The 65th Annual Artists and Writers Softball Game will take place this Saturday, August 17, at East Hampton’s Herrick Park at 2 p.m.
This year playing for the writers are: Ken Auletta, David Baer (MVP ’11), Carl Bernstein , David Bernstein, Brian Burns, Ed Burns, Jay Cardiello, Tom Colicchio, Bill Collage, Jay DiPietro, Jason Edwards, Katrina Foster, Rod Gilbert , Zack O’Malley Greenburg, Douglas Harrington , Jeff Hilford , Walter Isaacson, Harry Javer , Rick Leventhal , Jim Leyritz , Chris London, Hugo Lindgren, Ann Liguori , Mike Lupica (MVP ’09), Kevin McEneaney, Jay McInerney, Lee Minetree, Lawrence O’Donnell, Juliet Papa , Michael Pellman , David Rattiner, Richard Reeves, Gail Sheehy, Brett Shevack , Leslie Morgan Steiner, George Stephanopoulos, Edward Tivnan , Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Benito Vila, Mark Weinstein , Paul Winum, Richard Wiese , and Mort Zuckerman.
The artists team will be represented by: Anthony from WEHM, Bob Balaban, Gregg Bello, Walter Bernard, Russell Blue, Pete Cestaro, Josh Charles (MVP ’10), Jack Dowd, Dennis Duswalt, Eric Ernst , David Geiser, Ed Hollander , Leif Hope , Dennis Lawrence, John Longmire, Eddie McCarthy, Jeffrey Meizlik , Edward Tyler Nahem , Ron Noy, Joel Perlman, Geoff Prisco , Randall Rosenthal , Jean Reno, Ronnette Riley, Michael Sapraicone , Nathan Sawaya , Lori Singer , Stu Sleppin , Joe Sopiak (MVP ’07 & ’08), Bill Strong, Michelle Suna , and Domingo Zapata.
Dan Rattiner, Ray Kelly , Honorable Richard Lowe III, Matt Lauer , Ed Bleier will serve as umpires.
The earliest the origins of the Softball Tradition have been traced back to 1948. “We think,” said Deb McEneaney, member of the game’s board of directors, “The history is a little bit murky, but it seems like the artists out here had a few pick up games during picnics. The earliest picture I’ve found shows De Kooning at bat. Writers joined about 10 years later.”
This year, however is a year of firsts. “This is the first year we’ll be raising money through CharityBuzz,” McEneaney said, “and it’s the first year we’ll be holding a public pregame party.”
Through August 22, all proceeds from specific Charity Buzz auctions will directly benefit the Games’ charitable efforts. Domingo Zapata, of the artists’ team and the mural at the Freedom Tower, has already donated a painting who’s estimated value is $50,000 to the effort.
Nathan Sawaya chipped in as well. The sculptor is borrowing his lego sculpture of baseball player from his show at the Discover center in Time Square to serve as decoration at the pregame party at the LTV studio in Wainscott. Wine and beer will be served, there will be a 115 item silent auction, and live music will be provided by America’s Got Talent violinist SVET. Tickets are $40 in advance and $50 at the door.
All proceeds raised go directly to selected East End charities. “Our mission as a board is to support agencies on the East End that provide necessary services,” McEneaney said. This year’s recipients will be the East Hampton Day Care Learning Center, Phoenix House, The Retreat and East End Hospice.
“It’s a struggle to try to keep the game’s home town, casual feel while building its outreach,” McEneaney said, “but it really is still that home town event. We have a very eclectic gathering of folks. We’ve built quite a community around this silly game.”
While she admits the game is silly, McEneaney made it clear, “There’s people who know how to play ball out there.”
She also admits she’s rooting for the artists this year. “The writer’s have won the last two years,” she said.