The Ravens took the field Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium for the first time in more than five months.
The occasion had nothing to do with football, however, as current and former Ravens came together for cornerback Lardarius Webb's annual charity softball game. More than 12,000 tickets were distributed and proceeds from the event benefited the Lardarius Webb Foundation, which supports underprivileged children in the Baltimore area.
Webb had a strong showing of support from his teammates, as more than 40 players on the roster attended.
"I got a lot of support from the community and my fans, and it was just a great event," Webb said. "My teammates came out and they helped make this event by showing up and having fun. It's important to give back to the community and that's what we were able to do today."
Some of the participants included Joe Flacco, Torrey Smith, Jacoby Jones, Steve Smith Sr., Eugene Monroe, Elvis Dumervil, Matt Elam and C.J. Mosley.
Former Ravens Ed Reed and Jameel McClain also participated, and Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake and Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees came out to show their support.
"This is a great time, entertaining the fans and entertaining the community," Reed said. "This is what it's about."
This is the third year Webb has hosted the game, as it was previously held by offensive lineman Ben Grubbs. Webb took over after Grubbs signed with the New Orleans Saints in 2012.
This was the first year the event took place at M&T Bank Stadium, as it was previously held at the Ripken Stadium in Aberdeen, Maryland.
"Being here at M&T Bank Stadium just shows how much it has grown. That shows the Ravens support, and the fans having my back and my teammates having my back."
The event was more about entertainment than a quality softball game, but the game was competitive at times. The teams were divided by offense and defense, and the offense came away with the 24-15 victory.
Here were some of the highlights (and lowlights) from the action:
- Jacoby Jones is always putting on a show. He hit a homerun in his first at bat, and took his time rounding the bases. Before he crossed home plate, he naturally had to put on a dancing routine to the enjoyment of the crowd.
- The fans loved seeing Reed back in Baltimore, and the classic "Reeeeeed" chants during his introduction were among the loudest of the afternoon. He played to the crowd throughout the afternoon, and even sang his version of "Two Tickets To Paradise."
- The most impressive softball action came during the home run derby, as punter Sam Koch beat out Flacco in a tight matchup. Both players hit five home runs during the opening round, but Koch nudged out Flacco in the playoff round. Flacco won the award for longest home runs on the day.
- Kicker Justin Tucker kept the fans entertained with some of his antics. He pretended to get in arguments with the umpire over calls he didn't like and acted like he was kicking dirt on their feet like an old-school baseball manager. He also had quite the pre-swing production every time he came to the plate.
- The defense gave Steve Smith Sr. a hard time when he came up to bat, and everybody moved up closer to the plate saying that he couldn't hit.
- Quarterback Tyrod Taylor got an earful from his teammates when he whiffed on a pitch. But Taylor ended up with the last laugh when he drilled a home run a few pitches later.
- Webb took some grief after not running hard on a groundball to shortstop. Reed came up to him after the play and asked, "Hey man, are we trying to win this game?"
- Second-year offense lineman Ryan Jensen wins the unofficial MVP on the day. He had some nice plays in the field and hit a couple home runs.