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The UNC baseball team will be sponsoring its third annual BaseBald, for which the team shaves their heads to raise money for pediatric cancer research, Saturday at its game against Georgia Tech at 1:00pm at Boshamer Stadium.

This is the third annual event honoring the former bullpen catcher and cancer survivor Chase Jones. The tradition started in 2007 when the team rallied to support Jones after his diagnosis.

For four years Jones has been a part of the Tar Heel dugout, but he has taken the BaseBald program across the nation. Jones and the BaseBald events throughout the country have raised more than $125,000  and had 812 people shave their heads so far this year. Fans and supporters can still donate.

The North Carolina Tar Heels will take on the Wright State Raiders at home for a three-game series beginning Friday, Feb. 24.

The Heels, ranked 10th in the nation by Baseball America, have a 2-1 record after last weekend’s series against the Xavier Musketeers.

The Heels will host the Raiders at Boshamer Stadium on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus.

Game times:

  • Fri., Feb. 24, at 3 p.m.
  • Sat., Feb. 25, at 2 p.m.
  • Sun., Feb. 26, at 1 p.m.

Starting on the mound as the Tar Heels face off against the Raiders will be:

Admission is free for UNC students with a valid One Card. Tickets can be purchased online or at the gate at $5 for first base and third base grandstand seats, and $7 for main grandstand seats. View the seating chart.

Parking for Boshamer Stadium is available at the Rams Head Parking Deck, which is walking distance from the stadium.

View Boshamer Stadium parking in a larger map

Related:

Tar Heel baseball schedule

Tar Heel baseball roster

CHAPEL HILL
UNC-Chapel Hill junior Alison Grady raised more than $300 for the second annual BaseBald for the Cure at Boshamer Stadium after Saturday’s baseball game. For her hard work, she was shaved bald. Grady, along with members of the baseball team and fans, shaved their heads to help raise cancer awareness.

Chase Jones, bullpen catcher for the team and a brain cancer survivor, created the BaseBald fundraiser to combine two of his favorite things — baseball and bringing smiles to children with cancer. BaseBald donations go to the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center’s pediatric oncology unit, helping to pay for things like pizza parties and juice boxes.

Jonathan Michels, a senior from Winston-Salem, N.C., is a multimedia journalist for the Reese Felts Digital News Project.

Editor’s note: This piece was produced by the J256 Feature Writing course at the UNC School of Journalism and Mass Communication. The article is a part of a series about tourism and travel destinations. Continue to check reesebiz for updates to the series.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK
“Concrete doesn’t talk back to you — it’s the people in the stands who made this place magical,” said longtime center fielder Bernie Williams about Yankee Stadium.

You’re standing on the corner of East 161st Street and River Avenue in the Bronx.

As New York City taxis whiz by, the scent of dirty water hot dogs, freshly baked soft pretzels and popcorn fill the air.

Program and T-shirt salesmen bid for your attention. Ticket scalpers offer you access inside.

It’s likely you’ll meet family and friends by the “bat”– a Louisville Slugger-shaped boiler exhaust that stands 120 feet tall.

Don’t worry — you won’t be the only one.

Fans equipped with pinstriped jerseys, backwards caps, second-generation baseball mitts and city-slicker accents make their way inside a building that may as well be their second home.

If it’s a chilly October evening, odds are good that you’re bundled up, and maybe you’ll witness history. Maybe a walk-off, if you’re lucky.

As you enter the building, a white facade lines the perimeter with soaring lights hanging above, the city in the backdrop.  The dirt and grass seem to glow, each base pearly white, each line drawn to perfection.

Gigantic billboard ads appear behind the bleachers — Budweiser, Utz, Toyota. The scoreboard gives you the starting lineups. Outfielders are playing soft toss on the warning track, pitchers are stretching their quadriceps, managers are filling out their lineup cards.

You’re there to watch a ball game, but for some reason it feels like it’s more. Then, Bob Sheppard gets on microphone . . .

“Welcome to Yankee Stadium,” he would say in the softest of voices.

At its finest hour, Yankee Stadium was “The Cathedral of Baseball”—the one built in 1923 that is. It outlasted 15 presidencies, nine different decades and 6,581 regular season baseball games during its storied 85-year existence.

