The Hippo


Jun 4, 2020








A past Battle. Photo courtesy of Benton Photography.

CHaD Battle of the Badges Baseball Classic

When: Sunday, Aug. 28, 1:35 p.m.
Where: Northeast Delta Dental Stadium, 1 Line Drive, Manchester
Cost: $10 general admission; free for kids ages 10 and under

Good versus good
Firefighters and police face off

By Matt Ingersoll

 Police and fire department members from across the Granite State will renew their rivalry at the sixth annual Battle of the Badges Baseball Classic on Sunday, Aug. 28, at 1:35 p.m. at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium in Manchester.

The game is held each year to raise money for Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock through a combination of ticket purchases, sponsorships and charitable donations. More than $62,000 was raised for CHaD from last year’s game alone, and around $256,000 has been raised since the game’s inception.
“We like to stress that this is more than just a baseball game. … There are going to be so many family fun activities as well,” said Tom Gauthier, CHaD’s community relations and event coordinator. “Much like a Fisher Cats game, we have great community partners to make it a successful day, so we’ll have a mascot race contest, a teddy bear clinic, the kids’ zone will be open … and we’ll have different activities for kids and a lot of other things going on in the stands to keep them into the game.”
Forty-five police officers and firefighters hailing from 35 different New Hampshire departments make up this year’s Team Police and Team Fire.
The idea for the game was first conceived by Bill Shea, now a firefighter with the Nashua Fire Department and a returning captain and manager of “Team Fire,” after CHaD had been holding a similar event at the Verizon Wireless Arena — a Battle of the Badges hockey game.
“[Bill] wanted to get involved in CHaD, and he thought it’d be a great way to add to the franchise as well as to give back and get involved in something,” Gauthier said. “So he brought the idea to CHaD and they thought it was a great idea, and of course the Fisher Cats organization has been great to work with for letting us use their park.”
Preparation for this game has been months in the making, according to Chris Davis of the New Hampshire Liquor Commission’s Division of Enforcement and this year’s captain and manager of Team Police.
“We had tryouts starting back in May, before Memorial Day,” Davis said. “We kick off the first meeting around the first week in June and we’ve been practicing every other week since then. Team Police have been practicing at the field at Memorial High School [in Manchester] while the fire teams have been at Piscataquog River Park.”
Davis said this year’s teams will feature lots of new players as well as one of the largest turnouts of officers who tried out for the team.
“I had approximately 35 guys that tried out and unfortunately I had to cut it back,” he said. “It wasn’t for any other reason than that we had more bodies than positions to play. This year will probably be challenging, but it’s all mathematical. We have 23 players and we try to guarantee each guy at least one time to get up and bat. Everybody will get to play, as a rule.”
In the game’s history, Team Fire has won twice and Team Police has won three times, including on a game-winning walk-off base hit in last year’s game. Off the field, Team Fire has been the leading fundraising team in four out of the five years, gathering almost $27,000 as a team last year.
Individual players commit to raising at least $1,000 each year leading up to the game. Between the nine hockey games and five baseball games that have been played under the Battle of the Badges franchise, about $1.7 million has been raised.
“Everything is done for CHaD,” Gauthier said, “so [the players] might own a company on the side or they might do community service work, and they seek sponsorships for themselves and sell tickets, and their co-workers might also chip in.”
Gauthier said in addition to the players’ fundraising efforts, many of them meet with CHaD patients as special ambassadors.
“Some of our patients get involved in the game and they get to hang out with the players,” he said. “It’s just a great way to allow the players to develop a relationship with our patients.” 

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