On Thursday Aug. 29, Philadelphia Phillies super-utility star Scott Kingery hosted the third annual Puppapalooza at the Pier benefiting the Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PSPCA) at Morgan’s Pier.
Phillies fans in attendance enjoyed a fun night with music, food, raffles, silent auctions and the opportunity to both interact with players in an intimate environment and adopt a dog in need of a forever home.
Phillies players also in attendance included last year’s host Rhys Hoskins, as well as Andrew McCutchen, Roman Quinn, Adam Haseley and Andrew Knapp. Manager Gabe Kapler, hitting coach Charlie Manuel, senior advisor Larry Bowa, broadcaster Larry Andersen and the Phillie Phanatic also made appearances at the event:
— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) August 30, 2019
The PSPCA’s partnership with the Phillies can be traced back to the days when Chase Utley was batting third and manning second base for the team. Utley and his wife Jen hosted the All-Star Animals Casino Night annually beginning in 2008 during his playing career with the Phillies along with other events organized through the Utley Foundation in support of the PSPCA.
The couple continues to support the PSPCA. Jen Utley was in town early August to help the organization launch the Barn Animal Fund, which supports the PSPCA’s Humane Law Enforcement Officers effort to investigate around 7,000 suspected cases of animal cruelty throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, according to the PSPCA’s website.
Of course, the Phillies partnership with the PSPCA didn’t stop when Utley was traded to the Dodgers in 2015. The organization continued to support the PSPCA through annual events such as Save a Pet at the Park night, which was created by Jen Utley and her fellow Phillies wives.
In 2017, former Phillies catcher Cameron Rupp hosted the first Puppapalooza. The event has been held annually ever since and has been a huge hit with fans, players and PSPCA employees alike. Puppapalooza has also had a huge impact on both raising funds and raising awareness for animals in need in Philadelphia. Gillian Kocher, Director of Public Relations for the PSPCA, spoke about the impact an event like this has in an email to Phillies Nation, having this to say, “Of course the event raises much-needed funds for our organization, but it also does so much more – it finds homes for animals in need, brings attention to the work that we do rescue animals from cruelty and neglect, and brings animal sheltering into the spotlight.”
It would not be Puppapalooza without puppies. Dogs that were available for adoption roamed the event space throughout the night. Phillies fans were able to meet those dogs and learn about them from the PSPCA employee or volunteer that accompanied them. The dogs were unable to be adopted on the spot, but anyone who was interested in adopting a dog present at the event were free to visit the PSPCA’s Philadelphia headquarters on Erie Avenue the next day and fill out an adoption application. Tito’s Handmade Vodka, one of the event’s sponsors, covered all of the adoption fees for the dogs present at the event. According to Kocher, nearly every dog in attendance in previous years went on to be adopted within the next few days.
For the players, coaches and front office staff, it was a great opportunity to enjoy one of the last nights off they have in the regular season and get out in the community in support of a great cause. Kapler spoke to Phillies Nation on the importance of making an impact in the community:
“I think anytime we can make a community impact, it’s not just something that feels good, but a responsibility that we have as leaders in this community and I’m so proud of the work Scott Kingery is doing to raise awareness and to combat animal cruelty…I think this event brings people together and does something wonderful for animals and I’m really glad to be a part of it.”
Like many of his players in attendance, Kapler himself is also an animal lover. He was once the owner of a 100-pound pitbull who he considered his closest friend. Kapler is sure that when the time is right, he will bring another dog into his life. For now, though, he was proud of the work Kingery and his players were doing in the community and was happy to support them by coming to the event.
McCutchen also spoke with Phillies Nation. Like his manager, McCutchen is an animal lover who currently does not have any pets at home. He cited the difficulties of his travel schedule as the main reason why he is not a pet owner. “It’s tough because we’ve [referring to his wife Maria who also attended the event] always wanted and it’s so hard with our schedule with the travel,” McCutchen said. “We’re not in one place for more than three months, so we’re always on the move. It makes it hard for us to have pets. Maybe one day down the road when I’m done playing or something like that, maybe we’ll be able to do something.”
The former National League MVP is also one of the most philanthropic players in the league. In his tenure with the Pirates, McCutchen mentored inner-city youth baseball through his foundation Cutch’s Crew and supported other charities such as the Make-A-Wish-Foundation, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation and the Homeless Children’s Education Fund. He has made it a priority to continue his charitable efforts across the state. “I just try to do my best and be more than just a baseball player. It’s good to show up and support this and be here for Kingery.”
One of the main attractions of the event was the celebrity bartenders. Kingery, Hoskins and Quinn took time to serve beer and mixed drinks to fans of age. McCutchen was unable to make it across the bar, but he did have an opinion on which one of his Phillies teammates would make the best bartender. “You have to think whose really good with their hands. J.T. [Realmuto] being the catcher he is, throwing out  plus guys this year, I would assume he’s probably pretty good at having steady hands [for] pouring drinks.”
- To view the full photo gallery from the event, click here
- If you’re interested in adopting a pet of your own from the PSPCA, click here.
- To donate to the PSPCA, click here
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