RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The Richmond Flying Squirrels announced details of Eastern League All-Star Week events on Tuesday, highlighting special guests for the Celebrity Home Run Derby, musical performers for all four days of the festivities and other special events.
MAYOR LEVAR STONEY’S ALL-STAR WEEK KICKOFF AT BROWN’S ISLAND | SUNDAY, JULY 7
The All-Star festivities open with Mayor Levar Stoney’s All-Star Week Kickoff on Sunday, July 7 at Brown’s Island. The FREE event will include live music, entertainment and delicious selections from Richmond’s nationally-recognized food and beverage scene.
The headlining musical acts for the All-Star Week Kickoff include Mighty Joshua and Trongone Band.
About Mighty Joshua
Independent Reggae Artist Mighty Joshua engages audiences by opening minds and activating bodies through song. Conscious lyrics flow freely to create distinctive refrains that pulse with pride against rhythms rooted in percussion. His soulful exploration in the evolution of sound creates an expression of reggae for the modern day.
About Trongone Band
Hailing from Richmond, The Trongone Band is touring in support of their debut album, “Keys to the House,” released on Harmonized Records. With a sound that Paste Magazine likens to the “freak-outs of My Morning Jacket with the Muscle Shoals-inspired Leslie speakers and The Band’s narrative storytelling,” The Trongone Band is turning heads and making an impact on the Southern Rock ‘n’ Soul and Americana scenes.
ALL-STAR COUNTRY MUSIC JAM AT RICHMOND RACEWAY | MONDAY, JULY 8
Richmond native Mickie James has been added to the list of performers for the All-Star Country Music Jam on Monday, July 8 at Virginia Credit Union LIVE! at Richmond Raceway. James joins the line-up which already includes country music stars Big & Rich, Cowboy Troy and DJ Sinister.
About Mickie James
James has been a fixture in the wrestling world with the WWE since 2005. Musically, she released her debut album, Strangers & Angels in 2010. In 2013 she released her second album, Somebody’s Gonna Pay. James’ albums have received positive reviews from publications such as Country Weekly and CMA Magazine and led to TV appearances on Fox & Friends and Red Eye. James has also shared the stage with other country music recording artists such as Rascal Flatts, Montgomery Gentry, Gretchen Wilson and Randy Houser among others. She has performed in concerts across the globe and has also performed at the CMA Fest.
EASTERN LEAGUE ALL-STAR CELEBRITY HOME RUN DERBY & ALL-STAR PEP RALLY | TUESDAY, JULY 9
On Tuesday, July 9, the Flying Squirrels will host the Eastern League Celebrity Home Run Derby, featuring the All-Star players and special guests participating in a series of home run and hitting challenges. The event will feature a star-studded list of participants with ties to the Richmond area from across the sports and entertainment world.
The celebrity guests for the event include NASCAR driver Elliott Sadler, former VCU and NBA star Eric Maynor, former Penn State and Seattle Seahawks Super Bowl champion Michael Robinson, former University of Virginia and New Orleans Saints quarterback Aaron Brooks, University of Richmond head men’s basketball coach Chris Mooney, VCU head men’s basketball coach Mike Rhoades, former University of Richmond and NFL running back Tim Hightower, former Flying Squirrels standout Mark Minicozzi, Survivor star Jonny Fairplay and former VCU basketball player and current Indianapolis Colts tight end Mo Alie-Cox.
About Elliott Sadler
A native of Emporia, Va., Elliott Sadler has raced across a combined 22 seasons in NASCAR’s top national circuits, including 16 seasons in the Cup Series. During his decorated career, Sadler drove for some of the most storied teams in racing, including the Wood Brothers, Robert Yates Racing, Richard Petty Motorsports, Joe Gibbs Racing, Roush Fenway Racing and JR Motorsports.
Sadler picked up three career Cup Series wins and 69 top-ten finishes in his career. He qualified for the first-ever Chase for the Nextel Cup in 2004. In the Xfinity Series, Sadler finished in second place in the final standings four times (2011, 2012, 2016 and 2016) and won 13 races. He was selected as the Nationwide/Xfinity Series Most Popular Driver four times, more than any other driver. Sadler was the cover athlete for the EA Sports video game NASCAR 07 and was featured on the special-edition cover of NASCAR 09.
