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LAND -- With baseball being the American pastime, it's only natural that the sport should be paired with other examples of classic Americana. Root beer floats certainly fit that description, and the A's Annual Mug Root Beer Float Day on Wednesday night brought the two together for a good cause.
For 13 years now, Oakland has held the popular charity event, benefitting the Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund. Two hours before Wednesday's game, fans went to the Eastside Club at the Coliseum to buy MUG Root Beer and Orange Crush floats being served by current and former A's players and local media personalities.
Among the A's that scooped ice cream and poured in root beer and orange soda were outfielder Jonny Gomes, shortstop Cliff Pennington, reliever Jerry Blevins and manager Bob Melvin. Blue Moon Odom, Terry Steinbach and David Justice were several of the former players that chipped in to help as well.
Melvin has a personal connection to the cause, as his daughter, Alexi, was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes as a teenager.
All told, the night raised more than $24,000, all of which will go to the JDRF. Besides float sales, money was also raised via tips given in exchange for scoopers' autographs and pictures and a silent auction of sports memorabilia.
Oakland has raised more than $353,000 for the charity since 2003 through MUG Root Beer Float Day.