This afternoon the San Diego State baseball team held their 6th annual Halloween baseball game at Tony Gwynn Stadium. Each year during Halloween weekend the players and coaches dress up and play a shortened game, inviting anyone to come out to watch some free baseball before ensuing in their Halloween shenanigans.
The Aztecs have gotten a lot of attention for this tradition the past couple of years. In 2013 some of the players dressed up as the Jamaican bobsled team from Cool Runnings and a video of the five of them trying to "bobsled" their way to first base made it onto Sportscenter, CBSSports, and the like.
Last year the team surprised everyone with a flash mob at the end of the game. Jbox and Jonny Dub were there to witness the magic.
Now that they've gained some traction and attention with the annual event, they decided to put their efforts towards a very worthy cause this year and highlight some important organizations. The Aztecs partnered with San Diego's Down Syndrome Association (DSA), Best Buddies, and Dads Appreciating Down Syndrome (D.A.D.S.) for this year's baseball game.
Prior to the game, the team and their buddies took the field to address the crowd and talk a little bit about what this game meant. Mark Grant introduced the event and talked a little about DSA. He handed over the mic to a representative from the organization and then to the Aztecs' guest of honor, Champ Pederson.
Champ, who was born with Down Syndrome, is the older brother of Dodgers outfielder Joc Pederson. Dressed up as Uncle Sam, he made an inspiring pre-game speech, addressing the Aztecs about what it means to be a team. And at the end he thanked the SDSU coaching staff, the players, DSA, and "the guy in the straw hat" (referring to Mudcat).
After this pregame introduction the team invited anyone who was interested to come down to the field for the Challenger Game. The kids, all paired with their buddies in matching costumes, got to play their own game of baseball before the Aztecs took the field themselves. It was awesome seeing all the kids having the time of their lives and everyone in the crowd cheering them on. Everyone crowded onto the infield as the kids took turns hitting the ball off a tee and running the bases.
Jessie from Toy Story leads off the challenger halloween game pic.twitter.com/YTSuoXgAor— SDSU Baseball (@SDSUBaseball) October 31, 2015
One of the best parts of the event was seeing everyone in their costumes, especially those who had matching/coordinating costumes.
Tom Brady with Bill Belichek pic.twitter.com/MfpJfm1Dgt— SDSU Baseball (@SDSUBaseball) October 31, 2015
After the Challenger game, the Aztecs baseball team split up into the Red Team and the Black Team to face each other for what would be a four-inning contest. Some of the players came out into the crowd to hand out candy while Mud announced each team's lineups, followed by the coaching staff. This is when we all got a real good look at everyone's costumes. Some of the standouts to me were Harry Potter (because I was also dressed as Harry Potter), Frozone, a carton of chocolate milk, and Elsa from Frozen.
And then there were the coaches, dressed as the Ghostbusters crew, who had a little fun of their own prior to the start of the game.
The game itself was just really entertaining and fun to watch. The guy dressed as milk seemed to have a little trouble swinging his bat, but it didn't matter much because he led off the top of the 1st with a hit-by-pitch. He did struggle to run down a ball in center field later in the game, though.
Chocolate Milk with a leadoff HBP. Jessie from Toy Story at the plate. Hot Dog on deck. Frozone in the hole. pic.twitter.com/frJizc7L1Z— Jodes Paranal (@jodes0405) October 31, 2015
The Red Team, who acted as the home team for the day, ended up being the victors over the "visiting" Black Team. Following the game they team got together on the field for their traditional postgame singing of the SDSU Fight Song. It was a really fun afternoon and it was just nice watching one of my teams playing baseball this late in October.