03/12/10 9:28 PM EST
Peavy's pals trade bats for axes
Woodjock 2010 raises funds for hurler's foundation
By Scott Merkin / MLB.com
All four of these accomplished Major Leaguers were part of Jake Peavy's Woodjock 2010, a Thursday-night concert at The Venue in Scottsdale, featuring Major League baseball players showing off their musical passion. This entertaining affair included silent and live auctions for the packed house in attendance, with all proceeds benefiting the Jake Peavy Foundation, which raises funds for Team Focus, Strikeouts for Troops, Autism Speaks and White Sox Charities.
But the fans and fellow baseball players at The Venue primarily were interested in hearing Barry Zito jam on the drums or watch the classically trained Williams flawlessly strum the guitar for most of the night. There even was a duet later in the evening by Gordon Beckham and Peavy of The Eagles' No. 1 hit "Take It Easy."
Beckham made a strong showing of his music skills, which he admitted were limited before going on stage, although Glenn Frey and Don Henley probably won't be asking the second baseman to join their upcoming tour. Beckham's decision to perform was out of respect to Peavy and the spirit of the night.
"Singing the song and not sounding like an idiot might be harder than hitting a curveball," said Beckham with a laugh. "But Peavy asked me to do it, and here I am. When Peavy is on the mound or even doing something like this, he just gives others confidence."
Peavy came up with the idea of Woodjock, a play on words from the historic Woodstock concert, back in November. He had been asked about doing a charity golf tournament for his foundation but wanted to put together something different.
Thursday's show certainly fit that particular description, and in a good way.
There was Huff, the Giants' first baseman, doing vocals for an impressive version of "Ring of Fire."
Ben Broussard, a one-time first baseman/designated hitter for the Indians, Mariners and Rangers, performed original material as part of his full-time touring music career.
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Brandon Medders was on lead guitar for a rousing version of "Sweet Child of Mine," which preceded the Beckham/Peavy duet, one of numerous trips to the stage during the night for the evening's host and accomplished guitar player.
"To see it all come together, it's pretty amazing," Peavy said. "I can't say I ever thought it would be this big. It says a lot about the game of baseball and getting the word out. These are just great athletes showcasing another talent out there tonight."
"More than anything, it's for the charities," said Zito, who, through his Strikeouts for Troops charity brought 25 Marines, who were honored during the show. "But it's great to look around and see all the ballplayers."
Those ballplayers spoken of by Zito weren't solely on stage. Mark Buehrle, John Danks, Aaron Rowand and Trevor Hoffman were just a few of the many big leaguers who lent their support from the audience. There also was eight to nine hours of rehearsal between Tuesday and Wednesday, after some of the performers had taken part in Cactus League games during the day.
"We wanted to do it right and focus like anything else," Zito said. "We also want to pick up some momentum for next year."
To watch the rehearsal and then watch these baseball standouts get ready to go on stage quickly illustrates that this is no mere lark for them. Take White Sox reliever Scott Linebrink, for example, whose impressive style fits somewhere in the category of down-home country-and-western.
Linebrink broke out a specially crafted guitar by Taylor Guitars in California, featuring his name and the Texas flag on it, for his Woodjock debut.
"It's a very nice guitar, much too nice for me to be playing," Linebrink said. "It has been sitting in its case for five years, and I've been waiting for the opportunity to break it out. Tonight's the night."
Thursday also was the night for what could become a yearly Cactus League tradition and focal point. Credit for that success goes to Peavy and his crew, including emcee Rick Sutcliffe, and the players who moved out of their comfort zone for a great cause.
"I'm as nervous as I've ever been tonight," Peavy said. "But we are going to have fun, I promise you that."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.