KANSAS CITY -- "The boys are back in town."That was the message on Friday morning as the participants for the ninth annual Big Slick Celebrity Weekend gathered at Children's Mercy Hospital to meet the media ahead of the weekend's events.Comedians and Kansas City natives David Koechner, Rob Riggle, Paul Rudd
KANSAS CITY -- "The boys are back in town."
That was the message on Friday morning as the participants for the ninth annual Big Slick Celebrity Weekend gathered at Children's Mercy Hospital to meet the media ahead of the weekend's events.
Comedians and Kansas City natives David Koechner, Rob Riggle, Paul Rudd and Eric Stonestreet were joined by more than 40 actors, musicians and others for the biggest and most star-studded turnout in the event's history.
"This is the most celebrities we've ever had. They all said, 'Yes!'" Riggle joked. "It's such an honor that so many people have decided to come back and join us this year."
The founders were joined by a few of the other celebrities scheduled to appear, such as "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" star Charlie Day and former American Idol champion David Cook, as they met with several children from the hospital to play games, make jokes and take photos with families.
The money raised from the weekend's events is certainly important, but it's the experience of being able to help and connect on a direct level with the children that brings the event back year after year.
"We're not getting paid for this ... but we leave here with a bank full of smiles and love," Stonestreet said. "It feels a little like we're getting too much credit, because we are getting so much in return."
The celebrities met with the children as a precursor for the weekend's main event: the Celebrity Softball game played before the Royals-A's series opener at Kauffman Stadium. Royals Hall of Famer Bret Saberhagen pitched in the softball game.
The game was a slugfest, as the Blue Team jumped out to a 13-0 lead in the first inning. Angela Kinsey, most noted for playing Angela Martin on the hit comedy "The Office," got things moving early by legging out an infield single before running out of the baseline to wave to the crowd. Lucky for her, there was no umpire.
Sporting KC defender Matt Besler had possibly the biggest hit of the game, blasting a three-run homer over the right-field fence -- positioned just behind the edge of the Major League infield.
Former Kansas City Chiefs tight end Tony Gonzalez had a major impact as well, slapping an RBI double to left field shortly after receiving a standing ovation from the home crowd.
Thanks to Gonzalez and his teammates, the White Team rallied back from the daunting deficit to tie the game at 13 just as it reached its time limit. While the game technically ended in a draw, Riggle of the Blue Team ran off with the trophy, claiming victory for his squad.
As always, the game would not be complete without its share of shenanigans. Just as he did last year, comedian Will Forte began a brawl at second base after colliding with CNN's Jake Tapper. This time, however, the benches didn't clear; instead, Forte was left to fend for himself against a crowd of Blue Team members.
Jordan Wolf is a reporter for MLB.com based in Kansas City.