Usually the Big Slick Celebrity Weekend hosts are the center of attention at their annual softball game at Kauffman Stadium.
But on Friday, they were happily upstaged by a certain Kansas City Chiefs quarterback turned center fielder: Patrick Mahomes.
Mahomes, wearing a No. 15 jersey and making his Big Slick debut, drew the loudest cheers every time his name was called.
The hometown hosts — Rob Riggle, Paul Rudd, Jason Sudeikis, Eric Stonestreet and David Koechner — were already huge fans. Whenever they meet him, “we turn into 10-year-olds,” Rudd had said that morning at a press conference at Children’s Mercy Hospital, which benefits from the annual fundraiser.
Their confidence might have been shaken after Mahomes’ first at-bat, an infield pop fly caught by “Saturday Night Live” alum Taran Killam, one of the 38 official celebrity guests.
But Mahomes redeemed himself when he pinch-hit for Stonestreet and got a “home run,” which means the ball traveled beyond some temporary barricades and all the way to the outfield. (It should be noted that “American Idol” alum David Cook of Blue Springs caught the ball, just for grins.)
But the game really wasn’t about athleticism. Koechner decided to wear cowboy boots with his shorts and powder-blue jersey. The reason for his fashion choice? “I’m not in a hurry.”
Pop star Selena Gomez confessed, “I had no idea what I was doing, and I felt very uncomfortable.” And yet she managed to drive in a run. “I guess I did do something.”
Ariel Winter, who is Stonestreet’s co-star on “Modern Family,” was just happy to be in Kansas City. “I will be back here every year if I’m invited,” she said.
A few fans were given the chance to ask the celebrities questions.
One asked Zachary Levi about the superhero suit he wore in the movie “Shazam.”
“The suit was incredibly uncomfortable,” Levi said. “It was very difficult to take a pee-pee and impossible to take a poo-poo in. All that is a small price to pay for being a superhero.”
And one lucky fan got to ask Mahomes to reveal his favorite movie.
“‘Ant-Man,’” Mahomes answered, referring to Rudd’s biggest role yet. “He can get big. He can get small. He’s a genius.”
That must have inspired Rudd. In the final at-bat of the game, Rudd used some fancy footwork and parlayed a single into a home run.
“This is what it’s about,” he said as teammates Killam and Kevin Pollak (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”) hoisted him on their shoulders. “Thank you, Kansas City. Thank you, Children’s Mercy Hospital. Thank you, Royals. Thank you, everybody, for letting me run the bases.
“And thank you, Patrick Mahomes, for saying ‘Ant-Man’ was your favorite movie of all time. Today is the greatest day of my life.”
At their press conference that morning, the stars explained the true importance of Big Slick: the young patients in the Cancer Center at Children’s Mercy.
While the two-day event is a good time, Rudd said, “it’s also a reminder that there’s so much work to do.”
“What we do doesn’t always feel that important,” Stonestreet said of being an entertainer. “This gives it meaning.”
Big Slick will continue Saturday with two more events open to the public:
▪ A free outdoor block party from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Prairiefire shopping center in Overland Park. The highlight: a celebrity red carpet arrival around 9:45 a.m. outside Pinstripes. The celebrity bowling tournament inside is sold out.
▪ The charity auction, which used to always sell out at a smaller venue, is now called the Party & Show and has been moved to the Sprint Center to accommodate thousands more fans. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., and the show starts at 8. Tickets are $79.
Details and tickets to all events are at bigslickkc.org.
Big Slick has raised more than $8 million since 2010. For this 10th edition, the hosts hope to bring that total to $10 million.
Includes reporting by The Star’s Brooke Pryor, Edward McKinley and Sharon Hoffmann.