Beautiful uptown Burbank was the place to be this past Saturday for LA-area soap fans. Stars from Days of Our Lives teamed up against stars from Passions to give fans, family and friends a fun afternoon in the southern California sun.
Fun and games aside, the real reason for the two soaps facing off in softball was to raise money for their charity of choice: Children of the Night. From the looks of the fan turnout, I'd say the fund-raising was a definite success!
We arrived an hour before game time. The joint was already rocking. Fans formed a long line outside the playing field to buy their admission tickets (a $10.00 donation to Children of the Night) and bid on a silent auction for prizes that included autographed scripts, a day on the set, a photo with the entire casts of either show, and selected wardrobe items worn by the stars. Passions controlled the right field side of the ball park. Days had left field. Fans of each show rapidly filled the respective bleachers.
Security was minimal as crowd control was primarily the function of the publicity departments of each show. This turned out to be a bonus for fans, as they were able to mingle with their favorite stars. The stars didn't seem to mind, as they graciously posed for photos, signed autographs and answered questions about their storylines, all in between taking turns warming up on the outfield.
Several Passions cast members, including Bruce Michael Hall (Reese), Rodney Van Johnson (TC), Eva Tamargo Lemus (Pilar), and Tracey Ross (Eve), caused the Passions fans to scream in delight as they began tossing cold drinks into the stands.
Others brought family and friends to cheer them on. Austin Peck (Austin, Days) even brought his dog. At least I think it was his dog. The dog followed him around everywhere, and even made it into the Days of Our Lives team photo!
Some stars came down to support the event even if they didn't play. Like Ben Masters (Julian, Passions) who kept his fellow cast members in stitches as they were trying to warm up. He is quite the quick wit, and great fun to be around. James Reynolds (Abe, Days) didn't actually play in the game, but served as Days team manager.
The event was sponsored by a local LA radio station, STAR 98.7, with radio personality Bradley T. Wright (who appeared on Passions as the orderly in the psychiatric ward on March 14 and 15, 2000) as the host. He got the crowd psyched as he introduced each show. He kept announcing the names of the two soaps and pointing to the respective team. With each mention of Passions, the Passions fans screamed. With each mention of Days of Our Lives, the Days fans screamed. This was Wright's way of determining who were the bigger fans, much to everyone's delight. I think it was a tie!
Wright then introduced the players. Passions stars were a little shy about running out on to the field as their names were called. Instead, they waved a catcher's mitt in the air, or clapped at the mention of their name or the name of a teammate. Wright recommended getting body doubles to stand in for them -- or in this case -- run down the field and take bows for them at home plate. Jesse Metcalf (Miguel, Passions) and Travis Schuldt (Ethan, Passions) got the loudest response from fans.
Days stars, on the other hand, were a bit more bold. They danced out onto the field as they were introduced. The big crowd pleasers were Kevin Spirtas (Craig, Days), Jason Cook (Shawn, Days) and Patrika Darbo (Nancy, Days).
By this time all the stars were pumped, primed and ready to play ball! The fans were happy to sit back and watch the game. There was only one thing left! The singing of the national anthem. Lindsay Korman (Theresa, Passions) got the ball rolling (no pun intended!) with her stylized rendition of the Star Spangled Banner to thunderous applause.
And the game begins!
Patrika Darbo (Nancy, Days) pitched for Days of Our Lives. Tracey Ross (Eve, Passions), and Denise Mark (Associate Producer, Passions) pitched for Passions. Not one of the guys pitched for either team. At least, not that I recall.
Farah Fath (Mimi, Days) is a natural and fearless at this game. She slid into base and gladly soiled her navy t-shirt and slacks with the dust of the playing field. She wore that dust proudly for the rest of the game.
Julianne Morris (Greta, Days) was so excited that she actually made contact with the ball her first time up at bat. Too bad it was a pop up fly ball.
Austin Peck (Austin, Days), who played leftfield, was disappointed that he had to sit out a few innings to give some other cast members a chance to play.
Midway through the second inning, Nadia Bjorlin (Chloe, Days) still had no idea what position she was going to play. "They haven't told me yet," she said with a laugh. "I just hope I don't strike out!"
Then, Jesse Metcalf (Miguel, Passions) takes the plate. He's poised, he's confident, he's cool and calm. It's the wind up. And the pitch. Bang! Zoom! Crack! The ball hits the bat. Jesse whacks that sucker clear out of the ball park! The crowd goes wild. Grown men scream. Two guys from down the block race to chase after the ball. The crowd cheers as Metcalf rounds home plate! Passions is definitely in the lead.
Chea Courtney (Angel Girl, "Passions"), showed flashes of greatness similar to that of her father, baseball superstar Pete Rose, when she belted a ball into the outfield for a double.
It was a seven inning game, with a fourth inning stretch. The raffle and silent auction winners were announced during the fourth inning break. Then it was back to finish the game. The winners? Passions by a landslide. Final score: 14-7.
The teams congratulated each other in centerfield, and more raffle winners were announced. Then, stars returned to the sidelines and mingled again with the fans. Many an autograph was signed. Many a photo taken. Many a fan went home having spent some quality time with their favorite star.
But the most rewarding outcome of the event is the considerable money that was raised. All proceeds of the raffle, silent auction and the cost of admission were donated to Children of the Night. Children of the Night was established in 1979 by Dr. Lois Lee, out of a growing concern for children who are forced into prostitution or pornography. The shelter provides refuge, food and skilled counsel for abused teenagers as they await placement in a suitable environment. Services include food, clothing, emergency medical care, crisis intervention, assessment of academic abilities, foster home placement and a 24-hour hotline to help get exploited young boys and girls off the streets.
Here's the official game roster. Were your favorites on the team?
|Passions||Days of our Lives|
|Chea Courtney (Angel Girl)||Jensen Ackles (Eric)|
|Galen Gering (Luis)||Austin Peck (Austin)|
|Bruce Michael Hall (Reese)||Nadia Bjorlin (Chloe)|
|James Hyde (Sam)||Steve Blackwood (Bart)|
|Dalton James (Hank)||Jason Cook (Shawn)|
|Brook Kerr (Whitney)||Patrika Darbo (Nancy)|
|Eva Tamargo Lemus (Pilar)||Farah Fath (Mimi)|
|Jesse Metcalfe (Miguel)||Jay Johnson (Philip)|
|Tracey Ross (Eve)||Matt Mahaney (Kurt)|
|Travis Schuldt (Ethan)||Peter Reckell (Bo)|
|Dana Sparks (Grace)||James Reynolds (Abe)|
|Molly Stanton (Charity)||Kevin Spirtas (Craig)|
|Rodney van Johnson (TC)||Kristen Storms (Belle)|
|Peter Brinkerholf (Director)||Aaron Van Wagner (Jason)|
|Denise Mark (Associate Producer)||Arianne Zucker (Nicole)|
|Richard Schilling (Producer)||Julianne Morris (Greta)|
|Karen Wilkens (Director)|
|Jody Breedon (Production)|
|< Prev||Next >|