For Pete's Sake

‘This is incredible;’ Royals-themed wiffle ball game mimics the real thing

Dayton Moore's Wiffle Ball at the Hollow benefits youth baseball and education

The inaugural "Wiffle Ball at the Hollow," a fundraiser for Dayton Moore's charity, "C" You in the Major Leagues Foundation, was played Saturday in a front-yard field at the home of Joe Ungashick at 52nd and Wornall Road in Kansas City. Wiffle bal
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The inaugural "Wiffle Ball at the Hollow," a fundraiser for Dayton Moore's charity, "C" You in the Major Leagues Foundation, was played Saturday in a front-yard field at the home of Joe Ungashick at 52nd and Wornall Road in Kansas City. Wiffle bal

Move over, Aaron Judge, you’ve got some competition.

Judge put on a show during the Home Run Derby ahead of the All-Star Game, but Royals assistant general manager Scott Sharp can swing a bat, too.

Well, a plastic one.

Sharp had a home run in all three of his at-bats and was the game MVP on Saturday at the “Wiffle Ball at the Hollow” game at a house near Loose Park.

“He’s got to work on his home-run trot, though,” general manager Dayton Moore cracked.

The wiffle ball game was the centerpiece of a fundraiser for Moore’s “C” You In the Major Leagues Foundation. A wiffle ball field was already in the front yard of Joe Ungashick’s house, but it was transformed into “KC Structural Stadium” on Saturday with a 10-foot-high fence in left field (which Sharp cleared all three times) and sliding pits around the bases. Yep, naming rights for the field were sold.

There were three teams of adults, each in different Royals jerseys, that rotated from the field to batting to the sideline, and each had a former Royals pitcher on the mound: Dennis Leonard, Jaime Bluma and Jeff Montgomery.

Royals announcer Denny Matthews and Fox Sports Kansas City’s Joel Goldberg called the action and each took a swing (Goldberg crushed a three-run homer well beyond the 85-foot fence in right field). Thou Mayest Coffee made “Sledge-iattos,” there was a color guard for the national anthem, a hot-dog race, “Harry Caray” sang “Take Me Out To The Ballgame,” Sluggerrr dazzled the little kids and the Royals’ 2015 World Series trophy was on display.

So, yeah, this wasn’t your dad’s wiffle ball game, although there were plenty of fathers who took part. Sharp has two sons who regularly play in wiffle ball games in their neighborhood. Sharp said he’s joined in after work sometimes, too.

“This is pretty incredible,” Sharp said. “Our makeshift field is not quite as elaborate as this. I was blown away and it certainly exceeded expectations. It’s a really great cause, too.”

Moore’s foundation raises funds for programs that support education, youth sports and faith-based organizations and events, as well as assisting families in crisis. His aim is to help a city that means so much to him.

“The Kansas City community is an unbelievable place,” Moore said. “I tell people all the time, to me, it’s pretty simple why our team has enjoyed success and ultimately won a World Series championship.

“Everybody understands that our success is tied together. Great support from everybody through the good times and the struggles, and that’s what makes it so rewarding.”

Saturday’s event was expected to raise more than $75,000, and did it through a game many people played as children.

“Wiffle ball takes you back to your innocence as a kid,” Moore said. “We all probably played some wiffle ball growing up and the spirit of what we’re about is trying to grow the game and share the dreams we had as kids and continue to have. A lot of times I feel like we’re stranded in adolescence anyway, so this is a natural tie-in.”

Pete Grathoff: 816-234-4330, @pgrathoff

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