Bringing Back Baseball special event for SU’s Cador

Former and current baseball stars and fans of America’s pastime flocked to L’Auberge Casino & Hotel on Wednesday night.

The list of baseball celebrities in attendance was long and distinguished including former major league players such as Will Clark, David Dellucci, Al Hrabosky and Lee Smith, for example, and current big leaguers such as Mike Fontenot, Fred Lewis and Rickie Weeks.

Also in attendance were baseball personalities, such as former LSU pitcher Ronnie Rantz, and MLB Network analyst and former MLB player Darryl Hamilton.

The reasoning behind it? To commemorate the eighth annual Bringing Back Baseball Gala.

The event is special for many reasons, but its most important aspect is to help generate interest in baseball for the inner cities.

Southern baseball coach Roger Cador has been the orchestrator of the event since its inauguration in 2005, along with the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association, and expressed how much the night means to him.

“It’s a really special evening for myself,” Cador said. “Not that it just helps Southern University, but what it does for youth programs and baseball in the inner cities. Giving back and trying to help the less fortunate.”

“The biggest thing this event means to me is to help bring baseball to the black community,” former Jaguars baseball standout Weeks added.

For Fontenot, a seven-year MLB veteran and World Series champion in 2010 with the San Francisco Giants, Wednesday night was special to him because of the meaning behind the event.

“I love coming back and supporting the movement of getting the youth back into baseball,” Fontenot said. “That’s what it’s really all about, and they do a great job of promoting it here.”

In addition to help generate interest in the game of baseball, the gala also serves as a fundraiser for the Jaguar baseball program, as well as generating revenue for Baton Rouge Little League Baseball.

The festivities included dinner, a silent auction, a live auction, laughter and a good time for everyone.

Among the items that were auctioned off were various baseball memorabilia including autographed pictures of legends Hank Aaron and Darryl Strawberry, as well as tickets to the 40th Annual Bayou Classic between Southern University and Grambling on Nov. 30, among many of pieces of baseball lore.

Cador said he is excited about the current progress of the event, and sees an even brighter future.

“I think the event is going to continue to grow,” Cador said. “But we need to get more people involved. The people that it’s going to benefit the most, we would love to get them more involved. The worst thing that you can have a society do is sit back and wait for someone to give you something. The hand-out type of situation stagnates you, it does harm, and it never allows you to use your creative energy.

“There are some situations where people do need help, but I think if you go out there and try to make the effort to better yourself, the greater chance that your success is going to be.”