From its humble beginnings in 2009, Reckless Kelly’s Celebrity Softball Jam has not-so-quietly grown into one of the coolest Texas country events in the whole state.
“After the first event we knew we had something,” says Cody Braun, the multi-instrumentalist brother in Reckless Kelly. Musicians and athletes donate their time all to the event, which is for charity, and everyone has gotten on board.
“We have actually had to turn a few people down cause so many want to be a part of it,” says Braun. “They bend over backwards to make it work and get here after playing all over the state and country.”
The idea all started when the brothers were taking in a baseball game and thinking how fun it would be to get their friends together to play. They grew up baseball fans and even built a diamond in their own backyard in Idaho.
“We started it all by doing the national anthem at a baseball game several years back and set the goal to do the anthem at every MLB ballpark in America,” says Braun. “We’ve done 11 at this point and through that we started meeting several baseball players. We were kind of shocked to know there were a lot of players who love our music and were playing it in the clubhouse; we’d get to hang out and they’d take us down to the locker rooms and we totally geeked out.”
With the help of their musical friends, those players and folks like the Nolan Ryan family, the softball jam was born.
The Reckless Kelly Celebrity Softball Jam is a big ol’ party benefiting different charities, and this year’s is the SIMS foundation. SIMS is an organization dedicated to the mental health and wellbeing of Austin-area music professionals. The jam also helps local area youth leagues to the tune of $300,000 so far. It’s seriously cool.
“We built a baseball field in east austin last year with money from the event and have just met a lot of great people through it,” says Braun.
This year’s jam on Sunday, May 15th promises to be the biggest ever, featuring more than 20 music acts gathering at the Dell Diamond in Round Rock, Texas — home of the Texas Rangers’ minor league affiliate baseball team.
The lineup includes Wade Bowen, Cory Morrow, Kyle Park and William Clark Green, among tons of others. But what makes the softball jam so unique is it also features some of the world’s greatest former Major League Baseball players in a friendly “athleticism-optional” matchup.
MLB greats Roger Clemens, Josh Beckett and Greg Swindell will be on hand, along with other baseball stars, some NFLers like Kasey Studdard and local area media personalities. After the game, a two-stage musical blowout at centerfield kicks off.
“Roger Clemens has been on our list for awhile,” says Braun. “He’s wanted to do the event for several years and the timing never worked out. Josh Beckett too; he’s a super good guy from Texas and has been a huge supporter of the band.”
Sports and music just seem to be a natural fit, which is part of the reason the softball jam has been such a huge hit. “Baseball players are very similar to musicians in that they travel a lot and are in the entertainment business, and musicians want to be baseball players and baseball players want to be musicians,” laughs Braun.
With the success of the event, it could even spread to other towns in the future. “It’s a consideration as we continue to grow,” says Braun. “It’s a huge undertaking, but for now, we couldn’t ask for a better place than Austin to do it. Every one of our partners has just been so amazing.”
Here’s the music lineup, plus a very special headliner announced the day of the show!
Reckless Kelly Celebrity Softball Jam 2016 Music Lineup
*Special Headliner Announced Day of the Show*
Cody Canada and The Departed
William Clark Green
Micky & The Motorcars
Midnight River Choir
John D Hale
Gates are at 12 PM, the game starts at 1 PM. and the concert starts at 3 PM. Get your tickets at the official website.