Playing for a Cause: Crushers to take on Charlotte PD Saturday

By Ryan Decker

When Jeff Lang and Justin Davies started the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department baseball team, they probably didn’t think it would have the effect it’s had.

Lang, a 19-year veteran with the CMPD, and the rest of his Blue Hornets team play in a wood-bat adult baseball league during the spring and summer, but more importantly, have played in some big exhibition games that have helped the Charlotte community.

They will play in another one of those games on Saturday, when they take on the Charlotte Crushers in a fundraiser for the CVCL team.

“We try to help out anybody in the community,” Lang said in an interview earlier this week. “We were formed to play baseball, and have fun, but there’s also the community aspect of it.”

Crushers vs Charlotte PD
Graphic created by Ryan Decker 

The idea for the team was first hatched in 2008 but didn’t mature into anything until 2010, when Davies and Lang began to take the idea more serious.

The two looked around the force and saw there was already a football team, but no baseball team despite a number of officers being former baseball players at either the collegiate or Minor League level.

Davies himself was a member of the Toronto Blue Jays minor league system, and played multiple seasons with the Long Island Ducks in the Independent League.

Less than a year later, the Blue Hornets were formed.

“It’s nice to get out, get away from work, and not think about the stresses of the daily stuff with work,” Lang said. “It kind of gives us old guys – we’ve got plenty of old on the team – a second chance, so to speak. Playing something we all love.”

Lang and the Blue Hornets play in the Premier Division (18+) of the Charlotte Adult Baseball League, meaning they’re used to playing younger competition like the Crushers.

When they’re not playing a CABL regular season game, or, more importantly, when they’re not working as officers, the Blue Hornets are playing for worthy causes.

They played a game against the CABL All-Stars in April in order to raise funds for one of the league’s umpires, whose stepson is suffering from spina bifida. The illness has left him confined to a wheelchair for most of his life and over the last decade has taken his eyesight, as well.

The Blue Hornets also play games whenever needed to raise funds for fellow officers, and play against local firefighters once or twice a year, too.

For Lang and his team, though, the biggest games they play in are what’s known as the Chief’s Cup in BB&T Ballpark, home of the Charlotte Knights, with the proceeds benefiting the Levine Children’s Hospital.

Funds raised during Saturday’s game, which is scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m. at Thomas Eaton Field at Victory Christian Center School, between the Crushers and Blue Hornets will go towards helping with the Crushers’ travel expenses during the season.

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