The Stockton Ports are pleased to announce that, through the generosity of the Stockton community, they were able to raise more than $7,000 at the Ports 3rd Annual Hot Stove Banquet to benefit their community fund, the Anchor Fund, which was held on February 4.
“The Hot Stove Banquet was a tremendous success, and we appreciate the support of keynote speaker Glen Kuiper, A’s Director of Player Development Keith Lieppman, Ports Manager Steve Scarsone, Ports pitcher Justin Friend, A’s Director of Scouting Eric Kubota, and all of the fans who attended,” said Ports President and General Manager Pat Filippone. “Through the generosity of Ports fans, we were able to raise money for the Anchor Fund, which will enable us to help give back to our community.”
The Anchor Fund, which aids several community projects, with a focus on youth centers and youth sports, benefits from the funds generated through the Banquet’s ticket sales, raffle and silent auction sales, and donations.
The Hot Stove Banquet, the first Ports event in 2010 to benefit the Stockton Ports Anchor Fund, provided fans with an opportunity to participate in a night of baseball, complete with a keynote address and Q &A session with Oakland Athletics TV Play-by-Play Announcer Glen Kuiper, memorabilia raffles and a silent auction. Fans also enjoyed a Q&A session with Lieppman and an address by Scarsone.
The 130 attendees enjoyed cocktails and a slideshow highlighting the 2009 season before dinner began, and they were able to purchase raffle mini-bats for items from major and minor league baseball teams from around the nation. Such items included team autographed baseballs, bobbleheads, photos, and merchandise. A silent auction was also open to fans, with autographed memorabilia from athletes such as Dallas Braden, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Magic Johnson, Roger Clemens, Maury Wills, Duke Snider and much more. The Ports also auctioned off gift certificates to area restaurants, hotels, golf clubs and more.
Before the speakers took the podium, the Stockton Ports honored area high school stars Louie Lechich of St. Mary’s High School in Stockton and Tori Shepard of Lodi High School as the Greater Stockton Area High School Baseball and Softball Players of the Year, respectively.
Filippone was the first to address the crowd, highlighting the importance of community involvement and the Ports continuing support to the Stockton community. Filippone also stressed the value of Stockton’s affiliation with the Oakland A’s and the hope for another strong season with A’s prospects.
Lieppman was the next to speak, and discussed the strength of the A’s farm system, and the important role the Ports play in developing players for the major league level. He also opened up the floor to questions, answering fans’ queries on Barry Bonds, Dallas Braden and recently acquired prospect Michael Taylor. Scarsone was formally introduced to fans next. He encouraged fans to speak to him and get to know him during the season, and joked that he would win 2 of the first 12 games, improving on the Ports’ 1-12 start in 2009.
The event finished with Kuiper delivering his keynote address. Kuiper related some anecdotes about his past experiences with Scarsone, assuring fans that they were getting a top notch manager for the 2010 season. He also talked of his past visit to Stockton, in which he saw Dennis Eckersley make his professional debut against the Ports in 1972. Kuiper added he hoped to get to Stockton again in the 2010 season. Kuiper then opened the floor for questions. He answered questions ranging from the A’s radio and television broadcasts in 2010, to his relationship with the San Francisco Giants and his brother.
With Spring Training just around the corner, fans are close to seeing the Stockton Ports and Oakland A’s begin their search for greatness in 2010.
“Following a year in which the Ports donated approximately $35,500 and nearly $107,500 of in-kind donations, including 13,250 tickets to local non-profit organizations, charities and schools through the Anchor Fund, we definitely look forward to another successful year on and off the field,” Filippone said.