For more than a quarter-century, the City of Hope Celebrity Softball Game has been a tradition in Nashville's charitable country-music community. Held each year during the fan-filled CMA Music Festival, the 2016 game is set for Tuesday afternoon, June 7th, at 3 p.m. CT, and will take place at Music City's new First Tennessee Park — the home of the Nashville Sounds.
Players on the two teams, representing the Grand Ole Opry and iHeartCountry, will include Charles Esten (Nashville's Deacon Claybourne), Vince Gill, Chris Lane, Scotty McCreery, Bret Michaels, David Nail, RaeLynn and Jamie Lynn Spears, with more players to be announced in the coming weeks.
The 26th annual softball game benefits City of Hope, the California-based research and treatment center for cancer, diabetes and other life-threatening diseases. This year's event will also be marked by a special first-time meeting, as 8-year-old Aaron Yniquez, a City of Hope patient from Redlands, California, comes face to face with Yolanda Nava, a Southwest Airlines employee from Arlington, Texas. During his treatment for acute myeloid leukemia, Yniquez received a lifesaving donation of genetically matched stem cells from Nava. There will also be a special ceremony honoring Nashville record label exec Bruce Hinton.
Tickets are available at Ticketmaster and, in addition, a wide variety of merchandise and experiences, including meet-and-greets with artists, will be up for bids at Charitybuzz, with proceeds benefiting City of Hope's mission to eradicate cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Since 1976, more than 13,000 patients from virtually every state and dozens of countries have undergone bone marrow, cord blood or stem-cell transplants at City of Hope.