FRISCO -- Dallas Mavericks superstar Dirk Nowitzki took his second swing at hosting the Heroes Celebrity Baseball game with what turned out to be the largest crowd in the event's 12-year history. While Dirk's Blue Sox squad dropped the game 19-9 to the White Sox, the real winners of the evening turned out to be the the Dirk Nowitzki Foundation and the Heroes Foundation as it was announced that the event has raised $2.9 million to help Dallas-area kids.
The big storyline going into the 2012 edition of this event was Dallas Stars legend Mike Modano passing the torch of hosting duties to Dirk and the news of that night's game was the MVP performance of former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Terrell Owens and entertaining antics of Charles Barkley. Many of the big names from last year including Barkley and Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant, were absent from this game -- Modano missed the game for the first time since it began because he was in New York City with the Dallas Stars for the NHL Draft -- but the fun times were still had by those in attendance at Dr Pepper Ballpark.
Some of the familiar faces that were on hand included Mavs owner Mark Cuban, Mavs players Vince Carter, O.J. Mayo and Jae Crowder, former Mavs J.J. Barea, Michael Finley, Eduardo Najera, Brian Cardinal and Devin Harris, Cowboys cornerback Brandon Carr, former Cowboys Drew Pearson, Roy Williams and Terrell Owens. A last minute addition to the Blue Sox roster was Westlake resident Nick Jonas.
As for the game, the manager David Justice's Blue Sox got off to a dominating start with a 9-1 lead after two innings. However, Goose Gossage's White Sox came roaring back behind the offense of last year's MVP Owens and this year's MVP Williams to win the game going away, 19-9. Williams had a triple that turned into an unofficial inside-the-park home run when he scored on one of the many throwing errors on the night.
After sitting out last year's contest, Cuban was back on the field. His three plate appearances did not result in any hits, but with his background music being the Travie McCoy hit Billionaire and his jersey number simply a "$" sign, he certainly left his mark on the game and was a welcome return.
This event has turned into a big deal for the Frisco area as it brings sports fans from all over the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex to the city and experience what it has to offer. After batting practice on Friday, we dropped by the 3rd Base Sports Bar & Grill that is across the street from the ballpark. It was my second visit in the past few weeks to this sports bar, but this time we were in the company of Cuban and Michael Finley.
Another fun night was had for the 2013 edition of Dirk Nowitzki's Heroes Celebrity Baseball Game. With many of the celebrities including Carr and Williams signing autographs for fans during the game and making things so fan-friendly, expect the success of the game to continue to thrive into the foreseeable future.
FOLLOW JAY BETSILL ON TWITTER @THEFAMOUSJAY