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May 02, 2016

So you want to hit at Citizens Bank Park?

Phillies MLB
050216.Phillies.Hearts photo courtesy American Heart Association/for PhillyVoice

Six-year-old Alex Forss, who was born with a congenital heart defect called tricuspid atresia, with Phillies broadcaster Tom McCarthy and Rich Ashburn, the son of the Phillies Hall of Famer.

The Phillies (15-10) are playing well after four weeks – really well. No one saw this coming, except maybe them.

They are struggling to score runs, however. They’ve scored just three more runs this season than the Atlanta Braves (6-18).

So you think you can do better, huh? Well, now you’re chance to show what you’ve got.

The 19th Annual Richie Ashburn Memorial Home Runs for Hearts Home Run Derby is taking place this week (Monday and Tuesday, with a rain date Wednesday) at Citizens Bank Park.

In addition to taking swings off a pitching machine inside the batter’s box at CBP, participants get to shag balls in the outfield, get a stadium tour, see the Phillies clubhouse, and meet the Phillie Phanatic and the ball girls, too.

You can still secure a spot: call 215-575-5227 or visit the local chapter of the American Heart Association’s website.

It’s fun. I hit in it last year (and collected a trophy, too). 

(Note: this video is from last year. This year's event it May 2-3, with May 4 as a rain date)

The event began in 1997, after the sudden passing of Hall of Famer Richie Ashburn, who succumbed to heart disease.

Among he participants on the team of Rich Ashburn, the son of the former Phillies outfielder and broadcaster: six-year-old Abington resident Alex Forss, who was born with a congenital heart defect called tricuspid atresia and had three surgeries by the age of three and 10 surgeries, total, in his young life.

According to the American Heart Association, heart disease kills more Americans than the next five leading causes of death combined, including all cancers. Proceeds from the two-day event benefit the local research and community education efforts.

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