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'Showdown' to present Murcer Award09/05/2008 6:39 PM ET
This year will mark the third consecutive stop for the Triple-A Championship Game in Oklahoma City. The Oklahoma RedHawks will host the Bricktown Showdown at AT&T Bricktown Ballpark on Tuesday, Sept. 16, at 7:05 p.m.
"The RedHawks are thrilled to host the championship game for a third year," said Scott Pruitt, co-owner and managing partner of the Oklahoma RedHawks. "This game is the World Series of minor league ball and we are fortunate to have a city that embraces the opportunity year after year."
In addition to the nationally televised game, this year will incorporate two significant additions, including a new title sponsor and an inaugural MVP award. The RedHawks announced that Express Employment Professionals will be the title sponsor of the 2008 Triple-A Championship. This partnership encompasses both the game and the various activities that accompany the showdown, including league meetings and a gala the night prior to the game.
"The Bricktown Showdown's in Oklahoma City and our international headquarters is also here. So, locally this partnership makes sense. But it's much more than that. This Championship Game involves two leagues and 30 teams that impact communities throughout the country - just like Express does," said Bob Funk, president and CEO of Express Employment Professionals.
Another first for the 2008 Showdown is the introduction of the Baseball America Bobby Murcer MVP Award. To reflect upon and honor the life of a former Oklahoman and brilliant baseball player, the Baseball America Bobby Murcer MVP Award will be presented to the most valuable player of the championship game. The inaugural award is to be presented by the Murcer family as well as Baseball America.
"The Bricktown Showdown annually highlights the best in Triple-A baseball here in Oklahoma City," said Lee Folger, president of Baseball America. "The event is a great opportunity to celebrate the excellence in baseball that Oklahoma native Bobby Murcer demonstrated in his baseball career on and off the field. With the championship recognized here at the end of the Triple-A season, it is an appropriate time to honor a baseball great who symbolized the best of baseball in the state of Oklahoma. Baseball America is pleased to help support honoring Bobby Murcer and the Triple-A Championship MVP Award.
Murcer, a native Oklahoman, who spent time as major league outfielder from 1965 and 1983 most notably with the New York Yankees died this July of complication from brain cancer. Murcer was also a longtime broadcaster for the Yankees following this retirement from professional baseball. His legacy lives on through his charitable works and his wife Kay and their two children.
"We feel extremely honored to have this award renamed in Bobby's memory," said Kay Murcer. "Twenty years ago when he was president of the Oklahoma City 89ers, he knew this franchise had a great future in Oklahoma and he was very proud when the new Bricktown Ballpark opened with so many of his Yankee pals in attendance for the ribbon cutting ceremony. His one regret over the years was that his heavy broadcasting schedule prevented him from attending many games. We are thankful for keeping his spirit alive with this tribute.
"What a privilege it is for Triple-A Baseball and Baseball America to name the Bricktown Showdown MVP Award after Bobby," said Randy Mobley, president of the International League. "We are grateful to the Murcer family for allowing us to recognize a man that was a great baseball player and a great Oklahoman. Our hope is that the annual recipient of this award will go on to have a "Bobby Murcer type career" and someday garner the level of respect that continues to be afforded to Bobby both within and outside of the game of baseball."
First pitch will be at 7:05 pm CDT. ESPN2 will be providing live television coverage of the game. Radio coverage is being provided by Minor League Baseball via their website, www.milb.com. For detailed schedule of events see below.