Fathers hit AT&T Park diamond for tournament

They may not hit any homers into McCovey Cove or make Omar Vizquel-like diving catches, but that will not stop Burlingame dads from living every boy’s dream on Sunday when they play a tournament at AT&T Park.

“For all the people who ever wanted to be major-leaguers, this is the only chance they’re going to get,” said tournament director Jeff Tateosian of the Burlingame Dad’s Club.

This is not a ragtag tournament, though, Tateosian said. It will feature former college players and minor-leaguers, an 18-page program with profiles of every player, custom jerseys, custom messages on the scoreboard, announcers, tryouts for each team and preselected theme music blasted as each hitter comes to bat. Mayor Terry Nagel will throw out the first pitch.

“We’ll hang out and pretend we’re big-league players for a few hours,” Lincoln Elementary captain Ken Post said. “It’s a childhood dream come true.”

One of the dads will also be catering the game and the winner will get a big trophy — and bragging rights, of course.

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be down on the field where the Giants actually play,” Washington Elementary captain Tom Russell said. “I can’t wait to get out there.”

The tourney will feature dad teams from the Burlingame Intermediate School and all five elementary schools.

“It’s a lifetime dream to play on a major-league field,” said Roosevelt Elementary captain Bob Roepke. “You can enjoy the field more when there’s not 40,000 fans there.” There will more likely be 500 fans in attendance, he said.

Their kids will be getting in on the act, as well. Older students will act as bat boys while younger ones will introduce their dads over the loudspeaker. Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts will be leading the opening ceremony by marching out and presenting the colors for the national anthem.

Most of the teams have been practicing regularly for the past two months, and two play in a league.

The Washington Elementary Dad’s Club actually started 15 years ago to play softball, Russell said. The games have stopped, but they still have 60 dads in their school’s club alone, 30 of whom lined up to play, he said.

The nine-game tournament will last from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tickets cost $5 and parking is available in Lot A for $6. Tickets will automatically enter fans in a raffle for a Vizquel-autographed baseball, aBarry Zito-autographed jersey and more. The forecast calls for sunny skies.

mrosenberg@examiner.com

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