Although run production was reduced significantly from a year ago, the 6,573 fans that filled Fox Cities Stadium still had a lot to cheer about Sunday as the Packers Defense defeated the Offense 24-14 in the third edition of the Brett Favre Celebrity Softball Game.
Unlike years past in which games have resembled home run derby, deeper fences and reduced-fly softballs held batters in check, so much so that Doug Pederson and Ahman Green were the only players to clear the yard. One Packer equated slamming the reduced-fly softballs to hitting "a bunch of socks wrapped in tape."
But even de-juiced softballs couldn't stop the Defense, which played small-ball, racking up 30 hits and benefiting from several errors by the Offense en route to the convincing win. Avenging last year's 32-31 loss, the Defense now leads the all-time series 2-1.
Leading the way for the 'D' were Ryan Longwell, who had a pair of singles and an inside-the-park home run, and Scott Frost, who finished a home run away from the cycle with two singles, a double and a triple.
But while the excitement was on the field, the real story was in the stands, where Packers faithful packed the house and in doing so benefited the Brett Favre Forward Foundation, which looks to aid disadvantaged and disabled children in Wisconsin. Last year's softball event generated $60,000 for the charity.
"It's a good cause," said Mike Flanagan, who provided some of the afternoon's most memorable moments, tormenting both an umpire and an Elvis impersonator with a Super Soaker squirt-gun. "That might be secondary to some people, but whatever gets them out here."
From the antics of Flanagan, to those of Mike Wahle, who stationed himself in rightfield with a lawnchair, fans saw more than just a softball game. They also saw the personalities of their heroes - and their heroes were having fun.
"I loved it," Green said of the game. "(As players) you have a blast out there. That it's for a good cause makes it even better."
Even NFL rookie and former minor league baseball player Javon Walker was thrilled by the experience, despite having as many hits, one, as he did strikeouts.
"Softball is a whole different game from baseball and I never got the timing down today," Walker said. "I had so much fun. It's such a worthy cause and the fans came out and really supported us, you couldn't help but have a smile on your face."
Favre was certainly grinning ear to ear. From the beautiful blue skies, to the enjoyment of those on the field and in the stands, to the revenue generated for charity, his third celebrity game was everything he could have hoped for.
"If you stick around long enough, you have a chance to give back," Favre said. "I know we had fun out there so I hope everyone else had a great time. We had a fantastic turnout and I thank everyone who came out and supported us."
With proceeds from the 2002 softball game not included, the Brett Favre Forward Foundation has generated more than $850,000 over seven years.