More than 2,000 Latter-day Saints and their friends met in Baltimore at Oriole Park at Camden Yards to watch the hometown Orioles play the Detroit Tigers on Aug. 12.
The night, designated as "Mormon Family Night at the Ballpark," was the fourth consecutive year that this special event has highlighted summer activities for the Church in Baltimore.
Prior to the game, President Craig T. Halsey, president of the Baltimore Maryland Stake, joined with Jeremy Guthrie, a starting pitcher for the Baltimore Orioles, and Doug Desmarais, a member of the Baltimore Maryland Stake high council, to present Orioles manager "Buck" Showalter with a framed family tree dating back five generations.
The two-time American League Manager of the Year graciously accepted the gift, explaining that he had selected a special place in his office to display his heritage.
When presenting the family tree, President Halsey commented to Mr. Showalter that "families are very important to us, both those that are with us and those that have come before us."
With batting practice already underway, Mr. Showalter still took considerable time to share family stories — both humorous and tender — about ancestors dating back to the early 1800s. He also spoke of calling his mother on the way to the ballpark, relating to her his excitement in preparing to accept the genealogy from the Church on behalf of the Showalter family.
The meeting with Mr. Showalter was facilitated by Brother Guthrie, an Orioles' fan favorite and ward missionary in the Inner Harbor Ward in the Baltimore Maryland Stake. Brother Guthrie served a full-time mission in Spain and pitched at Stanford before signing a professional baseball contract in 2002. In addition to organizing the family heritage presentation, the opening day pitcher for the Baltimore Orioles in three of the last four seasons met fans in the stands prior to the game, signing autographs and posing for pictures with many of the 2,100 Latter-day Saints in attendance.
"It's great participating in this event," Brother Guthrie said. "Every year I try to come up [to the stands] and meet as many of the member fans as I can. … It's neat to be able to be an example by action, by what we do and what we believe."
As Brother Guthrie left the stands to join his teammates for what would be an exciting game of baseball, President Halsey and President James Clover, first counselor in the stake presidency, were escorted on to the field for pre-game festivities. President Clover accepted the "Heavy Hitter" award from the Orioles, presented to recognize the tremendous success of this year's Mormon Family Night.
Following immediately thereafter, President Halsey made his way to the front of the mound for the game's ceremonial first pitch, delivering a hard strike to Brother Guthrie to the delight of the assembled crowd.