Dirk and His Cowboys Triumph
Past and present Cowboys stars shone Saturday at the 13th annual Dirk Nowitzki Heroes Celebrity Baseball game, raising money in the process for both the Dirk Nowitzki Foundation and the Heroes Foundation. The 2011 NBA Most Valuable Player stacked his White Sox roster with Cowboys tight end Jason Witten, Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant, quarterback Tony Romo and head coach Jason Garrett, who all aided in Nowitzki’s 17-16 win at Dr Pepper Ballpark in Frisco. Although Romo did not play, only appearing for Dirk’s White Sox as a special dugout coach, the three-time Pro Bowler jokingly told the 9,000 sellout crowd in Frisco that he would have played if Coach Jason Garrett wouldn’t have noticed him.
The total number of Dallas Cowboys present was six. The Blue Sox squad featured former Cowboys wide receiver Terrell Owens and current wideout Terrance Williams, who enters his second season in 2014. Williams had two at-bats and hit singles both times. He scored on his first circle around the bases, though he paid for it when White Sox third baseman Rob Wechsler beaned Williams in the back as the former Baylor Bear crossed home plate. Owens’ popcorn was a little stale. In two at-bats, he only hit one single and then struck out in his final attempt.
Dez Bryant had two at-bats, and was only able to get on base once due to a walk. His final batting attempt featured a strikeout. Similarly, his inconsistency showed up on defense as he dropped a routine pop fly, but then made up for it two batters later with a successful catch in centerfield. Coach Garrett also had two chances at the plate, and his first attempt grounded out in the second inning. Garrett also fielded a midfield ground ball and stood in hesitation as Blue Sox runners loaded the bases. The Cowboys head coach went out on a high note with a single on his last at-bat.
The most successful Dallas Cowboy of the game was Jason Witten. Like all of his teammates, he only had two at-bats, but he made the most of them by hitting singles that drove in a run each. The future Hall-of-Famer also caught a pop fly in center field during the third inning. The tight end did have some embarrassing moments too however, like getting tagged out after his first time on-base and also dropping a routine pop fly.
There was some real baseball (ex-Major Leaguer Ben Grieve homered) and some major silliness: Nowitzki ran backwards to first base on a single after having bunted in the home-run contest. Mavs coach Rick Carlisle grabbed some drumsticks and joined the Mavs’ drum line. Former Mavericks forward Brian Cardinal actually shared the MVP with Dirk as he had the game-winning hit, a bases-clearing two-out double. The fly ball got past a hard-charging Terrell Owens. The White Socks scored seven runs during their comeback in the bottom of the sixth inning.
In the end, the Cowboys had fun helping out Dirk’s cause. “We have so much respect for Dirk and the Mavericks,” Garrett said. “It’s fun for us to be a part of the Cowboys and to be a part of an event like this. I think it’s a pretty unique event to actually be playing a baseball game. You know, I think guys are used to going to different kinds of charity events. Rarely do they have a uniform with their name on it in the locker. I think it’s such a great thing to be a part of. We have so much respect for these guys and are fortunate to be included in it.”
“We all get pulled in a million directions every day, so it really means a lot to us that you guys made this happen,” Nowitzki said at a pre-game press conference.
The Cowboys left the game after the fourth inning, but their efforts helped Nowitzki secure his first ever win and MVP award. … And helped make this the first sellout in the history of the event.