Eagles running back LeSean McCoy was all about the community on Saturday night as his foundation powered a celebrity softball game in Lancaster’s Clipper Magazine Stadium. Further tying himself to his nearby Harrisburg roots, the Pro-Bowler brought a handful of his teammates and other NFL players to the field in an effort to raise awareness for ALS, a degenerative disease that recently claimed the life of McCoy’s grandmother. From actually organizing the event to interacting with fans throughout the night, McCoy displayed his genuine affinity for local supporters.
The inaugural softball game drew a sellout crowd, with reportedly more than 7,200 fans purchasing tickets and all proceeds going toward the LeSean McCoy Foundation. There were plenty of Eagles jerseys in the crowd, but there was also some Giants and Ravens gear littered throughout the masses–undoubtedly in support of the game’s other local stars. As a whole, however, the stadium showed no hesitation in giving McCoy an overwhelming air of approval each and every time he set foot on the field. It was clear the All-Star’s community magic was working, because there wasn’t a time McCoy received less than a roar of cheers throughout the evening.
The event kicked off with a home run derby, a contest in which McCoy guaranteed to hit five balls past the makeshift walls, which were established roughly halfway into the actual outfield. The running back had some trouble living up to his boast, but managed to record a few less whiffs than his fan favorite predecessor, Brian Westbrook, whereas teammate Jamar Chaney headed to the final round. In the end, it was little-known Giants tight end Ryan Purvis who captured the homer challenge with 15 total shots and proceeded to garner praise for his roots as a Lancaster Catholic High School graduate.
The evening wasn’t without its surprises, either. During the home run challenge, an announcement was made over the PA System to welcome surprise guest Michael Vick, and immediately the fans unleashed a torrent of cheers for the Eagles quarterback. Vick, who remained along the baseline and dugout for the entire event, was even granted a ceremonial at-bat in the game. In the actual softball matchup, which pitted McCoy and his fellow Eagles against Team NFL, a composition of other players and personalities; Philadelphia came out on top by a score of 18 to 14. The Eagles’ Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie showed a surprising burst of power with three homers, while Chiefs wide receiver Steve Breaston hit a pair of home runs for the opposing team.
Among the other participants were sports agent Drew Rosenhaus, who–to the evident hilarity of a spectating Michael Vick–drew a rain of boos upon his appearances at the plate, Philadelphia 76ers player Evan Turner, Browns wide receiver Greg Little, Ravens running back Damien Berry, Eagles trainer Rick Burkholder, Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith, and a slew of Eagles players including DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, Jon Dorenbos, Dion Lewis, and Brian Rolle. Some highly-touted guests listed on the original game promotion weren’t in attendance, but the players that did participate–particularly the host himself, McCoy–made it a priority to interact and embrace the sense of community that was meant to envelop the game itself.