Don’t Blink Home Run Derby returns

todayOctober 22, 2021 5

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Co-founders of the Don’t Blink Home Run Derby Todd Isaacs Jr. and Lucius Fox Jr. were unable to put on the popular event in January of this year due to the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic. Well, it’s back! The duo announced yesterday at a press conference that the fourth edition of the event will be held on Saturday, December 18, but at a new venue – the Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island.

This year’s theme is “Pirates Invade Paradise”.

The home run derby has garnered a lot of attention and interest, both locally and internationally, since the two childhood friends staged the first edition back in 2018. Isaacs said he is happy the event is back.

“Today (Wednesday) is a very exciting day for all of us and it was a very exciting day for especially myself,” Isaacs said. “It has been something that we weren’t able to do last time, but today, we’re finally back at it. Not just Lucius and I, but we have a whole family right now. I just want to acknowledge that the last year and a half, it has been a difficult time for everyone with the pandemic. It was a trying time for everyone, not just here in The Bahamas but everywhere in the world,” he added.

Isaacs said that they wanted to host the event earlier in the year, but they could not because of COVID-19 restrictions.

Vice President of Sales at Atlantis Ted Adderley said the resort is happy to be a part of the event for a fourth year and hosting the big day at the resort for the first time.

“It’s infectious and it’s a part of what we are. We’ve been with them for four years,” Adderley said. “We’re going to take a bigger role in it, but this is why we’re doing it. If you listen to their energy, their commitment to the sport, and what they’re trying to accomplish and their own accomplishments, it’s on them that makes it much easier for us to partner with them.

“Then, of course, I’m not a baseball guy, but hitting a ball in an ocean? I went, ‘Who does that? They’re on to something.’ It was another reason why the partnership made a lot of sense to us. Then, of course, I think it’s probably now one of the largest growing Bahamian initiative sports. So, with that, that’s another reason why it makes a lot of sense for us to be a part of this event now. Atlantis is actually committed to growing sports tourism.”

The goal of the derby is to highlight Bahamian baseball players and to show what The Bahamas has to offer. One of the key performers will be Major League Baseball (MLB) Jasrado “Jazz” Chisholm. The Bahamian professional baseball player is a starting infielder for the Miami Marlins. He is coming off his first full season in the majors, finishing with 18 home runs, 70 runs scored and 53 RBIs (runs batted in), primarily from the lead-off position for the Marlins. He had 115 hits, batted .248, stole 23 bases and was named to the All-Rookie Second Team of MLB. Also slated for the derby is Wander Franco, who was called up to majors this season for the Tampa Bay Rays, and ended up being one of the more dynamic young players in the game. He had a 43-game

on-base streak, tied with Frank Robinson for the longest in American League/National League history by a player 20 years old or younger. Robinson achieved that in 1956. Franco is a frontrunner for the American League Rookie of the Year Award.

Other Bahamian professional players will be on display and also some international players who are yet to confirm attendance.

As usual, there will be a draft to decide who plays for Team Fox and who plays for Team Isaacs. Team Fox is the defending champion, and Isaacs wore Fox’s team shirt to the press conference as a stipulation of the contest.

The duo will look to give back to the community by helping to raise funds to create multi-purpose facilities.

“Geron (Sands) is up here with us and we’re working hand in hand through the home run derby to help raise funds to start renovating fields in the communities, creating multi-purpose facilities with baseball fields, softball fields and basketball courts. This year, we’re starting off with the Pinewood field, so we would do a groundbreaking for that. This is something that Lucius (Fox) and I always wanted to do. We always wanted to find ways to get back in the community and build fields.”

They are also looking at much of the same on the Family Islands.

President and Co-Founder of Magical Builders, Christy Frank, who will be helping with the renovation of the fields, said they heard about how talented Bahamians are in baseball and wanted to throw their support behind the talent.

“It was brought to Magical Builders about how the folks here have grown into the sport of baseball, and your facilities, and how talented you all are here. They asked us if we would get on a call and start talking about bringing Magical Builders down here and help renovate these fields,” Frank said.

Frank added they were able to meet with Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Mario Bowleg and said it is a very special relationship that they are developing. She is looking at implementing solar scoreboards and helping the baseball academy with computers for the young people to use.

Geron Sands, co-founder of I-Elite Sports Academy, is looking to build up the community with the partnership that he has developed with Frank and her company over the past three years.

“It’s a pleasure to be up here talking about the pilot park. We are just all about community and developments and trying to get more boys and young ladies playing more baseball and softball. We want to help them get more scholarships to continue their education,” Sands said.

He acknowledged COVID and how everything was slowed down but is looking for a rebirth of the sport.

REV Marketing and TV Manager M’Khel Ferguson said that they are excited to be a sponsor of the event once again.

“We have been a part of the home run derby from its inception… We would have given in-kind sponsorship as well as cash sponsorship because, of course, you need cash to make sure that everything goes smoothly. It’s an honor from the top of our business to the bottom of our business; everybody is so excited. It’s been an honor to help bring the dream and the imagination that both of these young men have to reality. We’ve invested in sports and we will continue to invest in sports,” Ferguson said.

Players arrive on December 14 and, the following day, there will be the very first home run derby golf tournament. A groundbreaking ceremony for the park in Pinewood will be held on December 16, and on December 17, there will be a free camp for kids in which the duo partnered with MLB Play Ball initiative again. That evening, there will be the first-ever home run derby celebrity softball event.

Fox thanked all of the sponsors for helping them stage the event this year. Sponsoring the event are title sponsor Atlantis, REV, The Bahamas’ government, Magical Builders, Family Medicine Center, Heritage Seafood, Harmony Construction and the Bahamas Baseball Association.

The derby will be televised live on REV Channel 212 and on the REVGo app.

Written by: Dj Beats

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