By Will Martin
It was truly an All-Star cast of Texas bred beef and sinew. Six Cowboys were on hand to partake and to be a part of the 2014 Dirk Nowiztki Heroes Charity event before a sellout crowd of 9,000 fans with soon to be new owner Chuck Greenberg taking in the scene and sights at Dr. Pepper Ballpark.
On June 20th, Dirk Nowitzki, Vernon Wells, Devin Harris, Josh Henderson from the series ‘Dallas’ were amongst the many in attendance to get a final warmup in before the 14th annual charity game to benefit the kids of the Heroes Foundation. The event seems to be gaining steam with each passing year even with the passing of the torch from Mike Modano to the man with a belated birthday on June 19th-Dirk Nowiztki.
With Michael Young getting a fair amount of attention before Dirk spoke to the media the ex Ranger made it clear that he had no intentions of returning to the diamond anytime soon. He was also very much playful amongst the assembled players getting their hitting and fielding in.
Dirk on the other hand had one thought among many on his mind. Getting a win in his third season of hosting this event. He had lost the last two previous times.
June 21st marked the first day of summer. Also on hand for the charity game were Jason Witten, Tony Rono (coaching not playing), Dez Bryant, Ben Grieve, Shane Larkin, Janitor Brian Cardinal, Sergeant Bernard James, Devin Harris, Jet Jason Terry, Jason Garrett, Rick Carlisle. Michael Young, Ivan ‘Pudge’ Rodriguez, Ben Grieve, Vernon Wells, Dallas’ Josh Henderson, Bradie James and even one time popcorn enabler Terrell Owens! Tyler Seguin was on hand to represent the Dallas Stars as the ex-Bruin fast approaches one year here in the Lone Star state since his Independence Day announcement in 2013.
Ben Grieve got things going for the White Sox in the first inning with a home run that is still traveling as I type. Using a lineup with four Cowboys it was Terrance Williams and Jason Garrett who wielded some nice results in what would become a 17-16 win over the Blue Sox.
Although the members of the Cowboys had to leave after the 4th inning their contributions were just enough to allow Dirk to enjoy a first win after a 1st inning blast on summer’s first day. A lot of firsts indeed!
The Cowboys coach summed it all up as follows.
“We have so much respect for Dirk and the Dallas Mavericks,” Garrett said. “It’s fun for us to be a part of the Cowboys and to be a part of an event like this. I think it’s a pretty unique event to actually be playing a baseball game.
“You know, I think guys are used to going to different kinds of charity events. Rarely do they have a uniform with their name on it in the locker. I think it’s such a great thing to be a part of. We have so much respect for these guys and are fortunate to be included in it.”
During a pregame press conference right before the game Dirk also echoed these sentiments.
“We all get pulled in a million directions every day, so it really means a lot to us that you guys made this happen,” Nowitzki said.
It also seems both the Mavericks and Cowboys coaches dream alike, as stated early in the game. One that went seven innings.
“I had a dream that all our players made it through this game without injury,” Carlisle said. Jason Garrett then approached the microphone and said, “I had the same dream.”
With the weather remaining cloudy and a bit cooler, it made for the perfect scenario between fans and autograph seekers. Jason Garrett seen signing quite a few footballs. Michael Young also did the same along with Ben Grieve and Pudge Rodriguez.
It was also “The Janitor” Brian Cardinal who cleaned up beautifully with a three run double past Blue team Skipper Terrell Owens to aid Dirk in his quest for a first victory in the Heroes Charity Event.
Great turnout, great mix of Dallas athletes present and past, great start to the new season. One which ironically will now get consumed by the talk of the Silver and Blue as training camp commences in 30 days and the new season starts in 75. Expect the Heroes charity event to keep growing as next year will mark fifteen years of giving back to those in need!