Wilmington, DE- The Wilmington Blue Rocks have released the identity of the second celebrity participant in the All-Star Hitting Challenge presented by Bank of America at Frawley Stadium on Monday, June 16. NBC10's Tim Furlong will serve as one of the team captains, as well as participate in the showdown between the two Advanced-A Minor League Baseball leagues. Furlong will lead the Carolina League team, while Spencer Graves, host of 93.7 WSTW's popular morning show, had signed on months ago to captain the group from the California League.
The hitting challenge will feature 12 players-- six from each league - and the two celebrities competing as teams to prove once and for all which coast features the top Advanced-A hitters. Contestants will get 90 seconds to take as many swings as possible at targets that will be littered across Judy Johnson Field at Frawley Stadium. The idea will be to test participants' ability to hit the ball to certain portions of the playing surface.
A player will have to start his time at bat by laying down a successful bunt, then he can swing away to earn points for his team. A ball landing in the infield will be awarded 10 points, the outfield garners 20 points, off the fence or on the warning track gets that player's respective team 25 points, while a home run or a direct hit of a target is good for 50 points.
Targets will be plentiful, yet challenging to hit for the batters. They will all measure around 8'x8', but will come in different shapes and colors. Just to keep things interesting, the Blue Rocks will also have mascots roaming around the outfield, including familiar stadium characters and some fresh faces debuting for the All-Star Extravaganza. If a mascot manages to catch or field any ball hit in its direction, that batter's team will be deducted 10 points.
After all 14 batters have had their turn the points will be tallied and the league with the highest total will be proclaimed the top hitters in Advanced-A.
Furlong joined NBC10 as a general assignment reporter in 2005. Prior to NBC10, he reported for Philadelphia's WPHL-TV, and served as anchor/reporter for WLNE-TV (ABC6) in Providence, RI. He also spent a year as a reporter in Charlottesville, VA, at WVIR-TV and nine months as a field producer at a Washington DC television station in the 90's.
Born in West Chester, PA, Furlong grew up in Glen Mills and attended high school at Salesianum in the First State. He attended American University in Washington, D.C. where he had the opportunity to live and work in Belgium. Shortly after graduation, he continued to find work abroad in Belgium and then Costa Rica.
Furlong currently serves as an adjunct communication professor at Widener University in Chester, PA. He is also a proud supporter of the Police Athletic League and the Billy Mock Foundation. He and his wife Meghan, whom he met in high school, live in Wilmington with their two children.
In fact, the only area where Furlong lacks experience is on the baseball diamond. As one would expect from a television personality, however, he is not lacking in confidence or wit.
"Sure I might not have "muscles" or "baseball experience" but I am going to train hard to whoop Spencer and his California league pals," Furlong said with a mixture of sarcasm and seriousness. "I'm still hoping they change the rules to make this a bunting contest though. I can lay down a mean drag bunt."
Graves was no less confident, and the prominent radio disc jockey also poked fun at himself in response to Furlong's addition to the festivities.
"I'm excited to battle against NBC10's Tim Furlong," Graves said. "I just hope my performance isn't as ugly as my face for radio."
Festivities will begin at 4 p.m. and will feature a Fan Fest with free autographs, live music and much more. The 2014 California League/Carolina League Hitting Challenge, presented by Bank of America, will begin at 6:30 p.m. with the Home Run Derby to follow.
Tickets to the 2014 California League/Carolina League Hitting Challenge, presented by Bank of America are only $8. Thanks to the Blue Rocks partnership with Bank of America, half of the money from all tickets sold to the event will go directly to the Boys And Girls Clubs of Delaware. To get your seats for the Hitting Challenge, or the actual California League/Carolina League All Star Game (also presented by Bank of America) itself on Tuesday, June 17, fans can call 302-888-BLUE or visit BlueRocks.com/AllStar.
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This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.