With the help of his teammates and one famous Terminator, Houston Texans star J.J. Watt stepped up to the plate for the 5th annual J.J. Watt Charity Classic, a for-fun-only competitive softball game at Minute Maid Park Saturday night.
Actor and former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger turned out to support Watt, telling the media at a press conference before the game, “I happened to be in Texas to give a commencement speech yesterday (at the University of Houston). I said to myself, ‘I’m going to stay an extra day and come to this event to pump up the crowd here in Houston, Texas.’
Olympic gold medalist swimmer Simone Manuel threw out the first pitch.
J.J. Watt greets Arnold Schwarzenegger.
J.J. Watt, who posted Snaps about how much he wanted to win the home run derby trophy for the first time, did just that.
He told CultureMap before the game, “I’m very disappointed in my past performances and am looking to avenge my last four years of losses. I’m going in confident and with an optimistic attitude, and hope to come out on top.”
In addition to winning the Home Run Derby beforehand, Watt also homered during the game.
Brian Cushing shows his baseball skills.
“I think he (Watt) is busy right now with his athletic career, but when he is ready, I’ll tell you that Hollywood is chomping at the bit to get him into movies and to make him one of the next action heroes,” Schwarzenegger told the media.
This was the first time fans have seen Watt in any kind of action since the star player had his second back surgery to repair a herniated disc. Watt appeared to be in fine form at the Charity Classic.
J.J. Watt, DeAndre Hopkins.
Whitney Mercilus swings at the plate.
Jon Weeks signs autographs for fans.
The competitive softball game scored big for charity, raising funds for the J.J. Watt Foundation, which provides after-school opportunities for children in the community to become involved in athletics so that they may learn the basic character traits of accountability, teamwork, leadership, work ethic, and perseverance.
J.J. Watt poses with young fans.
Many of Watt’s Houston Texans teammates competed alongside him at the Charity Classic, with players from the defense up against the offense, including DeAndre Hopkins, Braxton Miller, Jadeveon Clowney, Brian Cushing, Shane Lechler, Whitney Mercilus, and former wide receiver Andre Johnson, who retired in April and is back living in Houston.
Watt's defense team came out on top with a final score of 9-3.
Andre Johnson gets ready to take his turn at the plate.
Rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson made his debut, donning a hamburger bun outfit in a fun competition with rookie teammate D'Onta Foreman as DeAndre Hopkins cheers him on.
Braxton Miller and Kevin Johnson were jumping with joy.
Christian Covington poses with fans.
DeAndre Hopkins, who hit a homerun for the offense in the fifth inning, poses for a photo with his mother, Sabrina Greenlee.
Kareem Jackson crosses home plate.
Jadeveon Clowney, Najah Martin.
Duane Brown, Whitney Mercilus.
J.J. Watt's mother, Connie Watt, addresses the crowd.
J.J. Watt with his dad, John Watt.
Jadeveon Clowney, Andre Johnson, Kareem Jackson.
The SWAT teams drops down from the rafters just before game time.
Houston Texans mascot Toro and Houston Rockets mascot Clutch lead cheers.
Through the J.J. Watt Foundation, Watt has helped kids in 28 states, raising more than $2.7 million and donating items from jerseys and uniforms to entire baseball fields and gymnasiums.
J.J. Watt's brother Derek Watt was recently drafted by the Los Angeles Chargers.
Among the fans were Sofia Burns, Elizabeth Perry, and Houston Texans tight ends coach John Perry.