SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Even on a Cactus League work night, a number of Major League players came to Wasted Grain in Scottsdale on Thursday to pour some drinks for a good cause as Issues Concerning Athletes and P.R.O.S. Corporate Housing hosted their ninth annual “Celebrity Bartender Night,” with the event benefiting Amyloidosis Support Groups.
Erica Brooks, the driving force and organizer behind this charitable night, lost her father, Michael, six years ago to the rare blood disease.
“It’s a passion,” said Brooks during an event featuring close to 400 people in attendance. “I devote two months of my life to this. I get great help from friends and family. But it’s a full-time job for two months and 100 percent of the proceeds go to charity.”
Brooks added everything is donated for the night, from the bar to the alcohol to the silent auction including items ranging from Billy Joel concert tickets to signed baseballs and jerseys.
“Anything that has to be paid for, my companies paid for,” Brooks said.
“It’s a great event, and it’s for a great cause,” said Royals outfielder Billy Hamilton, who served as the event host. “Each and every year gets better and better. For me to be here and help [Brooks] out and support a cause that happened to her with the death of her father, it just makes me happy to see everybody have a great time and be part of such a great event.”
Marty Brennaman, the long-time voice of the Cincinnati Reds, emceed the night. His wife, Amanda, shared a poignant story about her father’s battle with this same disease, which was diagnosed after they got involved with the charity event.
The following players joined Hamilton working behind the bar:
Royals: Brett Phillips, Brad Keller, Brian Goodwin
Reds: Yasiel Puig, David Hernandez, Sal Romano, Tucker Barnhart, Amir Garrett
White Sox: Randall Delgado
Giants: René Rivera
A’s: Liam Hendriks
Padres: Kirby Yates
Indians: Brad Hand
D-backs: Marc Rzepczynski
Fans and members of the various Cactus League organizations had a chance to mingle for a few hours, with the goal to raise somewhere around $25,000. They also had a chance to see players having fun mixing drinks, although Hamilton warned earlier in the day on social media he couldn’t tackle anything too complicated.
“We did charity events prior to this and after my dad passed I made sure that either all of or part of the donations went to that foundation,” Brooks said. “This year 100 percent is. I’m very lucky Billy Hamilton adopted the charity as his own. We now have Billy at kind of the forefront.”
“These guys are awesome for doing this,” Hamilton said. “I’ve known Erica for a long time. She’s always been a great friend of mine. It’s something out of my heart. This is more like me being around her when she helped me out and my chance to give back and help her out.”