Sadler retired from full-time racing following the 2019 season, but he returned to run the ToyotaCare 250 at his home track, Richmond Raceway, back in April.
About Eric Maynor
VCU basketball’s all-time leading scorer, Eric Maynor became one of the Rams’ most beloved players during his four years in the black and gold. Maynor, who also holds the top spot on VCU’s career assist leaderboard, was a two-time CAA player of the year and is perhaps best remembered for his game-winning shot against Duke in the 2007 NCAA Tournament.
After graduating in 2009, Maynor became the first VCU player ever selected in the first round of the NBA Draft and went on to enjoy a five-year NBA career. His No. 3 jersey is one of five retired in the Siegel Center rafters today.
About Michael Robinson
A native of Richmond, Michael Robinson played eight seasons in the National Football League with the San Francisco 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks. He was selected for the Pro Bowl in 2011 and was part of Seattle’s Super Bowl XLVIII championship. Robinson scored two touchdowns as a rookie with the 49ers in 2006 and primarily played fullback beginning in 2008.
During his collegiate career at Penn State, Robinson played multiple positions including quarterback and running back. In 2005, Robinson was selected as the Big Ten Conference Offensive Player of the Year and was named Second-Team All-Big Ten, and he finished the season ranked fifth in Penn State’s storied history in single-season passing yards. Robinson was included on several award watch lists and finished fifth in Heisman Trophy voting that season as Penn State won the Big Ten and defeated Florida State in the Orange Bowl.
An alum of Varina High School, Robinson serves as an analyst on various programs across the NFL Network. He is the founder of the Excel to Excellence Foundation, which encourages kids to excel in academics and society.
About Aaron Brooks
A native of Newport News, Va., Aaron Brooks played seven seasons in the National Football League with the New Orleans Saints and the Oakland Raiders, throwing for 20,261 yards and 123 touchdowns.
With the Saints, Brooks started 82 games over six seasons. He is ranked third in all-time passing yards and second in all-time touchdown passes in Saints history. In the 2000 season as a rookie, Brooks helped lead the Saints to the NFC West championship and the first playoff victory in Saints history against the defending Super Bowl champion St. Louis Rams with four touchdown passes. Brooks was inducted into the Saints Hall of Fame in 2014.
Prior to being drafted by New Orleans in the fourth round in 1999, Brooks was a starting quarterback at the University of Virginia in 1997 and 1998, where he passed for 5,118 yards and 33 touchdowns, while also rushing for 14 touchdowns in his career. In 1998 with Brooks at quarterback, the Cavaliers reached as high as seventh in the AP Poll and went 9-2 in the regular season, earning a bid in the Peach Bowl.
About Chris Mooney
The winningest coach in the University of Richmond men’s basketball history, Chris Mooney has been a stable force on the Spiders’ bench since 2005. In his 14 seasons at Richmond, Mooney has led his team to seven postseason appearances, including back-to-back trips to the NCAA Tournament in 2010 and 2011, and the program’s second-ever trip to the Sweet Sixteen in 2011.
An alum of Princeton and a native of Philadelphia, Mooney is the second longest-tenured coach in the Atlantic 10 and ranks fifth all-time in conference history with 250 wins at the University Richmond.
About Mike Rhoades
Mike Rhoades became the 12th head coach in the history of VCU men’s basketball in 2017 and has quickly found success with the Rams, leading the team to a 2019 Atlantic 10 regular season championship and NCAA Tournament at-large berth in just his second season on Broad Street – all en route to becoming the 2019 Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year.
After thirteen years as a coach at Randolph-Macon, Rhoades joined Shaka Smart’s staff at VCU as an assistant coach in 2009 and was part of the team’s 2011 Final Four run. He returned to VCU in 2017 after three years as the head man at Rice, where he led the Owls to their second-best season in program history in his third year.
About Tim Hightower
A former running back at the University of Richmond, Tim Hightower played six seasons in the National Football League for the Arizona Cardinals, Washington Redskins and New Orleans Saints. For his career, he ran for 2,977 yards and 32 touchdowns, plus caught 162 receptions for 1,208 yards and two touchdowns.
Hightower earned All-Conference honors in his junior and senior seasons for the University of Richmond Spiders, and he ran for 1,924 yards as a senior and scored 20 touchdowns, finishing ranked sixth in the nation in rushing yards. The Arizona Cardinals drafted Hightower in the fifth round in 2008. After four years away from the NFL, Hightower returned with the New Orleans Saints in 2015, where he played the final two seasons of his professional career.
