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– The Virginia baseball program will host the ninth annual Step Up to the Plate event Saturday, Jan. 29 at John Paul Jones Arena. The featured speaker for the evening will be former MLB player/manager and current ESPN analyst Bobby Valentine.

Tickets for Step Up To The Plate go on sale at 9 a.m. Monday and can be ordered in person at the UVa Athletics Ticket Office in Bryant Hall, by phone at 1-800-542-UVA1 or online at Sponsored tables may be reserved by calling the Virginia Athletics Foundation at 800-626-8723. Proceeds from the event will go toward the Virginia Baseball program.

Ticket prices are $70 for adults and $35 for children 12 and under and Virginia Baseball alumni. A Family Four Pack is available, which includes two adult and two youth tickets for $175. Sponsored tables for the event are $2,500 and include a reserved table for a party of eight, eight General Admission baseball season tickets and admission to the pre-event reception. The pre-event reception for table sponsors will begin at 5 p.m. There is also a group or team special rate with the purchase of 20 or more tickets – $50 for adults and $25 for children 12 and under.

The night kicks off with an autograph session with the 2011 Virginia baseball team and silent auction at 5:30 p.m. The program will then begin at 6:15 p.m., with a buffet barbecue dinner to follow at 7 p.m. After dinner, Valentine will speak to the event audience, and a live auction will close the night. The silent and live auctions will include autographed memorabilia from Virginia and the professional ranks, as well as game tickets and more.

Valentine has managed more than 3,000 games over 22 seasons for the Texas Rangers, New York Mets and Japan’s Chiba Lotte Marines. He led his 1999 and 2000 Mets teams to playoff berths and took the 2000 team to the World Series. In 2005 he led the Marines to their first Japan Series title since 1974. He has managed 15 seasons in Major League Baseball, with a career record of 1,117-1072.

He played for five organizations in Major League Baseball and competed in 639 career games from 1969-79. A utility player, Valentine played shortstop, second base, third base and all three outfield positions during his career. He played for the Los Angeles Dodgers, California Angels, San Diego Padres, New York Mets and Seattle Mariners.

Most recently, Valentine has served as an analyst on ESPN’s award-winning Baseball Tonight program.

Valentine also is considered to be among the best high school athletes in Connecticut history. He was widely recruited out of Rippowam High School and went on to play college baseball at Southern California. The Los Angeles Dodgers selected him with the No. 5 overall pick in the 1968 Major League Baseball Draft.

Step Up to the Plate has proven to be a special evening during its eight-year history, with each event featuring a notable speaker, including current St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa (2003), Baltimore Orioles Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. (2004), Hall of Famer and former Los Angeles Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda (2005), Hall of Famer and former Orioles third baseman Brooks Robinson (2006), Hall of Fame second baseman Ryne Sandberg of the Chicago Cubs (2007), current Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona (2008), current Philadelphia Phillies manager Charlie Manuel (2009) and Hall of Fame outfielder Dave Winfield (2010).

2011 Virginia Baseball Step Up to the Plate
Featured Speaker: Bobby Valentine
Date: Saturday, January 29, 2011, 6:15 p.m.
Location: John Paul Jones Arena
Adult Tickets: $70
Youth Tickets (12 & under): $35
Virginia Baseball Alumni: $35
Family Four Pack (2 adult, 2 youth tickets): $175
Sponsored Tables*: $2,500
*Includes: eight tickets to pre-event reception with Bobby Valentine and other special baseball guests, eight reserved table tickets to Step Up to the Plate. eight General Admission 2011 Virginia baseball season tickets

Event Timeline:
5 p.m.
Pre-event reception for table sponsors
5:30 p.m.
Doors open, silent auction begins and autograph session with 2011 Virginia Baseball Team
6:15 p.m.
Program begins
7 p.m.
Buffet barbecue dinner begins followed by Bobby Valentine speech and live auction

For Tickets – call the Virginia Athletics Ticket Office at 1-800-542-UVA1; for tables call the Virginia Athletics Foundation at 1-800-626-8723

Virginia Baseball poster, schedule card, magnet and t-shirt for all in attendance

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