The venue hosted 39 different World Series for its most notable tenants, the Yankees. It saw players like Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Whitey Ford, Mickey Mantle and Derek Jeter grace its confines.

And in 2008, the New York Yankees played their final game on its perfected Merion Bluegrass with Sheppard’s voice illuminating the scenery.

They defeated the Baltimore Orioles 7-3.

But before the opening of present-day Yankee Stadium in 2009, the original stadium was bigger than the baseball games that made it a fortress.

It saw performances that stretched from U2 and Billy Joel to Jay-Z and Eminem.

It saw Sugar Ray Robinson fall to Joey Maxim in a 14-round stalemate in front of 47,000 in 1953.

It saw the Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team win 15 of 24 games while calling it “home.”

It even saw the evangelist Rev. Billy Graham attract 100,000 people — the largest crowd in stadium history at the time.

Politicians like Rudy Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg were regulars. Billy Crystal and Adam Sandler seemed to live there. Even the pope visited from time to time.

It was the rock for the city of New York that baseball solidified.

A season ticket holder for 32 years, John Iannaccio of the Bronx, recalls the experience.

“When I would take my kids to see games on Sunday I wasn’t only taking them to a baseball game,” he said. “I was letting them into a culture of greatness.”

The stadium helped take New Yorkers’ minds off the attacks on Sept. 11 as well with the game they loved. It was like a safe haven from the tragedy and baseball was their medicine.

“Even though fans were still in shock, the stadium allowed us to break away from the negativity,” Iannaccio said. “It was a simple thing like baseball that helped.”

During the 1920s, New York Yankees owner Jacob Ruppert described his perfect afternoon at Yankee Stadium: “It’s when the Yankees score eight runs in the first inning,” he said. “And then slowly pull away.”

To commemorate all the history that has taken place inside the building, the stadium has its own commons for player shrines, called Monument Park.

Here, you will see plaques dedicated to the hierarchy of Yankee history—from Joe D. and skipper Billy Martin to “Donnie Baseball” and “Louisiana Lightning.” Each plaque tells a unique story.

“I’ve only been to Monument Park a few dozen times,” Iannaccio said. “But if you’re going to the Stadium for the first time, you shouldn’t leave without going. It’s like a peaceful graveyard.”

The venue was constructed for $2.4 million between 1922 and 1923, coincidentally by the same firm that constructed Fenway Park in Boston. In its final season in 2008, the place drew in more than $375 million in revenue. Present-day Yankee Stadium began construction in 2006, costing $2.3 billion.

In 1967, fans could smoke cigarettes inside the stadium, an act that was banned years later throughout Major League Baseball. A bottle of beer then was 55 cents — now $8.75. Most scorecards were free, or at most 25 cents, and now they’re $7.00. And those dirty water hot dogs—they jumped from 50 cents to about $7.50.

“Prices at the stadium definitely scared away a lot of potential fans,” Ianaccio said. “Back in the ‘50s when my father used to take me, I would buy a box of Cracker Jacks, a program and a soda for maybe a buck. A sign of the times for sure.”

The original stadium officially opened on Wednesday, April 18, 1923, with the Yankees’ first home game against their bitter rival, the Boston Red Sox. According to the New York Evening Telegram, “…everything smelled of … fresh paint, fresh plaster and fresh grass.”

Babe Ruth would hit a three-run home run to clinch a 4-1 Yankee win. From then on, it would be known as “The House that Ruth Built.”

An unparalleled baseball tradition would ensue.

“I saw Mickey Mantle play in the 1960s,” Iannaccio said. “If you were a kid growing up in the city at that time, he was your hero. There was no doubt about that.”

“I also saw Elston Howard play as a boy in 1955, I believe. He was the first black to play for the Yankees. It wasn’t like it was in Brooklyn with Jackie [Robinson], but it wasn’t a picnic for him either.”

In 85 years the “Big Ballpark in the Bronx” saw more wins than any ballpark in America. Known more for being a landmark than a place where a bunch of guys played baseball, Yankee Stadium encapsulated the hearts of New Yorkers.

In 2010, the process to demolish its remains was complete. Iannaccio won a bid on EBay for the seat he sat in for 32 years. It now sits in his “Yankee room” for show. He plans to give it to his son.

He said the new stadium is lovely, but it’s not like the old one.

This article was produced as part of the J256 Feature Writing course at UNC’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication.