale described Mayor Mike Rawlings and his domestic violence initiatives: “I think Mayor Rawlings is one helluva visionary and one helluva mayor of Dallas. I can’t say that, though!”

He then reeled out the ugly statistics compiled by the Dallas Police Department on the number of domestic violence calls received each year — 13K! Looking out at the audience, Dale stated: “Real men, gentlemen, don’t hit women.”

Dale Hansen and Joe Torre

Dale Hansen and Joe Torre

Then the conversation between the sports anchor and the baseball legend commenced. It surprised a couple or three folks, who had thought it would cover Joe’s career, as well as his childhood in a family in which his father abused his mother.

Instead the focus stayed pretty straight on domestic violence and on Joe’s taking up the cause against it. Dale told how Joe had been instrumental in getting the Violence Against Women Act passed in 1994, and established the Safe at Home Foundation.

It all stemmed from his childhood. Joe was the youngest of five children. “My dad was a bully. He made his wife feel inferior.” His father threw his mother down the stairs when he discovered she was pregnant with Joe.

Dale Hansen and Joe Torre

Dale Hansen and Joe Torre

“I was a nervous kid” growing up, with a lack of confidence, because of his father’s violence, Joe said. When Joe saw his father’s car parked at home, Joe went elsewhere. Dale and Joe agreed that the “impact on children has been lost in conversation about domestic violence.”

Joe said, “If you save one child, that’s worth the effort.”

Joe said one of the biggest problems in the crusade against domestic abuse is lack of “awareness.” While the problem needs to be brought to the forefront, he also felt half the stories one sees in the media aren’t true, because of pressures of the Internet. Anybody can make accusations about anything, Joe said. They need to be thoroughly checked out.

Joe Torre

Joe Torre

When the subject of the recent NFL issues with domestic violence was brought up, Joe said, “We can all do more. Mixed message: go be violent on the field on Sunday, and then go on a date.”

But it wasn’t all domestic violence. Touching on baseball, Joe admitted, “I became smarter when I had better players.” He recalled being fired by three teams. Regarding his work with New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, he related advice provided by friend Joe Garagiola: “You take somebody’s money, you gotta take their crap, too.”

About the Texas Rangers, Joe said, “They can’t come any closer [to a world championship] than they did.” Just before Game 7 of the 2011 World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals, Joe told Ron Washington, “I’m pulling for you, because I pull for good people.” Joe then added, “Ron seemed to care about the players.”

And, of course, humor found its way into the discussion when Joe reported that male brains don’t fully develop until they’re 25. Dale followed up with, “Or 66.”

Despite The Death Of His Brother, Joe Torre Made It To The Texas Trailblazer Award Patron Party To Support The Family Place

Joe Torre

Joe Torre

Despite the death of his big brother, Frank, the previous Saturday, and the funeral Monday, Joe Torre was on hand to meet and greet the Texas Trailblazer Awards Luncheon patrons on Tuesday, September 16.

Benefiting The Family Place, the cause was one that was very near and dear to both Joe and Frank  — domestic abuse.

The Terrace Ballroom at Le Méridien Dallas, The Stoneleigh was jammed with folks. So much so, that if you didn’t know your baseball, you would have sworn that Joe was just another guest. He melted into the crowd that included Amy Simmons, Lee Ann and Alan White, Brill Garrett, Jill Smith, Marnie and Kern Wildenthal, Maggie Kipp, Amanda Ward, Dawn Spalding and Ramona Jones.

Faye Briggs

Faye Briggs

Diminutive philanthropist Faye Briggs taking time out from preparationfs for Saturday’s celebration of her daughter Pebble McKenzie‘s marriage to Mike McGehee. The wedding was a family affair literally. Mike is Ralph Gorman‘s nephew. In turn, Ralph is Faye’s longtime “boyfriend.” You may need a chart to figure out the relationships.

Back to the patron party.

Luncheon organizers were whispering that the Wednesday luncheon was going to be a record breaker for the annual event “honoring those who create significant positive change in our North Texas community.”

Annette Simmons and Carol Seay

Annette Simmons and Carol Seay

This year’s event honoring the legacy of the late Harold C.  Simmons was a first for two reason: First, it was the first time that a man had been named a Texas Trailblazer. Second, it was the first time it was being given to someone posthumously.

Stephanie Seay and Stephanie and Travis Hollman

Stephanie Seay and Stephanie and Travis Hollman

After The Family Place’s Paige Flink welcomed the crowd and recognized key people like Harold’s widow Annette Simmons and daughter Amy, Mayor Mike Rawlings and Luncheon Co-Chairs Stephanie and Travis Hollman, Carol Seay and her daughter-in-law Stephanie Seay, the guests lined up to have their photos taken with Joe.

Texas TrailBlazer Award Luncheon’s Joe Torre Has Just Lost The Man Who Taught Him To Stand Up Against Domestic Abuse

Joe Torre‘s big brother Frank Torre played a very big part in Joe’s childhood. It was Frank who kicked their abusive father out of the household. As Joe tells it,

“Although I did not get phys­i­cally abused myself, I grew up in fear because my mom did. I was shy and dad would make fun of me. When­ever I saw his car in the dri­ve­way, I didn’t want to go home. One win­ter, when I was 12, my older brother Frank (20) said to my father, ‘We want you out of the house. We don’t want any­thing other than the house we live in. We don’t want any­thing from you. Just leave.’ And he left.”

Frank also mentored Joe on his professional baseball career.

Despite Frank’s death this past Saturday, Joe will carry on his big brother’s leadership and inspiration in battling abuse when he will be the keynote speaker at Wednesday’s Texas Trailblazer Luncheon  at the Anatole benefiting The Family Place.

MySweetCharity Opportunity: CARE Breakfast

According to the CARE Annual Breakfast Chair Shirley Cohn,

Shirley Cohn*

Shirley Cohn*

“The annual CARE Breakfast is crucial to supporting the mission of CARE and its programs that serve those within our community suffering from drug and alcohol dependencies.

“We are thrilled to have Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher, Clayton Kershaw, and his wife, Ellen, as honorary co-chairs, and former Boston Celtic’s basketball player, Chris Herren, as the featured speaker at the breakfast. Herren, who struggled with substance abuse for much of his basketball career, has been alcohol and drug-free since August 1, 2008. He has shared his harrowing story of abuse and recoveryin his memoir, Basketball Junkie, as well as in numerous interviews throughout the Emmy-nominated ESPN Films documentary Unguarded. Herren will continue to share his story at the CARE Breakfast in hopes of reaching just one person and making a difference in his or her life.

Chris Herren*

Chris Herren*

CARE (Chemical Awareness, Resources & Education) was established in 1984 as a response to the increasing problems related to drugs and alcohol. CARE is a valuable community organization that funds education classes for families struggling with substance abuse and provides speakers for students, parents and educators throughout the greater Dallas area. Guests are invited to enjoy breakfast while supporting CARE and the crucial assistance they provide for individuals and families who struggle with the challenging repercussions of substance abuse.

Pam Blankenship*

Pam Blankenship*

“CARE Executive Director, Pam Blankenship, adds, ‘We are honored to have Chris share his powerful story and bring awareness to the work CARE is doing in Dallas and Collin County to help those struggling with addiction. The Kershaws are true advocates, and their dedication to helping others is extremely inspirational. This is going to be a truly special 30th anniversary breakfast.’

“The breakfast will be held Monday, November 3, 2014 at 8:00 a.m. at the Omni Hotel. Individual tickets for the breakfast are $150 each and sponsorship opportunities begin at $600. For tickets or sponsor information, please contact the CARE office at 214.526.8986 or email [email protected]. Space is limited and reservations are required.

“We hope you will grab your sports-loving family and friends, and join us for this special morning!”

* Photos provided by CARE

Kershaw’s Challenge Sets Date For Fundraising Concert

Ellen and Clayton Kershaw (File photo)

Ellen and Clayton Kershaw (File photo)

Dallas’ own sweetheart Clayton Kershaw will be on Jimmy Kimmel tonight. It airs at 10:35 p.m. on WFAA after the 10 o’clock newscast.

But that’s not the really big news. That involves Kershaw’s Challenge. He and his equally adorable wife Ellen will host their inaugural fundraising concert in Dallas on Thursday, November 6.

More deets will follow as they are finalized. In the meantime, watch the baseball wunderkind tonight.

Laura And George W. Bush To Serve As Distinguished Chairs For 14th Annual Texas Trailblazer Luncheon

And the big, boldface names just keep coming in for The Family Place’s 14th Annual Texas Trailblazer Luncheon. Co-Chairs Stephanie and Travis Hollman, Carol Seay and Stephanie Seay just reported that former first couple Laura and George W. Bush have signed on as the “Distinguished Chairs” for the Wednesday, September 17th fundraiser at the Anatole.

George and Laura Bush (File photo)

George and Laura Bush (File photo)

But then what would you expect when the event is honoring the legacy of the late Harold Simmons?

Joe Torre*

Joe Torre*

As for Joe Torre, who will be headline “speaker”. . . okay, he’s not going to be at a podium giving a lecture. He’s gonna being interviewed by none other than WFAA’s Dale Hansen.

Well, back to Joe. In a Sunday interview with Larry King, he revealed how the domestic abuse he witnessed as a child affected his professional life:

“I probably didn’t enjoy my playing career as much as I really should have because if I didn’t get any hits I would really torture myself thinking I let everybody down. And of course if I did hit, I felt like I was worthy…It wasn’t until I went through a symposium which told me that all the abuse that was going on at my home was contributing to these feelings of insignificance and insecurity and nervousness.”

The former baseball legend’s being inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame this Sunday adding to the “Wow!” factor of his presence come September.

* Photo provided by The Family Place

Baseball Royals Michael Young And Cristina Barbosa To Co-Chair Dallas Children’s Theater’s Knights And Princesses Dream Ball

Former Texas Ranger Michael Young and his wife Cristina Barbosa will be part of royalty on Saturday, September 20. But instead of Buckingham Palace with Kate, William, Harry and George, it will be the Dallas Children’s Theater for its Knights and Princesses Dream Ball.

Mateo, Michael, Antonio, Cristina and Emilio Young*

Mateo, Michael, Antonio, Cristina and Emilio Young*

Cristina and Michael will serve as honorary co-chairs, along with their children Mateo, Emilio and Antonio.

Cristina said, “Our family is pleased to serve as honorary chairs of the Knights and Princesses Dream Ball at Dallas Children’s Theater. Having seen firsthand the benefits that theater has provided our own children, we are excited to be a part of raising funds for adapted performances for children with special needs. After all, every child deserves great live theater! We hope everyone will join us in bringing in the magic of live theater to all children.”

This year the DCT “presented its first sensory-friendly production for children with special needs.” What does that mean? The DCT reduced sound levels, eliminated flashing lights and kept the overall house lights up a few levels higher than normal “to provide a more comfortable experience for the families.” The DCT staff didn’t just come up with these adaptions on their own. They received the recommendations from Autism Speaks, the Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities at UT Southwestern, University of North Texas Department of Speech and Hearings Sciences and Health Science Center and the Autism Center, Children’s Medical Center and the Dallas Museum of Art.”

The ball will follow a 4:30 p.m. performance of “Rapunzel! Rapunzel! A Very Hairy Fairy Tale”. Tickets for the ball are $50 per person. Proceeds from the event will benefit adapted performances for children with special needs.

Tiaras and scepters will be the accessories du jour.

* Photo courtesy of Michael Young and Cristina Barbosa

Dodger Pitcher Clayton Kershaw Makes $215M News Two Weeks Before Attending Voice Of Hope Dinner With Fellow Good Guys

Ellen and Clayton Kershaw*

Ellen and Clayton Kershaw*

It’s a bit amusing when California folks take note of our hometown talent. Hey, Hollywood and the sky above aren’t the only places where there are stars.

That’s what happened  Wednesday night. It made the network news. It set the sports analysts spinning all types of opinions. Was Highland Park wunderkind Clayton Kershaw really worth $215M to the LA Dodgers? Heck, no! Not if they were looking for Alex Rodriquez headlines.

But if they were looking for a killer pitch and a 25-year-old with a squeaky clean image, then they hit a home run in signing him up to a record-breaking contract.

Sure, this Cy Young Awardee’s a sweetheart. He’s helped to build the Arise Home in Zambia and is happily married to his hometown honey Ellen. Last night Connecting Point of Park Cities Chair Jan Osborn and her fundraising buddy Robin Bagwell told how last Saturday at the CPPC luncheon, Ellen revealed that when Clayton visits the children in Africa, they have no idea of his baseball acclaim. They just think he’s a great guy.

Roger Staubach (File photo)

Roger Staubach (File photo)

Well, this great guy will be with some other pretty stellar stars like Roger Staubach, Mike Rawlings, Ron Washington and Dr. Joseph “Skip” Ryan for the Voice of Hope dinner on Thursday, January 30, at Belo Mansion.

Oh, what’s that on the back row? Clayton is too good to be true. Alas, you’ve been taking you’re nattering nabob pills again. From all reports, Clayton is the genuine thing and worth every penny of the $215M, both professionally and personally. If you want to check him out and the rest of the voices of hope, you can get your ticket here and/or you can register to win an autographed Kershaw jersey.

* Photo courtesy of Connecting Point of Park Cities

Ellen And Clayton Kershaw Hit One Out Of The Park Saturday For Connecting Point Of Park Cities Inaugural Luncheon

Got this field report in about Saturday’s Connecting Point of Park Cities’ first-ever luncheon featuring Ellen and Clayton Kershaw:

“On Saturday, January 11, 2014, Connecting Point of Park Cities (CPPC) held its Inaugural Luncheon at the Belo Mansion. Approximately 460 guests attended to raise crucial funds to help open doors for CPPC, which plans to provide an all-inclusive, nurturing and stimulating day program for individuals with disabilities. The day began with a VIP reception for top sponsors including a meet-and-greet and photo opp with featured guests, Ellen and Clayton Kershaw, as well as a private book signing of the couple’s book “Arise,” which was on sale at the event. Clayton, a graduate of Highland Park High School, is the pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers. He is a two-time Cy Young Award and a Roberto Clemente Award recipient, making him one of the most accomplished pitchers in the league.

Scott Murray, Clayton and Ellen Kershaw*

Scott Murray, Clayton and Ellen Kershaw*

“During the luncheon, the Kershaws took the stage alongside Emcee Scott Murray for a touching 40-minute conversation. The conversation primarily focused on their charity work and provided insight into their charity, Kershaw’s Challenge, which positively impacts communities in need. The audience also watched two short, yet moving videos about Connecting Point of Park Cities and the Kershaw’s work in Africa. The pair went on to mention that Connecting Point of Park Cities is so important to them because it is in their hometown, and they get to help those who cannot help themselves. Their enthusiasm and passion for giving back to their hometown community was evident to all. Murray mentioned during the conversation how impressed he was with the Kershaw’s commitment to helping others, their immense success at such a young age, and their ability to stay humble. Clayton emphasized that the legacy you leave off the field is of the utmost importance to him and can leave a lasting impact on people’s lives.

Clayton Kershaw and members of the Highland Park High School baseball team

Clayton Kershaw and members of the Highland Park High School baseball team*

“Following the conversation, a live auction for an autographed LA Dodgers jersey took place, and Murray announced the raffle prize winners. Members of the Highland Park Baseball team were in attendance and helped sell raffle tickets during the event.

"Arise"

“Arise”*

“Each table was decorated with Cracker Jack boxes and a Nothing Bundt Cake centerpiece. The centerpieces were available for purchase, as well as an autographed copy of Ellen and Clayton’s book ‘Arise.’ Attendees were served a baseball-themed meal, complete with a hotdog, brisket sandwich, baked beans and a pickle.

Jan Osborn, Ellen and Clayton Kershaw, Sarah Oliai and JoAnn Ryan

Jan Osborn, Ellen and Clayton Kershaw, Sarah Oliai and JoAnn Ryan*

“Overall, the first-time event was a tremendous success and brought in $125,000. The luncheon chair was Jan Osborn and the luncheon co-chairs were Dr. Janie Hamner and Nancy Himes. Guests in attendance included: Steve and Gail Reinemund, John and Mary Lou Ryan, JoAnn and John Ryan, Sarah Oliai, Gina and Ken Betts, Robin Bagwell, Leslie and Jim Melson, Jana and Larry Long, Emily and David Corrigan, Karen and John Bouterse, and Christi and Dr. Hal Urschel. Connecting Point of Park Cities fund raising continues, as they still need $70,000 for a wheel chair accessible bus.

“For more information about Connecting Point of Park Cities, please visit http://mycppc.org/. Help CPPC reach their next goal by donating, head to http://mycppc.org/donate/.”

* Photos provided by Connecting Points of Park Cities

Celebrity Baseball Players Burned Up The Diamond For The Dirk Nowitzki Foundation And Heroes Foundation

If the Friday night patrons party at Club 41 was hot, the Saturday evening game at Dr Pepper Ballpark was scorching. Sizzle, sizzle, sizzle. Still, the draw of the All-star lineup and a little hardball helped loyal fans and friends turn out one of the biggest crowds ever for the annual Heroes Celebrity Baseball Game benefiting Dirk Nowitzki’s Foundation and Heroes Foundation.

But before the Blue Sox and White Sox started batting and the on-filed antics were underway, a press conference was held, with Blue Sox manager Goose Gossage leading the VIP’s way. Blue Sox Coach/WFAA sports expert Joe Trahan thanked everybody for coming and reported that more than $2.9M had been raised to help improve the lives of Dallas kids.

Somebody in the peanut gallery wiped his brow, saying, “It’s gotta be 130 (degrees)!” Actually, Frisco was going through a cool spell from the day before when the thermometer hit 102. On Saturday (June 29) it only hit 96.

But White Sox player Dirk, being ever the appreciative host, thanked everyone for “coming out in this heat today.”

On the other hand, these guys knew that a little smack had to go down, and managers Goose and White Sox manager/MLB outfielder and designated hitter David Justice were more than accommodating.

Goose didn’t hold back. The former New York Yankees and San Diego Padres relief pitcher threw down the gauntlet.

Goose: “We are going to win. Nowitzki’s going down!”

David: “Usually the manager who talks the most junk loses the game. . . Excuse me, Goose, you’re a closer.”

Goose: “I saw Michael Finley at second base yesterday.” [Everybody oohed and aahed at Goose’s trash-talking Finley’s lack of prowess.]

David: “You know, Goose is getting up in age. He didn’t have his glasses on.”

Luckily, the two managers ended up entertaining the troop of press instead of winding up in fisticuffs.

Charlie McKinney, who founded the program 12 years ago, managed to bring the conversation around to the real purpose of having professional athletes, celebrities (Nick Jonas and Geoff Stults) and local boldfacers (Jeff Staubach and Kirby Schlegel) all benefiting the two charities. He reported that tickets sales were among the highest in the event’s history.

Dirk Nowitzki

Dirk Nowitzki

Dirk admitted that the type of sport being played didn’t matter. What was important was the cause. “We could have gone ice-curling,” he said.

“I was happy to get involved,” Dirk added. “Even though my baseball skills are more than suspect. . . Let’s go play some horrible baseball!”

Eventually the players found their way to the field with their teams to warm up and sign autographs. It was easy to spot the tall German basketball player. Not only was he the tallest, he had the greatest number clamoring for his signature and photos. At one point, he donned a huge glimmering replica of his NBA Championship ring. It would have been right at home at the night-before party with all the dazzling disco balls.

Even before the teams were announced, the stands in the sunlight were looking pretty well done. On the other hand, those smart folks who had seats in the shade of the suites appeared to be adjusting to the heat of the day more comfortably.

Daisy

Daisy

Deuce

Deuce

But as hot as it may have been for those baking in the stands, the most painful victims of the heat were the humans inside the mascot costumes of Daisy and Deuce on the field. Still, they bounced around and appeared to be the happiest souls in North Texas.

Mark Cuban

Mark Cuban

As the teams were announced, Mark Cuban stole the show without saying a word. It was his uniform. On the back of it, in place of a player number, was a bigger than life, glittering “$”.

Another highlight of visuals among the players was Blue Sox Nick Jonas, whose relatively new tattoo, “Mercy,” was clearly visible.

Nick Jonas

Nick Jonas

Nick Jonas tattoo

Nick Jonas tattoo

During an on—the-field interview, Dirk reported, “My plan today is to get at least to second base.”

Parachutist

Parachutist

After parachutists flew in the U.S. flag and the national anthem was sung, the game started.

When the White Sox failed to score in the top of the first inning, Dirk was up first for his team in the bottom half of the inning. He rolled a single through the right side and ran backward half-way to first base. There was another hit and then Brian Cardinal batted. He hit a grounder that was muffed by the shortstop, who overthrew first, and Dirk scored!

There were more hits. Suddenly it was 3-0 in favor of the Blue Sox. Cuban came up, hit a pop fly out to third baseman. Nick Jonas hit a ball to right field that was dropped. Now Wedding Crashers and 7th Heaven actor Geoff Stults hit a double to left field and it was 5-0. But Michael Finley hit a grounder to third, and Nick Jonas was thrown out at the plate.

In the White Sox second inning, J.J. Berea singled to left. But that was all, and it was still 5-0 after 1.5 innings. The Blue Sox batted. They scored several more runs. Dirk got another hit. At end of inning it was now 9-0!

The White Sox team was back up and finally scored a run, resulting in a 9-1 score after 2.5 innings.

Bottom of third, Blue Sox up, Cuban struck out; Joe Trahan was thrown out at first and put up a big argument with the umpire. It might have been for entertainment value. He finally walked off field. At the end of third inning, it was still 9-1.

Whoa! This isn’t a sports blog. Let’s cut to the chase. Believe it or not, despite the lousy start, the Blue Sox team came roaring back big-time and actually beat the White Sox by a score of 19-9.

But like Dirk suggested, the game wasn’t the point. It was the fundraising, and both teams won!

The Great Sports Partied Up At Club 41 On The Eve Of Dirk Nowitzki’s Heroes Celebrity Baseball Game

It was the big old secret of the summer. Organizers were prepared to go to Guantanamo before leaking the pop-up location of the VIP party on Friday, June 28, on the eve of Dirk Nowitzki’s Heroes Celebrity Baseball Game. Like a speakeasy at the height of Prohibition, only special folks were provided an address for the one-night-only “Club 41.” But even if the word escaped, entrance was forboden unless you had a cherished pass and your name was on “the list.”

Screen dancers

Screen dancers

But even before that could take place, bouncers as tall as a Mavericks’ eye were on hand to guarantee only the privileged made it in the hallway check-in with a wall of bright colored panels showcasing silhouettes of dancers.

David Trowbridge and Stephanie Wilcox

David Trowbridge and Stephanie Wilcox

Even then, your wristband sealed your fate in the club. The hoi polloi enjoyed the good life on the ground level, including a dazzling white-tiled dance floor that was occasionally cloaked in fog. Overhead were 17 discos balls slowly spinning in place around the mother of all disco balls. They took on a rainbow of colors when the disco LED wall and laser show ramped up to meet the beat of the music. At different locations on the edge of the dance floor were towering mini-stages with dancers just beyond reach in one-piece costumes, chains, heels and fishnet stockings.

But like the Greek gods of old, the XXX VIP’s had their places above the fray in a modern-day version of Mount Olympus. Instead of Titans guarding the lounge of the gods, there were even more bouncers. If you had the right wristband, you may have scored a smile as they allowed your entry. If not, a stern shake of the head and upheld hand stopped even some of Dallas’ most boldface types.

David Justice, Rebecca Villalobos and Goose Gossage

David Justice, Rebecca Villalobos and Goose Gossage

This modern day version of Olympus had seating arrangements with ice buckets with Piper-Heidsieck champagne and Remy Martin Cognac on coffee tables, a bar in the back and waiters with trays of food. Heroes White Sox coach Goose Gossage hunkered down with Heroes Blue Sox coach David Justice and his wife Rebecca Villalobos watching the millennials schmoozing and dancing below. Toward the back of the room, former Playboy Cyber Girl of the Month Meghan Allen was talking with Brittany Kumm and Brendan McMahon. J.J. Barea was taking photos with his phones.

Meghan Allen, Brittany Kumm and Brendan McMahon

Meghan Allen, Brittany Kumm and Brendan McMahon

J.J. Barea

J.J. Barea

Newly engaged Allison Micheletti and Mike Modano were as giddy as a winning quarterback and homecoming queen revealing that they plan to wed in Dallas come September. Mike, who had been with the baseball fundraiser for the past 10 years, was going to be MIA for the baseball game because he had to be in New York with the Stars for the NHL draft, “representing the team, making our picks and so on.”

Mike Modano and Allison Micheletti

Mike Modano and Allison Micheletti

Heroes Baseball Founder Charlie McKinney explained that when Modano no longer wanted to be head man of the game, Charlie knew he needed either Tony Romo or Dirk to take it over. With 7,000 expected for the Saturday game, they had added an online auction, including a dinner with Dirk, with a goal for the year of $200,000 to be split between Dirk’s foundation and the Heroes Foundation.

