On August 22, New York Mets pitcher Steven Matz hosted the annual Mets Big League Impact Fantasy Football Draft at Citi Field, raising over $63,000 to fund a scholarship program for the children of first responders who have lost their lives in the line of duty. Attendees donated between $2,000 and $2,500 to join the league.
The event began in the morning with Matz leading attendees on an extended tour of the Mets clubhouse, followed by a visit to the dugout and onto the field for photos. Afterwards, the group filed into the Jim Beam Highball Club at the top of the stadium behind home plate to meet their hosts: NL Cy Young candidate Jacob deGrom, Mets legend Doc Gooden, catcher Devin Mesoraco, and pitchers Drew Smith and Jerry Blevins—the Mets Clubhouse fantasy football league’s defending champion.
Before the fantasy draft began, representatives from the The New York Mets Foundation and Big League Impact spoke about how attendees’ support of the event and the dollars raised would benefit the local and global communities. Matz then took the stage to talk about his TRU32 initiative, which supports and pays tribute to first responders of the FDNY and NYPD, as well as military service members.
“Thank you for helping us raise money and awareness for TRU32, which supports our local heroes,” Matz said. “They have a huge job to do in keeping our community safe, and today’s event has completely funded six scholarships for the children of those who’ve sacrificed their lives.”
Four leagues kicked off their drafts, with Big Leaguers at each table. Matz received the first pick of his table’s draft, selecting Todd Gurley and Zach Ertz with his first two picks. deGrom and Mesoraco both selected Antonio Brown first, and reigning clubhouse champion Blevins went with the local team’s Odell Beckham Jr.
As the rounds of selections went on, fantasy experts from Yahoo Sports and RotoExperts roamed the tables, offering advice and feedback on people’s picks. Each of the Big Leaguers took a few turns running the draft, adding selections to the draft boards provided by Yahoo Fantasy Sports, the partner and official platform of Big League Impact.
After the draft’s completion, attendees participated in an auction of Mets memorabilia, prints and paintings from the 3D artist Steven Walden, and items donated directly from the player’s lockers. Mets mascot Mr. Met was on hand, dancing, posing for photos, and helping to facilitate the auction. In the evening, the group watched from the infield as the players took batting practice, then settled in to watch their new fantasy league-mates defeat the San Francisco Giants 5-3.
Matz was recently nominated for Major League Baseball’s Roberto Clemente Award—given each year to the player who best represents the game through extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy, and positive contributions.
“The draft is just such a fun event,” he said. “Fantasy football is such a fun thing to do—bringing fans together, having some fun, talking some trash, and competing. It’s a memorable day, and it all goes towards doing some great things in New York and around the world. To see the impact it has has really been amazing.”
The leagues have been in steady competition, with Blevins recently earning his first win. deGrom is doing the best among the Big Leaguers, currently in third place in his league. Matz is in eighth in his, and Mesoraco—who had some close losses—is in sixth.
You can follow along each week to see how they’re faring:
This week, Yahoo and Big League Impact presents Steven Matz’s Fantasy Impact, a Daily Fantasy Competition for Week 5 of the NFL. Anyone can enter for $10, and 100% of net proceeds go to Matz’s TRU32 scholarship fund for the children of fallen first responders. Prizes include signed baseballs, entry into a VIP Fantasy Draft in 2019, and autographed limited-edition prints of a David Wright 3D painting.
Watch Yahoo Fantasy Sports’ coverage of the event here.