It was a grand slam week for Toledo with two events that were all about white balls and where and how they reached their destination and by whom.
I'm talking the 22nd annual Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic presented by Kroger and the 19th Annual Triple-A-All Star event. And in spite of the divots the rain made, it didn't stop both events from scoring.
But last week was about more than just sports. In between the bats and the birdies was one big social event with lots of networking opportunities. In fact, so much so that some partiers barely spied the great golf and baseball talents in town.
PERHAPS Tim Petee, there with his son Andrew, 10, best described Fifth Third Field on Monday night: "It was a field of dreams" for all baseball fans especially of the younger variety.
Speaking of dreams, Andrew Fox's dreams came true when the 13-year-old caught a fly ball with his bare hands. Mike Hart had a flashback of working for the Hens all the way through college. He chased foul balls, sold programs, and looked after the locker rooms. Mr. Hart was with his daughter Shannon, 11, and son Zak, 13.
In the ProMedica suite was head honcho Alan Brass, there with his granddaughter Hailey, 18 months, and his son and daughter-in-law Glen and Carrie Brass, who just moved back from Columbus. Also seen were HT and Nikki Williams, Dana Fike and her grandchildren Aidan Williams, 3 1/2, Thomas, 10, and Madison, 8.
Sweeping the suites were Trent Smith, Dan Bollin, and Jim Henline and grandkids Jilia Auld, 8, and Jake Auld, 10. Steve Saddemi was there with a crew of teens: Nasri Hajjar, 15, Stephen Saddemi, 15, Chris Henningsen, 15, and Daniel Hylant, 15.
The grand finale, the All-Star game, was Wednesday night. Birthday boy Jim Murray was surprised with a party. The sexagenarian was overwhelmed when guests, including the Pink Panther and Jamie Farr, host of the annual LPGA that bears his name, stopped by with presents and a cake.
In the Pepsi suite were actors Shelley Fabares and hubby, Michael Farrell, and Chuck and Sherrie Ealey. Also suite-sweeping were Bernie and Michelle Quilter, Tom Schlachter, and Barbara Steele and her son and daughter-in-law Jim and Amy Bumbaugh and children Gabby 4, and Jaxon, 7, who yelled,"Play ball!" to start the game
At the post game party at the Radisson for sponsors, board members, players, and guests, Stacked Ham cranked up the tunes for nearly 400, including the teams. Of course, Hens GM Joe Napoli was all smiles.
LOTS of business connections and deals are made on the golf course, and this week was no exception as businesses entertained the LPGA guests.
Quiet Please! The chatter dies down except for the occasional whisper or the announcer's voice. After the balls are hit, applause and more chatter erupt until more golfers stroll up.
Larry Boyer was seen on the clubhouse patio on Thursday. Also drifting by were Don Mewhort, Tom McHugh, Doug Howard, and several others. Jane Larsen, an avid golfer at Inverness Club, studied the golfers and later had refreshments in the cool indoors. Also on the patio were golfer Seon Hwa Lee's proud parents, Kyung and Hee Kim. Brian Epstein and Mark Evans checked out the water-soaked fairways.
On Friday, Jim and Angie Rush lunched on the patio. That was before the downpour, when the patio table umbrellas blew away and the play was called off.
It was a family outing for Betsy and Bruce Rumpf, who were there with sons Alex, 15 and Sam, 14. They cruised the course Saturday then breezed through the clubhouse before calling it a day.
