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November 13, 2003

Yankees' Pride to Host Wiffle Ball Event

From: Atlanta Journal Constitution, GA - Nov 13, 2003

AP Baseball Writer

Like a lot of kids, Curtis Pride considered himself quite a Wiffle ball pitcher. ''I could make it move like Tim Wakefield. All over the place,'' he said. ''I was nasty.''

But Pride, an outfielder who helped the New York Yankees win a couple of big games against Boston this summer, has no intention of taking any swings this weekend against that zigzagging, plastic white ball.

Pride is hosting a charity Wiffle ball tournament Saturday near his home in Wellington, Fla., about 20 miles inland from West Palm Beach. Hall of Famer Gary Carter, big leaguers Rheal Cormier and Todd Pratt and the San Diego Chicken mascot are among those expected to attend.

This is the second year for the event, which benefits Together with Pride, a nonprofit foundation he formed to help hearing impaired children.

''I've been working on this tournament for nine months with my wife,'' Pride said Thursday. ''I would work on it a couple of hours before I went to the ballpark.''

Pride was called up by the Yankees in July from Triple-A. By the end of the long Fourth of July weekend, he had homered in one game against the Red Sox--drawing a standing ovation at Yankee Stadium _ and delivered a winning grounder the next day.

Pride previously played for Montreal, Detroit, Boston and Atlanta, making it to the majors despite being almost totally deaf.

Carter will throw out the first ball at the tournament and then 48 four-man teams will play. Florida Marlins pitching coach Wayne Rosenthal, former infielder Luis Alicea and major league umpires Ed Rapuano and Angel Hernandez also will take part.

In addition, there will be a silent auction featuring items autographed by Roger Clemens and Cal Ripken Jr.

One thing the full day will not feature: Pride stepping into the batter's box to try his luck against any Wiffle Ball aces.

''No way,'' he said. ''They would make me look silly. People would watch me swing and miss and say, 'He plays in the big leagues? He can't hit.'''


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Copyright 2003, The Associated Press.