GUNS ‘N’ HOSES: Police and firefighters produce hits and runs for multiple charities at Las Vegas Ballpark
Squint, turn your head a little, have another sip of beer and you could have seen a plausibly competitive baseball game at Las Vegas Ballpark on Aug. 25. Representatives of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and Las Vegas Fire & Rescue took the field in the annual “Guns ’n’ Hoses” charity game.
It was the first time Las Vegas Ballpark, new home of the Las Vegas Aviators, has hosted the game, which had been played at Cashman Field since the early 1990s. After a long hiatus, this rebooted, third annual game had all the trappings of an Aviators game and more, including extensive pregame ceremonies introducing all participants.
Baseball mascots Spruce and Aviator, plus Buckets (of the Las Vegas Aces WNBA squad) and Cash (of the Las Vegas Lights FC soccer team) vied for fans’ attention. A nattily dressed representative of the Mob Museum delivered game balls in a guitar case to the home plate umpire, and Carnell “Golden Pipes” Johnson sang the National Anthem.
The greatest pregame ovation was for the Fire team’s honorary manager, Vegas Golden Knight Deryk Engelland, who threw one of the ceremonial first pitches.
“Any time you can get out with these guys, the real heroes, and be a part of this is awesome. … It’s a lot of fun, and it’s an honor,” Engelland said. Part of the proceeds will help Engelland’s Vegas Born Heroes Foundation, which honors those who go above and beyond to improve the community.
Malik Smith, whose ties to the event go back to the beginning, said it was the first time he’s stepped foot in Las Vegas Ballpark. He led off and played center field for the Police team. “The rivalry between police and firefighters is like the rivalry between Green Bay and Chicago (in the NFL),” Smith said.
As might be expected, pulling off a double play or catching a runner trying to steal a base was a challenge for men trained for far different occupations. Snow-cone catches, a possible payback pitch to retaliate for a hit batsman, broken bats and a few surprisingly graceful plays kept things interesting.
The Aviators’ ubiquitous recorded crowd prompts, the peppy “Everybody Clap Your Hands,” and Freddie Mercury’s immortal “Ay-Oh” engaged the fans. Between innings, a four-wheeled Fire Department Clown Car performed wheelies and playfully squirted the Police dugout with water — really a blessing in the 100-degree heat.
Roberto Angulo Jr., manager of the Police team, said it was an important way to interact with the community. “It’s kinda different seeing us in these uniforms and not just a guy with a badge and a gun maybe stopping you because you didn’t use a turn signal.”
For braggin’ rights, the Fire team scored three runs in the first inning and never looked back, winning their third “Guns ’n’ Hoses” game in a row, 11-3. More than 1,100 attended, with more than $11,000 raised for charities.
“Part of what we do for the Las Vegas Firefighters Benefit Association is to help out other charities as well,” said Edgar Hernandez, manager of the Fire team. “This is a great way to be able to do that and be able to play baseball, which all of us on the team love doing. We’ve played since we were kids. If we weren’t firemen, we’d be playing professional baseball if we could.”
Portions of the proceeds benefit the Metro Foundation, the Injured Police Officers Fund and the Las Vegas Firefighters Benefit Association. Among the other organizations helped through the ticket sales: Cure 4 the Kids; the local chapter of the Latino Peace Officers Association; Make-A-Wish Southern Nevada; Nevada Childhood Cancer Foundation; Peccole Little League; Muscular Dystrophy Association; Red Rock Little League; and Thunder Baseball.
Named Ballpark of the Year by BaseballParks.com and 2019 MILB (Minor League Baseball) Triple-A Best of the Ballparks by Ballpark Digest voters, Las Vegas Ballpark has hosted other community-minded events since its opening in April. The “Battle for Vegas” charity softball game in June included members and ex-players of the Raiders and the Golden Knights among other teams, and benefited the Tyler Robinson Foundation, which helps fight childhood cancer. And “Flicks on the Field” movie nights continue through October.
The venue will host the “Mexican Baseball Fiesta,” two exhibition games for the Mexican Winter League, Sept. 20-21. It will also host the Ephesus Sports Lighting Triple-A championship game between the winners of the Pacific Coast League and the International League on Sept. 22, 2020.
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