Whew, what a schedule for Mr. Farr! In addition to the baseball and golfing events, including the numerous pro-ams, visiting old haunts like Tony Packo's and the Toledo Museum of Art took up his time too. Tuesday night Mr. Farr and his wife, Joy, took Ms. Fabares and Mr. Farrell and the Ealeys to the Beirut, where a feast of monumental proportions awaited. Thursday night they were there again, with a bigger crowd of mainly past LPGA chairmen and sponsors, including Don and Diane Breese, Joel and Daisy Epstein, Susan and Jay Hall, Pam and Mike Hill, Rosalee and Guy Mabry, Jim and Iris Poure, and a host of others. And the fabulous Lebanese fare - Mr. Farr mentioned that it was the best in the country - kept coming and coming, all while Mr. Farr asked, "Did you try this?" Christine Brennan tried the kibbi, just the way Mr. Farr instructed, with pita bread and onions. Then came a giant platter of fruits that included fresh figs and cactus pears. Of course, who could resist the pastries, including coconut macaroons and date cookies? But there was more: Mr. Farr's gigantic birthday cake!
The Farrs were at Mancy's Steakhouse Friday night with another group, including Don and Venice Michel, who seeded the first two tourneys through McDonald's. The Michels made the first Farr happen, and look how far we've come! Also there were former chairman Don Decker and wife, Mary, Mr. Murray, the 2006 chairman was with wife Kay, and Mike Burns of Dana was with wife, Vicki. ESPN announcer Roger Twibell and Mr. Farr's personal assistant for the week, Sharon Toth, who is assisted by Carol Kelly, also were present. Steve Peiffer of Kroger, there with wife Norma, helped guest and golfer Nancy Lopez, there with daughter Tory Knight and niece Katie Carswell. The teens wanted to watch a DVD but had no player where they were staying. They asked Uncle Jamie, who then asked around the room. Sure enough, Mr. Peiffer made a call and the girls had a DVD player.
On Saturday Mr. Farr basked in the sun by the pool before strolling the course to cheer on his pro golfers. Kelly Lagedrost had Charlie Emmenecker of Divots as a caddy. Bill Kitson and his son, Robert, 12, followed the pros as did Don and Judy Turner.
The sky box was a popular spot for Bob Schwab, Sarah Clear, and Brian Mruzek to watch groups come in. It was filled with corporate sections for entertaining guests, including Mr. Farr, who was in the Toledo Edison box. Don and Patty McGraw were in the Merrill Lynch box.
For other corporate guests like Christine Kuminkoski and Melissa Dunlap, the Champions Tent was a great respite from the heat. They also could admire the tent's billowy fabric draped from the ceiling with bright pink, orange, and red sheer fabrics. Chandeliers accented the mahogany wood bar and giant floral arrangements were accented with flowers with golf balls and clubs.
While her husband is busy, Mrs. Farr shops and sees the sights. She went to Levis Commons, Westfield ShoppingTown, Packer Creek Pottery, Toledo Botanical Gardens, and Karen Hajjar's home, where she bought a shawl from Dubai, United Arab Emirates. In Perrysburg, Mrs. Farr lunched at Stella's with Mrs. Murray and Mrs. Michel. Mrs. Farr received a glass flower replica of the restaurant's giant chandelier. Jim Hendricks of Stella's remarked, "The time Jamie and Joy give to our community cannot be measured in dollars and cents."
While all eyes were on the pros, the locals got in on the swing of things in the pro-ams. On Monday, Mercy Health Partners/Basement Experts Pro-Am was at Highland Meadows, where Don Saunders drove a few balls with pro Kathryn Imrie. Tuesday was golf at Inverness for the Toledo Edison/ProMedica Pro-Am, where Tom Palmer missed a putt in front of the clubhouse and pro Tina Tombs. Then it was back to Highland Meadows for the UnitedHealthcare Pro/Celebrity Challenge Shoot-Out. The rain washed out Wednesday's National City Celebrity Pro-Am at Highland Meadows, disappointing Bill Negrini, Dennis Crawford, Lee Ford, and pro Jill McGill.
Yesterday, fans clamored for seats in the stands and the sky box for a prime view of the final round and program for Mi Hyun Kim, the new champ of the Jamie Farr Owen Corning Classic presented by Kroger. That is, until next year, when some other pro could steal the thunder.
While the winner's purse is great, the award to the charities is "farr'' greater. This year, in addition to Ronald McDonald House, the first charity of the Farr, there were more than a dozen recipients.