More than 800 VIP guests, decked out in denim and diamonds, made their way to Rogers Centre on Thursday for the much-anticipated Jays Care Foundation fundraiser, The Curve Ball, presented by Rogers, Ericsson and Cisco. Heavy hitters from corporate Canada -- including Blue Jays ownership, the Jays Care board of directors and the 2012 Toronto Blue Jays players, coaches and special alumni guests -- took the field to help children and youth in need across Canada.
The Curve Ball attendees enjoyed an evening emceed by Sportsnet's Buck Martinez and Keith Pelley, president of Rogers Media. Guests were entertained by musical performances from Soular, while mingling with Blue Jays players during the Grand Slam Cocktail Reception on the diamond and a gourmet Aramark dinner in the outfield. Ricky Romero, Brandon Morrow and Casey Janssen all made it to the stage to present team jerseys to Grand Slam sponsors Rogers, Ericsson and Cisco.
Throughout the evening, guests were outfitted with official Blue Jays baseball hats in the New Era dugout when they entered the Blue Jays Cap Contest for a chance to win a stunning Tiffany & Co. diamond bangle, a one-year lease courtesy of Discount for a brand new 2012 Honda Pilot or a Panasonic 42" LED TV.
Guests had the opportunity to bid on autographed Blue Jays memorabilia and unforgettable sports experiences, including the chance to be a Jay for a Day, a Holt Renfrew shopping spree, and most popular, a WWE Championship Spinner Replica Title Belt won in the end by Eric Thames.
The evening continued in the outfield with a live auction, featuring once-in-a-lifetime experiences and travel packages, including: a private jet trip to Boston, an ESPY Awards trip, a J.P. Arencibia Home Run Derby package, an ultimate fishing adventure in British Columbia and a trip to Hawaii.
The Curve Ball was a resounding success, raising more than $720,000 for Jays Care Foundation.
The Curve Ball would not be possible without the generous support of all the event sponsors: Rogers Communications Inc., Ericsson, Cisco, Accenture, KMPG, WesTower Communications, HP, Air Canada Foundation, Alpine Access, Aramark, The Boston Consulting Group, RIM, BLJC, Citytv, Coca-Cola, Hitron Technologies, IBM, McMillan, New Era, On-Line Support, Transcontinental, TD Bank, TurnKey Events, Samsung, SCI Group, Sony, Sportsnet, Urbacon, AirSprint, Labatt, McNabb Roick, QCL, Sportsnet, Tiffany & Co. and Vans Philippe Dandurand Wines.
Since 1992, Jays Care Foundation has created opportunities for children and youth in need by providing access to programs that promote regular physical activity, encourage the pursuit of higher education and impart fundamental life skills. The foundation has made possible the building of dedicated, accessible, safe youth spaces for recreational programming -- inspiring engagement through the sport of baseball. In 2011 alone, Jays Care contributed more than $1.4 million to initiatives and facilities across Ontario and beyond, and provided 17,000 kids access to vital programs and services through Field of Dreams funding, Grand Slam Grants, the Home Run Scholars program and and Rookie League camps.