A wiffle ball home run derby at Xfinity Live! sponsored by Tito’s vodka and Ricky Bottalico would be pitching… I’m there! I signed up and within minutes received an email:
As long as I could raise $250 by April 6th, I was in. Piece of cake! I believe my final tally was $275. Leading up to the home run derby I kept joking about the prizes.
Hit the “Tito’s Bulls Eye” and win a year supply of Tito’s vodka. I haven’t really been a fan of vodka ever since my late high school/early college days. So I was going to win that. Guaranteed!
The day of the derby, Leen, my parents, Bekah, and Anthony all came to watch. I mean, there was an open Tito’s bar from 10AM – 1PM, so why not!? The weather was perfect.
Upon arriving, the first thing I noticed was the fence was SHORT! I think it was only 70 feet for the home runs. Secretly, I knew this would be good and bad. Good because people would be extremely antsy and swinging out of their shoes which would lead to a lot of swings and misses. Bad because even if they hit a short popup, it could still carry out. Either way, I was pumped to get this thing going! There was a solid crowd that showed up. Easily a couple hundred people watching and 15-20 competitors. Ricky Bo was warming a few people up before the event began and a couple times threw at the batter’s head for hitting too many home runs. This is going to be fun! I honestly always thought Bottalico came off like a dick on TV, but honestly, he was one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met. I think he had more fun with this whole event than even the competitors did.
After we all got to take pictures with Michael Barkann and Ricky Bottalico, it was derby time! The first few people went and I was right. Swinging wayyyyy too hard and missing pitches. You only got five swings so this thing was moving quick, until one kid came up and hit four home runs. That was going to be tough to beat. I was up a few batters later and told myself, if it came to a point I couldn’t get four or five home runs, I would just aim for the bullseye.
Finally my name gets called.
First pitch, pop up back to the pitcher. Second pitch, hard ground ball up the middle. Now I officially couldn’t win the derby so I started trying to hit opposite field and get that bullseye. Third pitch, fly ball to right field that goes off the top of the wall and back in play. No home run. Fourth pitch, fly ball to right field and over the fence. Last pitch, crushed to center field and into the crowd of people. I ended with two home runs, which would’ve put me in a three way tie for second place. Oh well. Someone asked why I didn’t wear my Way Too Beautiful wiffle ball jersey. My response was, if I sucked, I didn’t need people knowing I played pro wiffle ball! Nothing good would come of that.
There were only a few participants left to bat, but they hadn’t arrived yet. This lead to the host announcing if anyone wanted to pay $5 for three swings, they could try to hit the Tito’s bullseye. Even my dad jumped at this opportunity.
He hit one out and tried to kill Ricky Bo with a few line drives. I also decided to give it another attempt. I mean, it was only $5 and it was going to charity.
Again, no luck. Tried taking it the other way with two of the pitches and just popped up, but the one I did hit out was a BOMB! It cleared the fence AND all of the spectators.
Once all of the participants had their swings for the actual home run derby, the kid that had hit four ended as the winner. He took home a sick trophy and $500 cash. Not too shabby and not going to lie, I really wanted that trophy. However, no one had hit the bullseye and there was still two hours left in the happy hour, so the host of the event again announced they would keep allowing people to swing until the end of the event or the bullseye was hit.
This time, Leen joined my dad and I. While we were waiting, my dad was standing behind me and I turned to him and said, “Dad, you should go before me because I’m going to hit it!” Leen and my dad laughed, but I wasn’t kidding. Leen took her swings and killed it. Even the announcer asked over the microphone, “Why wasn’t she in the competition?” After Leen, I was up again and on the third pitch… boom! I hit the ball and right off the bat I threw my arms in the air. It was going right for the bullseye. The crowd was quiet. Once the ball hit off the top of the bullseye the crowd erupted into a cheer. I turned to my dad and made sure I said, “I told you!” I couldn’t stop laughing. The luck of Milzy continues. I actually won the year supply of Tito’s!
(The giant blowup bottle was the bullseye)
Mike, who was the host of the event came up to me shortly after and asked if I would be okay with donating a couple cases of Tito’s back to the charity so people could keep taking swings. At that point I had quite a few spiked Arnold Palmer’s, plus four cases of Tito’s seemed like way more than I needed. So I donated some back. The event ended and I was still the only person to hit the target ALL DAY! Mike took the Tito’s I donated back and gave them to a guy that volunteered to pitch after Ricky Bo left. I was glad to hear that because as soon as that guy decided to be the pitcher, I literally said, “That’s a bad move. He’ll be throwing the rest of the day and won’t get to swing for the vodka.” So he certainly earned it. Anyway, I set up a time and place to meet up with the Tito’s representative to cash in on my winnings. The real question was, how many bottles of Tito’s is a “year supply!?”
They gave me two cases, which had 12 – 750ML bottles in each case. I officially won 24 bottles of Tito’s! Imagine if I hadn’t donated some back… I’d have 48!! My liver would hate me for quite some time and I’m absolutely (see what I did there) positive that would last way longer than a year.
They’ve already scheduled another tailgate (you can check out the info at https://thebarkannfoundation.org/phillies-baseball-with-the-barkann-foundation/). I’m not sure if they’ll be doing the Tito’s thing again, but they’ve confirmed that Brad Lidge will be in attendance and Tommy Greene with be pitching the home run derby. Since I won the Tito’s, I get a free ticket to the tailgate. Even if they weren’t doing that for me, you better believe I’d be going back to take a few hacks off of Tommy Greene. Only time will tell if I’ll be taking home ANOTHER year supply of Tito’s!