Strikes and spares were the subjects of conversation instead of bats and balls when a group of local children connected with the Orioles for the third annual Manny Machado Celebrity BaseBOWL Tournament at Mustang Alleys, located a few minutes from Camden Yards. The event benefits the Baltimore City Department of Recreation & Parks' Play Baseball program, and Machado enjoys hosting it with his wife, Yainee.
"We're excited for the kids to come out, and we're excited to raise some money," Machado said. "We can just come out here and enjoy ourselves. This is the best part of the day right here, after a loss. We're excited for everyone that's come out here."
Many of Machado's teammates, along with manager Buck Showalter, attended the event after the Orioles lost to the Tigers, 6-5. The O's seemed to have put the defeat behind them, though, as plenty of smiles all could be seen as children and players mingled and bowled with ease.
Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake expressed her appreciation for the event during a brief talk to the crowd at the start. Rawlings-Blake discussed how the tournament helps children in different ways, especially since the tournament has raised about $165,000 over the past two years.
"With efforts like this this evening, we are making sure that young people who might not otherwise have an opportunity to play get to learn what you're learning and what you're passing down about the sportsmanship and all of the life skills that you get from playing baseball," Rawlings-Blake said.
Showalter said that he's glad to see his players contributing to the community.
"I'm real proud of Manny," Showalter said. "You can tell it means a lot to him and his wife. It's one thing to talk about [helping in the community]. A lot of people talk about it, but they don't back it up."
The Orioles and the children bowled on all 12 lanes. Some of the players tried to figure out the mystery of duckpins -- a type of bowling that features smaller pins that's very popular in the Mid-Atlantic region -- while learning more about and showing their skills at tenpins, the type of bowling many see on television. Dylan Bundy started his first game with two strikes, while Chris Davis also had good form.
Players and kids chatted about a wide variety of topics. The Orioles who did not bowl stood nearby and cheered everyone on. There also were a number of baseball and non-baseball related items up for auction.
"I think it's great," Orioles closer Zach Britton said. "It's kind of a cool way to get all of the team together. A lot of people donate for a good cause, too."