Dirk Nowitzki and Casey Alexander

Dirk Nowitzki and Casey Alexander

In the back of the room, Dirk was showing photos on his phone to Charlie’s assistant Casey Alexander and talking about the old days, when Casey was a friend of Dirk’s sister in Germany. Earlier in the day he had been working on his batting during “training camp” at Dr Pepper Ballpark. Last year he got two singles, but his goal was to score this year.

And like the mythological legends, these gods of sports didn’t stay put in their lofty confines. The moving-and-shaking seemed to be happening on the ground level with such types as Nick Lachey and Justin Whitman making their way through the jam, the dance floor being filled with professionals and should-be’s (Robin and David Trowbridge, Stephanie and Ryan Wilcox, Molly Bonner and Alyson Griffith) and watching/talking on the sideline Stacy and Kris Kristynik, Beth and David Thames and Tricia Ward and Jon Clark.

Travelocity gnome and Jonathan Rogers

Travelocity gnome and Jonathan Rogers

The face that received the most second looks was the Travelocity gnome and his escort, Jonathan Rogers. Seems the twosome have literally traveled the world to such events as the NFL draft, NBA finals and Coachella music festival. Want proof? They’ve been photographed with Charles Barkley, Simon Cowell and Kevin Bacon.

Mark Cuban

Mark Cuban

Leader of the pack was Mark Cuban in a “You Are Uniqe” (sic) T-shirt and well-worn jeans. When asked about Ron Kirk’s revealing that Cuban had called Kirk at home on the night of 9/11 and quietly donated $1M for the widows of all those first responders, Mark added, “Nine out of 10, I say, I’ll give if you don’t give my name. . . That was a long time ago!”  Regarding the T-shirt, Cuban explained, “Somebody gave it to me and I thought it would be fun to wear.”

Lara Beth Seager

Lara Beth Seager

As for his playing Saturday, Mark admitted, “I don’t know. I was out there at batting practice today. I’ll see. Oh, I hit the ball. But that’s not the point. The point is whether I can stand up in the morning.”

About the location? It turned out to be Wendy Krispin’s new 129 Leslie event venue in the Dallas Design District, but even Wendy admitted that it had been transformed thanks to event producer Lara Beth Seager. Looking around the place as the 300 guests arrived, Wendy said that three days before all had been white and totally different. The question had to be asked — “Was the major transformation by Seager a pain?” Without hesitation, Wendy emphasized au contraire, adding that Seager was one of the best that she had worked with. No stress, no strain, no problemos. Just a delightful experience.

For more photos from the party, check out the MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

Very Special Celebration For Carson Leslie’s 21st Birthday Saturday With The Rangers And The Astros

This Saturday a whole bunch of folks are going to be at the Ballpark in Arlington to watch the Rangers play the Astros and celebrate Carson Leslie’s 21st birthday. In that crowd will be 15 teenagers who have been valiantly fighting cancer at Children’s Medical Center of Dallas.

But on this day, they’ll be treated like the VIP’s they are, complete with a party limo bus to and from the game, air-conditioned suites with loads of food and beverages and goodie bags from the Texas Rangers.

"Carry Me" by Carson Leslie*

“Carry Me” by Carson Leslie*

And it’s only right that the celebration should take place at the Ballpark. As Carson wrote in his book “Carry Me”, “Baseball is deep in my soul. I loved putting on the jersey, the long socks, the pants; the whole uniform. I loved sliding in the dirt, the smell of my glove and the anticipation of playing the game. I loved going up to the plate holding the bat in my hands and swinging it around before I actually took my stance. I was always first to bat.”

Only one thing will be missing Saturday — the birthday boy.

Carson died on January 12, 2010, at the age of 17 after battling medullablastoma for “3 VERY LONG years.” Just six days before he died, his book was published because, “I have written a book to give a voice to the teenagers and children who have cancer but are unable to express how such an illness affects their personal, social, physical and emotional life. I want others to understand how to be a better friend to someone he/she knows that has a life threatening disease. Even though every day of my life is a battle, I have learned that God is always there to lift me up, and I live each day as if it were the Day of Judgment.”

To celebrate his life, the Carson Leslie Foundation, along with the Texas Rangers and Premier Transportation, has arranged this day of freedom and fun for kids who are carrying on the battle against cancer. And who knows who might just show up?

Happy birthday, Carson. Your life continues to inspire and comfort.

* Graphic courtesy of the Carson Leslie Foundation