50/50 raffle ahead of the game for Pirates Charities
By Bob Karlovits
Published: Friday, Oct. 4, 2013, 8:57 p.m.
When organizers of Pirates Charities decided this spring to offer a 50/50 raffle at PNC Park, Patty Paytas says they had “modest expectations. We thought it would take awhile.”
It didn't take too long. The payoff at the Oct. 1 Wild Card game against the Cincinnati Reds was $38,008, meaning fans spent $76,016 on tickets for the Pittsburgh Pirates' charity effort.
“The success of the team just helps everything,” says Paytas, senior vice president for community and public affairs for the Pirates. The raffle is another way to fund youth-oriented programs, which include keeping baseball fields in good condition and creating fields and play areas for kids and adults with disabilities.
Paytas says the charity effort contributed $3.2 million to various programs through the end of the 2012 and probably will hit $4 million this year.
Through the course of the 2013 season, the 50/50 raffle raised $1,114,000. Pirates Charities was founded at the end of 2006, she says.
The 50/50 raffle offers a payoff in which fans at the game buy tickets for a raffle where the winner gets half of the total and the charities get the rest.
The Pirates saw other baseball clubs having success with 50/50 raffles, Paytas says, but they were not able to offer one until this year, when the state adopted the Small Games of Chance Act, allowing such programs.
This week's big payoff earlier this week indicates how popular the raffle has grown over the season. On Opening Day, April 1, 39,078 fans bought $12,926 in tickets, but on April 12, 40,706 fans wagered only $3,690.
Efforts by Pirate Charities have been crucial to organizations such as the Miracle League of Southwestern Pennsylvania, says its president and founder Mike Sherry.
The organization, which builds and runs baseball fields for those with special needs, didn't exist until Sherry was able to get the Pirates' support, he says. There are currently six Miracle League fields in Western Pennsylvania, which have received more than $700,000 since 2007. A new Miracle League site in Bradenton, Fla., near the Pirates spring-training site, will move that figure closer to $750,000, he says.
Other efforts are the Fields for Kids project, which supplies aid to keep fields in good condition. It distributed $118,000 this year to fields in places such as Wilkinsburg, Deer Lakes and Jefferson Township, Fayette County.
The Pirates organization steered the charity effort toward youth activities when it was founded, Paytas says, because of a belief in the need for exercise and recreation for young people.
“We also look at baseball as very youth- and family-oriented,” she says. “So, Sundays are always kids' days, with activities for them.”
Beyond the 50/50 raffle, money is raised in various — and wide-ranging — ways. This season, there was a Sporting Clays Invitational at Seven Springs Mountain Resort in Somerset County, a golf outing in Fox Chapel and a 5K race on the North Shore.
In addition, the ROOT Sports Auction in July drew $400,000.
Pirates Charities gets involved in other methods to raise funds. Currently, a Missouri sports-collectible firm is marketing 5,000 officially licensed Rawlings baseballs bearing the Pirates Wild Card victory logo. The ball is in a clear, plastic case and its markings will be updated through the playoffs. Ten percent of its $39.95 price will go to Pirates Charities. Details: 800-345-2868 or www.nikcosports.com
Bob Karlovits is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com or 412-320-7852.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Jailed Hribal ‘fine,’ but family ‘terrible’ as answers in stabbing sought
- Starkey: Fleury’s future at stake
- U.S. Steel presents tuition scholarship money for Catholic education
- Mon Valley communities plan cleanup day activities
- Five years later, Crosby wants another Cup win
- Dravosburg residents try to save PNC Bank from closing
- Carnegie Library of Homestead spotlighted in CNN iReport
- Hempfield Area superintendent, business manager quit
- Pirates conclude wild suspended game with win, drop 2nd of series
- Penguins’ Malkin expects to play in Game 1
- South Fayette parents express dissatisfaction with handling of bullying