Big Red Sox at Little Fenway


Phyl Newbeck
For Colchester Sun

There may be a silver lining to the Red Sox failure to make the playoffs this year. Reliever Craig Breslow will bring his Strike 3 Foundation to Little Fenway Park this Saturday for a wiffle ball tournament. The goal is to raise money for the foundation Breslow launched in 2008 to heighten awareness, mobilize support and raise funds for pediatric cancer research.

Breslow will be joined by teammates Rick Porcello and Rich Hill. The one-day tournament will begin at 8:30 a.m. with 10 teams playing at Little Wrigley and Little Field of Dreams, as well as Little Fenway. The goal is for each team is to raise a minimum of $3,000 for the foundation. Breslow and his fellow Red Sox will give free autographs to kids and to adults who purchase the charity’s T-shirts.

Local businesses have chipped in to make this event a success. Magic Hat will give away T-shirts, key chains and stickers and sell pints of Single Chair and Wilhelm Scream with all the proceeds going to the foundation. The Sausage Shack food truck and Niko’s Souvlaki will sell additional refreshments and a snack bar tent will provide donated food and beverages including baked goods and cotton candy. The UVM Women’s Basketball team will be in charge of the parking area.

Headquartered in Connecticut, the non-profit Strike 3 Foundation has raised nearly $3 million for cancer research programs at hospitals in California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania. Breslow pitched for the Red Sox in 2006 and returned to the team in 2012. When he pitched for the Twins a sportswriter dubbed him “the smartest man in baseball” and that nickname has stayed with him. Breslow has a degree from Yale University in molecular biophysics and biochemistry. He deferred acceptance to the NYU School of Medicine in 2002 so he could play professional baseball.

Pat O’Connor, the mastermind behind the trio of baseball fields, met Breslow when he was inducted into the New England Collegiate Baseball League Hall of Fame in 2013. When O’Connor learned about Breslow’s foundation he immediately thought it would be a good candidate for a fundraising wiffle ball game. “We have fundraisers for Slam Diabetes and the Travis Roy Foundation in June and August,” O’Connor said, “so I thought a fall classic could fit into our schedule.” Breslow talked to his Board of Directors and agreed that a wiffle ball tournament would be a good fit for his organization.

Breslow’s older sister was diagnosed with pediatric thyroid cancer at the age of 14. A thyroidectomy removed her tumor and she has been cancer-free ever since. That surgical intervention helped spark Breslow’s interest in medicine, as well as provide the inspiration for his non-profit’s focus on pediatric cancer.

“We are incredibly excited to host our first Wiffle Ball tournament at Little Fenway Park,” Breslow said. “As an organization, we are constantly striving to offer unique and novel fundraising opportunities to not only engage but also entertain our donor base. Given the passion of New England for its sports teams, we are confident we’ve hit a home run. Most importantly, we will raise meaningful dollars in the fight against childhood cancers.”

O’Connor couldn’t agree more. “I’m really excited about this tournament,” he said. “It’s an opportunity for a lot of people to see the facility for the first time and to raise money for a worthwhile cause.” Although former Red Sox player Bill Lee has taken part in Little Fenway games, this will be the first time active major league players have taken the field. “The tournament is open to the public,” said O’Connor “and anyone who wants to can stop by and watch these guys play wiffle ball. Against the backdrop of fall foliage, it should be a wonderful day.”

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