About Mark Minicozzi
A member of the Flying Squirrels in 2012 and 2013, Mark Minicozzi had one of the most decorated careers of any hitter in team history while in Richmond. Over his 209 games with the Squirrels, Mincozzi played first base, second base, third base, shortstop, left field and right field.
Minicozzi’s name fills the Flying Squirrels’ record books. He holds the team’s single-season record for most runs scored (74), most walks (62), highest on-base percentage (.400), most sacrifice flies (11) and highest batting average in a single month (.427 – May 2013). Minicozzi also holds the mark for the second-best batting average in a season in team history (.309) and the fifth-best slugging percentage in a single season (.445). His career .299 average is the fourth-best in franchise history.
Minicozzi was an Eastern League All-Star with the Flying Squirrels in 2013. He played 12 total professional seasons, totaling over 1,000 games played.
About Jonny Fairplay
A native of Danville, Va., Jonny Fairplay was a competitor and a memorable star on two seasons of the hit television show, Survivor.
Along with 15 other castaways, Fairplay was a member of the seventh season of the Survivor series, Survivor: Pearl Islands. He lasted 38 of the 39 days in Panama before being voted out, finishing the season in third place. The season aired during the fall of 2009.
Fairplay returned for the 16th season of the show, which aired in the spring of 2008. The season, dubbed Survivor: Micronesia – Fans vs. Favorites, was filmed in Palau, and Fairplay finished in 20th place. Since his first run on Survivor, Fairplay has been featured in numerous television shows.
About Mo Alie-Cox
Now a tight end on the gridiron for the Indianapolis Colts, Mo Alie-Cox endeared himself on the hardwood to VCU basketball fans during his four years with the Rams thanks to his rim-rattling dunks and emphatic blocked shots. With a 7-foot-2 wingspan and 250-pound frame, Alie-Cox became VCU’s all-time leader in career shooting percentage and ranks second in career blocks.
Despite last playing organized football during his freshman year of high school, the Arlington, Va. native was signed by the Colts in 2017 and caught his first career touchdown from Andrew Luck on October 28, 2018.
Additional participants will be announced in the coming weeks.
The band Three Sheets to the Wind will perform following the Celebrity Home Run Derby.
The Flying Squirrels also announced that on Tuesday, July 9, there will be an All-Star Pep Rally in downtown Richmond from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in partnership with Venture Richmond.
EASTERN LEAGUE ALL-STAR GAME & SQUIRRELS WAY ALL-STAR BLOCK PARTY | WEDNESDAY, JULY 10
The Eastern League All-Star Game will take place on Wednesday, July 10 at The Diamond, featuring the top star players and numerous future major leaguers from all 12 of the league’s clubs.
Prior to the All-Star Game, the team will host the Squirrels Way All-Star Block Party at The Diamond. The band Spiderkelly will be performing prior to the All-Star Game.
Before the All-Star Game on July 10, fans can meet the stars of the Eastern League during an autograph session, featuring the All-Star players from the Eastern and Western Divisions. The All-Star teams will be comprised of the top players from around the league, with affiliates of the San Francisco Giants, New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Washington Nationals, Baltimore Orioles, New York Mets, Cleveland Indians, Pittsburgh Pirates, Toronto Blue Jays, Detroit Tigers, Colorado Rockies and Philadelphia Phillies.
ALL-STAR WEEK LEGACY SCHOLARSHIP
The Flying Squirrels announced the details for the All-Star Legacy Scholarship, which will carry on the impact of the All-Star Week long beyond this summer’s festivities. Through this scholarship, Richmond Flying Squirrels Charities and partners will honor RVA region students who are committed to improving their community and are involved in an athletic sport. One student will receive a $5,000 renewable award.
The winner of the scholarship will be announced during the Eastern League All-Star Game festivities on Wednesday, July 10. Details and application information can be found here.
Information for all events of the 2019 Eastern League All-Star Week presented by Genworth can be found at SquirrelsBaseball.com/AllStar. Tickets for the All-Star Week Country Music Jam, All-Star Celebrity Home Run Derby and the 2019 Eastern League All-Star Game are available online at SquirrelsBaseball.com, by phone at 804-359-FUNN (3866) or in person at the Flying Squirrels ticket office.
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