Legends hold fundraiser for underserved youth | July 10, 2013 | Almanac | Almanac Online |



Sports - July 10, 2013

Legends hold fundraiser for underserved youth

by Sam Borsos

With summer in full swing, the Menlo Park Legends semi-pro baseball team is bringing the community together for a charitable cause. The baseball program is hosting its second annual Legends Village fundraiser on Saturday, July 20, at 5 p.m. at Nealon Park in Menlo Park.

The event raises funds for the Legends Village, which provides baseball programs to underserved youth who can benefit from clinics, a mentorship program and free camps. At last year's event, between 100 to 150 people attended, and the program raised about $3,000 for a variety of programs for kids.

"Last year, we had a lot of team members' families come, as well as other followers who have been with the Legends for many years," said David Klein, the Legends general manager and camp director. "It was an absolutely fantastic event and I'm looking forward to learning from it and making this year even better."

The fundraiser will have baseball-inspired carnival games, live music by Leviathan, a home run derby with Legends players, autograph signing, a raffle, a live/silent auction, and a Hawaiian barbecue-style dinner. Everyone who attends is invited to participate in the pick-up style softball game at the end of the night with Legends players.

The money from the event will provide programs for underserved youth from Menlo Park, Redwood City, East Palo Alto, Portola Valley, Woodside, San Carlos, Los Altos, Atherton, and Mountain View. Klein, inspired by positive experiences with baseball as a child, said that the Legends Village has given about 20 free camps and private lessons in the community.

"I think baseball, more than any other sport or activity, does an amazing job in teaching life lessons," said Klein. "If you were to strike out or have a tough game, there are a lot of life lessons in baseball. We try to offer baseball opportunities to kids who were not initially able to have those opportunities. Bringing kids into the game of baseball makes sure they have all those opportunities."

This fundraiser is not the only event in which the Legends program interacts with the youth community; for the past five years, the program has hosted Legends baseball camps in June and July at both the Burgess Little League Field and Nealon Park.

The summer camps include coaching from players on the Legends, as well as a chance to get first-hand experience with the team during the coaches' semi-pro games at night. Players ages 6 to 12 are invited to hang out in the dugout during games, throw the first pitch, announce the starting lineup, be a batboy and run after foul balls during games.

As of July 3, Legends are 7-7 in the Far West League Standings. Three former Legends players were selected into the 2013 MLB draft: Grant Nelson, selected 270th overall in the 9th round by the Arizona Diamondbacks, Brett McMinn, selected 536th overall in the 18th round by the New York Mets, and Tyger Pederson, selected 994th overall in the 33rd round by the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Legends Village fundraiser is $10 for children 12 and under and $15 for general admission. Admission includes food and activities. All the proceeds go to Legends Village. Nealon Park is at 800 Middle Ave. in Menlo Park.


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