LDS Night at the Oakland A's
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At "LDS Night at the Oakland A's," a choir of full-time missionaries sang the national anthem and a baseball legend was a special guest as the A's knocked off the Tampa Bay Rays, 4-3, Thursday, Aug. 19.
It was the first regional LDS night hosted by the A's. Smaller LDS groups from wards or BYU alumni chapters have organized outings to games in the past, but this was the first event to include all San Francisco Bay area stakes.
With the larger group event, the Major League team collaborated with the local Oakland/San Francisco Public Affairs Council to incorporate LDS-themed program features to attract a greater number of LDS fans. Jessica Scott, the A's group sales representative, was very pleased with the turnout considering that it was a weeknight and several schools had already started their new year.
The program included the missionaries from the California Oakland/San Francisco Mission singing prior to the game. Cy Young Award winner Vern "the Deacon" Law, the ace pitcher of the 1960 World Champion Pittsburgh Pirates, was joined by son Vance and grandson Andrew in a pre-game mixer with LDS fans. Vern Law participated in a live interview from his seat that was projected on the Jumbotron during the third inning. After the interview, several long-time fans came to meet him. Many of the fans were just young children at the time Brother Law pitched the Pirates past the New York Yankees in the World Series.
Vance Law, former National League All-Star and current BYU head baseball coach, played for the Oakland A's in his last season in the Major Leagues in 1991. His son, Andrew, currently a BYU baseball player, is also an Eagle Scout and returned missionary.
To honor LDS Scouts and the 100th anniversary of Scouting, the A's provided all uniformed Scouts with "Scout Day patches" and featured them on the Jumbotron during the seventh inning of the game.
The next evening, the three generations of Laws were featured speakers at a fireside at the Oakland Interstake Center adjacent to the Oakland California Temple. The California Oakland/San Francisco Mission hosted the event and arranged for attendees to meet the Laws at the Oakland Temple Visitors' Center, located across the parking lot from the Interstake Center, after the fireside.
The Laws' fireside message focused on perseverance and preserving values while playing baseball or in other life endeavors. They each shared personal examples of living up to Latter-day Saint standards while playing baseball. The crowd filled a chapel in the Interstake Center. "The effort to organize this event is well worth the time and energy. In today's world, we need to spotlight more examples of "spiritual heroes" for our youth and people of all ages to emulate," commented Don Eaton, multi-stake director of public affairs in the Oakland/San Francisco region. "Also, these events have provided an enjoyable way for the community to come together at the temple grounds."