The California Strong Celebrity Softball Game had its 2nd Annual turn up in Malibu this weekend. The fund raiser was open to the public at the sprawling Pepperdine University under insanely beautiful weather conditions. Underneath the fancy zip code and the VIP list, and just past the limo busses lies a super worthy cause.
In November 2018, Los Angeles and Ventura Counties suffered the Woolsey Fires. It was early November when the wildfire ignited in the Malibu area and burned 96,949 acres of land, killed 3 people, demolished 1643 structures and evacuated 295,000 people. The cost of damage was estimated at 6 billion dollars, and the cause is still under investigation.
Through a group text, professional baseball players Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich, Ryan Braun, Cincinnati Reds Mike Moustakas, Rams Quarterback Jared Goff and Mike Attanasio with Milwaukee Brewers Ownership Group created California Strong as an emergency fund for this disaster. They partnered with Ventura County’s YMCA and raised over 2.3 million dollars and distributed 675 grants to families affected by the tragedies in their nascent organization.
Todays softball game started with a very special group of players with Rob Lowe, Adam Sandler, Patrick Dempsey, Mira Sorvino, Charlie Sheen, Tiffany Haddish, UFC Hall of Famer Chuck “IceMan” Lidell, Patrick Schwarzenegger and a gang of super gorgeous athletes everywhere with Cody Bellinger, Dodger John Peterson, NBA player Matt Barns and more whose names I didn’t know. There was just enough media to call it a frenzy. I caught a word with Mike Attanasio on the carpet.
“We’re always going to be here, this isn’t a one time thing” said Mike Attanassio from the Milwaukee Ownership Group. “We’re trying to help as many people as we can.”
The VIP tent had a lounge area with blue velvet sofas and a kick back vibe. The event was catered with a huge spread by Chipotle, an assortment of flavors of gelato with clear rainbow colored spoons and delicious organic coffee that I had way too much of. Fresh blue hydrangeas were on cloth covered round tables. Hydration was provided by Recover180 served by some super cute kids behind their makeshift bar.
The baseball field at Pepperdine University was as beautiful as ever thanks to the firefighters that protected it during the 2018 fires. Grammy nominated singer Jeffrey Osborne sang the national anthem, and 4 US Army Air Corp P52 WWII planes did a fly over and made the most beautiful right turn above our heads. The days goal was to play a game of softball and raise one million dollars. Toddlers were abundant. Like a Boss’ Tiffany Haddish participated in a dance off and said to the kid filled crowd “I know you kids boss your parents around!”
A dj and commentator kept the energy high as the celebrities and athletes played as Team Yelich and Team Braun. Rapper Machine Gun Kelly wore his California Strong jersey with XX as his number, and Paula Patton wore a number 5 as she ran fast as hell from base to base.
The event had a row of food trucks, and a fun zone for kids with giant baseball balloons that were pretty cool. Country western singer Annie Bosko sang God Bless America as a special surprise guest.
The bleachers were filled and merchandise was sold with 100 % of the proceeds going to the people affected by these tragic events and still dealing with the aftermath. The day wasn’t about the scoreboard, it was about awareness, the community coming together and enjoying a beautiful day together.
California Strong and the Ventura County YMCA also distribute funds to the Northern California Paradise Fire that occurred on the same day as the Woolsey Fire, the Borderline Shooting victims and the Santa Cruz Boat Fire. Visit californiastrong.org for more information.