WooSox and Country Bank Present Inaugural Police vs. Fire Baseball Classic
On Monday, September 26, Polar Park hosted the Inaugural Police vs. Fire baseball classic, presented by Country Bank. A century-old tradition between the Worcester Fire and Worcester Police Departments was restored.
In memoriam to late Worcester Police Officer Enmanuel "Manny" Familia, all proceeds benefited the Manny 267 Foundation. Officer Familia made the ultimate sacrifice on June 4, 2021, when he dove into Green Hill Pond in an attempt to save a drowning teenage boy.
The foundation distributes "Manny Tubes," life saving floatation devices, to police departments across the country to provide water safety training for their officers and swimming lessons for children.
The game was headlined by an opening ceremony. Firefighters and police officers gathered on the steps of St. John's Church to pay respects to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty. They then marched down Temple Street, Green Street, over Canal Street, and entered Polar Park through Plymouth Street. Once they arrived at Polar Park, these brave members of our community were greeted by a giant American flag suspended between two fire trucks. Serenaded by cheers from a packed Polar Park, the players made their way onto the field to line up for the national anthem.
Worcester Police Officer Tom Hurley delivered a beautiful rendition of the national anthem while the players were lined up on their respective baselines. Hurley then performed an original song called, "A Hero Doesn't Live Here Anymore," which he wrote to honor his late colleague and dear friend, Enmanuel "Manny" Familia.
The Ceremonial First Pitch was delivered by Police Chief Steven M. Sargent and Acting Deputy Fire Chief Adam Roche. David O'Rourke, a Worcester Police Officer, and his son, who has played for the Minnesota Twins and New York Mets, Ryan O'Rourke, caught these simultaneous first pitches.
Honorary Captains Ava Roy and Eric Familia delivered the game ball to the mound. Ava lost her heroic father , Christopher Roy, on December 9, 2018, when he and his fellow Firefighters fought a terrible basement fire in a three-story apartment building. Wrapping up a very emotional pre-game ceremony, the family of Manny Familia; Morgan Menard, daughter of Firefighter Jason Menard, who gave his life on November 13, 2019; Lieutenant Governor Karyn Politio; Worcester Mayor Joeseph M. Petty; City Councilors Donna Colorio, George Russell, Kate Toomey, and Sarai Rivera; and Acting City Manager of Worcester, Eric Batista, all delivered the two most important words in baseball: "Play Ball!"
The game went on without a hitch, as the scoring started early when Police jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning. The Fire Department responded quickly, as they tied it and then took the lead over the next two innings.
Mother Nature did not cooperate, as the rain brought a lengthy delay, which inevitably turned into a cancellation. Worcester Fire took home the 3-2 victory in a shortened 2Â½-inning game.
On a night filled with so much emotion, the brave men of our community were able to distract us and take our minds away from such terrible things. Baseball can provide just that, an escape from the outside world.
$15,670 was raised for the Manny 267 Foundation. Country Bank presented the check to the WooSox Familia, a new WooSox Foundation program that supports the Manny 267 Foundation. This money will be used to help provide and support water safety training for numerous Police departments throughout our country. We look forward to this event becoming an annual tradition in the wonderful world of Worcester.
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