IN THE NEWS: Staten Island raises 20G for Wounded Warriors

Andrew J Lanza

August 07, 2012

Published: Monday, August 06, 2012, 1:45 AM     by John Anese

The rainstorm that barreled in from left field might have been a mercy in disguise for this rag-tag team of softball "All Stars."

But even though a brief torrential downpour washed out Sunday night's benefit softball game between Oddo's All Stars and the Wounded Warriors at the Richmond County Bank Ballpark at St. George, both sides ended up winners -- the game raised more than $20,000, organizers said.

"The whole point of this was to raise some money, also to go out there and have some fun," said City Councilman Jimmy (Mr. Tranquility) Oddo, who headed up the squad of elected officials, business leaders and Island luminaries.

"We didn't get to have the fun, but thanks to a lot of people collectively -- the Staten Island Yankees, all of my colleagues in government, and my friends on our all-star team -- we're going to be able to put together when all is said and done over $20,000 for the Wounded Warriors. The checks are still coming in, so we'll do more than that," Oddo said.

The Wounded Warriors, a softball team made up of wounded veterans, play around the country to raise money for vets injured in conflicts after Sept. 11, 2001.

Oddo and his squad took the field to practice, and Z-100 personality Elvis Duran popped in for a quick birthday celebration.

Staten Island artist Scott LoBaido had enough time to speed-paint an American flag in front of a crowd of on-lookers before the clouds rolled in.

And the pouring rain didn't stop vocalist Brittneyann Accetta from performing an original song for the audience, but by the time she finished, ballpark staff had covered the diamond with a plastic tarp. By 8 p.m., it became clear that the game would not go on.

"I know you guys put the rain out there because you're afraid of us," joked Bill Hannigan, the Wounded Warriors' physical health and wellness coordinator.

The game itself will likely be rescheduled for this fall or next spring, Oddo said.

So that means Oddo's band of merry batsmen have a little more time to sharpen their skills on the diamond.

"The strategy of this team was to not get injured and make it through. That was the strategy," said Rep. Michael (G-Man) Grimm, who would have played catcher.

And the rainstorm Grimm said, turned out to be divine intervention: "The Lord knew that there was a good chance that our team would have been lying on the ground, and there weren't enough EMTs to get to us."