Going To Bat For Good Causes Legendary game pits artists v. writers to aid four local charities

When: 08/17/2019, 1:15 pm - 11:00 pm

The 71st annual Artists & Writers Charity Softball Game will be held August 17 at East Hampton’s Herrick Park, and there’s bound to be some surprising faces as long as some familiar ones. Organizers never know who’s going to show up, and that at-the-last-minute, Hamptons-summer reality makes it even more interesting when those like former MLB catcher and Yankees Manager Joe Torre, Cincinnati Reds and New York Mets left-handed pitcher John Franco, President Bill Clinton, and New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani decide to stop by.

         “We never truly know who will come out for the game, and, over the years, we’ve been able to surprise our fans with talented people they never thought they’d see running around on a softball field,” said Leif Hope, longtime organizer of the event. “Our game is also one of the few fundraisers out here that anyone can attend.”

         There’s a suggested $10 admission, although attendees are never turned away. Hope said, in fact, he finds the year-in-year-out fans give more. What makes the fundraiser, which raises money from sponsorships, donations, and T-shirt sales, different from other seasonal campaigns, is the event doesn’t benefit a national organization.

Raffles and field-side seating will be available starting at 1:15 PM Saturday. Player batting practice starts at 1:30 PM. The artist and writer squads will be lining up for pre-game festivities at 2:45 PM. Choral Society of the Hamptons is singing the national anthem, and Paramount’s Hot Bench judge Pat DiMango will deliver the ceremonial first pitch at 3 PM.

         Singer-songwriter Caroline Doctorow — whose father, the late, great writer E.L. Doctorow, played in games past — is expected to perform her rendition of Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land” during the seventh-inning stretch.

         August 17 is a “Day of Celebration” planned by East Hampton Village, with the East Hampton Chamber of Commerce staging its first Summer Festival, from 10 AM to 5 PM, in the playground area adjacent to the field off Newtown Lane. Following the Artists & Writers game, the East Hampton Fire Department is hosting its annual fireworks display at Main Beach, set to start at 8:30 PM.