On Monday, April 11, the entire Toronto Blue Jays roster took the field at Rogers Centre in support of Jays Care Foundation for The Curve Ball Gala, presented by Samsung, Cisco, Ericsson, Rogers and Huawei. More than 1,400 VIP guests made their way to Rogers Centre for the unique, opening week gala hosted by Sportsnet's Jamie Campbell and Evanka Osmak and raised over $1.24 million for Jays Care Foundation.
Funds raised from the first of two Jays Care signature events will be used to facilitate Jays Care initiatives across Canada, including best-in-class baseball for development programming and capital space investments.
"Given our unique position as the only Major League team in the country, we have both the privilege and the obligation to enrich communities across the country," said Robert Witchel, Executive Director of Jays Care Foundation. "Events such as The Curve Ball Gala not only provide unique, unparalleled access to the Blue Jays but, more importantly, enable Jays Care to invest millions of dollars in communities from coast to coast every year. Our guests tonight can recreate their own 'bat flip,' choose their very own limited-edition Blue Jays hats and take to the field with the reigning AL MVP. It's a one-of-a-kind evening and the funds raised will create positive social change in communities across the country."
"What an incredible way for Blue Jays fans to kick off the 40th season of baseball in Toronto," said Guy Laurence, President & CEO, Rogers Communications Inc. "We all like to win in baseball, but the game is about much more than that and Jays Care uses baseball intentionally to keep kids active with healthy lifestyles. We're pleased to support such a worthy cause."
Guests were entertained by musical performances while mingling with Blue Jays players during the Grand Slam Cocktail reception on the stadium concourse and enjoyed a gourmet dinner served in the outfield. Tulowitzki's office in the infield hosted a Blue Jays 40th Anniversary museum which included both World Series trophies and the infamous "bat flip" bat, and Blue Jays alumni Devon White and Duane Ward were on hand to provide pointers at the "fast pitch" station, where guests tested the radar guns with their best fastballs.
Before the night was out, silent auction items including the opportunity to play baseball on the Rogers Centre field, a Private Air trip to New York to watch the Jays on the road, and a trip to the 2017 Masters were taken home by lucky guests, as was the night's grand prize, a 2016 Honda Civic Sedan Touring.
The Curve Ball was made possible by the support of our generous sponsors: Ericsson Canada Inc., Cisco Systems Limited, Samsung, Huawei Technologies Canada, Hitron, Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP, HPE Canada Co., LG Canada, Facebook, Urbacon, Qualcomm Technologies Inc., SunLife Financial, Aramark, Fasken Martineau, ZTE Canada Inc., Casa Systems, Inc., GFL (Green for Life), Scotiabank, LinkedIn, Citibank, Private Air, WestJet, New Era, Honda, Sportsnet, and TD.
Jays Care's signature program, Rookie League, is a sport for development program that uses baseball to teach teamwork, cooperation, determination and resiliency to more than 8,000 children and youth in marginalized communities across Canada. In 2016, Jays Care will invest over $4 million across Canada in programs and projects in support of children and youth.