First Pitch Dinner Set for Saturday
Carolina baseball will celebrate the opening of the 2013 baseball season with Saturday night’s First Pitch Dinner hosted by Jones Angell and Adam Lucas. The banquet provides an opportunity for fans to get up close and personal with the preseason top-ranked Tar Heels. "It's a blast," Tar Heel head coach Mike Fox said. "It's a fun evening. So many of our loyal fans are there, and they come back every year, and I think they enjoy it. That's our goal, to have a fun evening, and I think we'll have another one this year."
Held at the Loudermilk Center for Excellence, the sixth annual dinner will feature two Tar Heels who made their Major League Baseball debuts in 2012, Luke Putkonen (Tigers) and Matt Harvey (Mets), and Adam Greenberg, who recorded his first official at-bat with the Miami Marlins in October. Tim Federowicz (Dodgers) and Alex White (Astros) will also be in attendance.
Additionally, Tar Heel seniors Chris Munnelly, Chaz Frank and Cody Stubbs will provide a season outlook with Angell and Lucas. Munnelly will offer senior remarks, and Frank will introduce the 2013 Tar Heels. That introduction typically turns into a roast of sorts and is a perennial highlight of the First Pitch Dinner.
"Anytime the players get up in front of people and speak, it’s not something they get a chance to do, and it’s new for me, much less the people that are there," Fox said. "I don't get to see that side of them very often. It’s been kind of unique, kind of funny just hearing them and hearing what they say about each other. Most of it goes right over my head. There's a lot of inside jokes, some of it I’m not privy to, which is probably for the best."
Prior to the program, fans will have the chance to meet the 2013 Tar Heels during an autograph session. The evening culminates with a live auction. Items up for bid include a Dustin Ackley game-worn jersey, a signed helmet, signed bat, a painting by former Tar Heel Colin Bates and a camouflage jersey that Carolina will debut on Military Appreciation Day. Silent auction items, including jerseys signed by Greenberg, Harvey and White, will be up for bid throughout the night.
The First Pitch Dinner is sold out, however if you can’t make it Saturday night, there are opportunities to see the Diamond Heels in two scrimmages this weekend. The team will hit the field Saturday at noon and Sunday at 1 p.m. Both sessions are open to the public.
"These kids play hard," Fox said of this team. "They practice and play hard. That’s the biggest stamp I can put on them right now. We don’t have any slackers on this team. They all show up ready to go, ready to play. It's an unbelievable trait they have. I hope they don’t ever lose it."