A coterie of New York’s most distinguished athletes, musicians, and media personalities congregated Thursday night at Yankee Stadium for CC and Amber Sabathia’s celebrity softball game. Torrential rain turned to sunshine, and Team CC prevailed 4-1 over Team Giancarlo in front of a chipper lower bowl crowd. According to Newsday, the game raised $1 million for the Sabathia’s PitCCh In charity, which helps develop inner city youth initiatives. The game was an ultracasual affair highlighted by a handful of standout individual performances. VICE Sports was there to hand out honors:
Best National Anthem: Victory Boyd
The game opened, somewhat surprisingly, with a stunningly good rendition of the national anthem performed by Victory Boyd, a singer who began her career as a busker in Central Park and signed to Roc Nation in 2016. She stood behind home plate, strummed her guitar confidently, and landed her voice cooly in the center of each note. Her performance was flawless and almost poetic—pretty much the opposite of Fergie’s national anthem at the NBA All-Star Game.
Best Friends: Desus & Mero
Desus & Mero arrived at a Yankee Stadium hours after taping the final episode of their Viceland show, and they certainly felt like the cool kids in the building. An inseparable pair of social butterflies, they floated around the field before the game to chop it up with CC, Giancarlo, Action Bronson, and Ebro Darden. During an interview with Peter Rosenberg, they expressed what this game meant to them:
Desus: “We’re here [on the field] legally. It means a lot.”
Mero: “As a Dominican male in his late ‘30s, this is a dream come true.”
But Mero’s lone at-bat did not go as planned. He fell into an 0-2 hole with a pair of missed hacks. Winded, he called time, and Desus came out to give him a pep talk and a mighty slap on the butt. Mero made contact on the third pitch, managing a trickler back to the pitcher.
Best Walk-Up Music: Willie Colon
Big Pun’s “Twinz (Deep Cover ‘98).”
Best Truck Stick: Willie Colon
The retired Steelers and Jets guard grew up five minutes from Yankee Stadium a die-hard Yankees fan; before the game, tears welled in his eyes as he spoke of Jim Leyritz’s walk-off home run in the 1995 ALDS. During his at-bat in the bottom of the third inning, he whacked a ground ball to the left side and, when the throw sailed over the first baseman’s head, he rounded first and went for two with a massive head of steam. The play at second was close, and rather than slide or accept the tag, Big Willie Style took a page from the Pete Rose exhibition game playbook and lowered his shoulder into the chest of second baseman and Hpnotiq brand guru Nick Storm. Luckily, Storm was unscathed.
Best Attire: Amar’e Stoudemire
Stoudemire squandered his one chance at the plate; he popped up to the catcher to end the second inning, stranding two runners. But that didn’t stop him from rocking the most memorable fit of anyone at the game. He roamed right field wearing Gucci shades, a Menorah chain, and his Hebrew name, Yehohshaphat, on the back of his jersey.
Defensive MVP: Nate Robinson
Robinson’s botched bare-handed catch may have resulted in the only run recorded by Team Giancarlo, but he otherwise put on a defensive clinic at third base, sucking up groundballs like a Hoover vacuum. He recorded no less than seven assists in six innings.
Offensive MVP: Mariano Rivera
The game featured an overabundance of infield pop-outs, even from pro athletes like Stoudemire, Antonio Cromartie, and Quincy Enunwa. The only guys who demonstrated any real power were former Yankees Jorge Posada, who flew out to the warning track in center, and Mariano Rivera, who slugged an RBI triple into the left field corner in the first inning.
Best Captain: Leslie Jones
While Victor Cruz made no discernable effort in his role as captain of Team Giancarlo, Leslie Jones captained Team CC with admirable vigor. During Tracy McGrady’s at-bat in the top of the first, she stormed out to home plate to argue balls and strikes with Giancarlo.
In the top of the third, she tugged at her visor and trotted out to the mound under the auspices of making a pitching change. Stoudemire, CC, Desus, Mero, Nate Robinson, Rivera, and Action Bronson huddled around her… and started dancing furiously as soon as the beat dropped in Big Sean’s “Moves.” The image of Action Bronson twerking will be forever seared into the backs of my retinas.
In the bottom of the fourth, Jones pumped up the crowd before her at-bat and called her shot, dramatically pointing to the left-field bleachers, despite the fact that the infield had moved all the way in. She grounded out to second, but rounded the bases anyways.