PRESS RELEASE – Former Altoona Curve and Major League pitcher Matt Duff will return to his old “office” on Wednesday, May 4, as the co-host of the top-rated Outdoor Channel show, Friends of NRA, will film a segment at Blair County Ballpark.
Duff, who pitched for the Curve in 1999-2000, will be joined by his co-host Jessie Abbate (pronounced like Abbott) at the ballpark. The duo will meet and greet fans at the main gate, throw out ceremonial first pitches, and join the Curve Radio Network broadcast of the Curve vs. Akron game that night. Following the appearance in Altoona, Duff and Abbate will be traveling to New York’s Citi Field where Duff will renew acquaintances with former Curve teammate and current New York Mets’ pitcher D.J. Carrasco.
“I got a call from Duffer out of the blue last week,” said Curve General Manager Rob Egan. “He told me what he was up to and that they would be out this way. We’re thrilled to welcome him back to Blair County Ballpark and know fans of the Friends of NRA show will enjoy getting to meet Matt and Jessie in person. I told him he could come only if he promised not to give me a ‘hot foot’ again like he and his bullpen mates did back in ’99.”
After pitching for all or parts of six seasons in the minor leagues and racking up Eastern League and Pacific Coast League All-Star honors in the process, Duff reached the Major Leagues in 2002 with the St. Louis Cardinals. He pitched professionally for five more seasons primarily in the St. Louis, Boston, and Toronto organizations, before an arm injury prompted his retirement.
The native of Alligator, Mississippi, who grew up hunting on the Mississippi River Delta, forged relationships during his playing days that he would parlay into his current livelihood. Duff and perennial National League All-Star Chipper Jones of the Atlanta Braves teamed up to begin the popular Buck Commander series on Outdoor Channel which includes other current and former Major League players Adam LaRoche, Ryan Langerhans, and Tom Martin.
From his hunting and television experience, the opportunity to join Abbate in the outdoor network’s new show, Friends of NRA, presented itself in 2010. It has quickly become the Outdoor Channel’s top-rated show. The program follows Duff and Abbate across the country as they reveal the real-life stories and contributions of members of the National Rifle Association. The segment filmed on Wednesday night at Blair County Ballpark will be seen this summer in an episode as part of the show’s second season.
Abbate is a top-ranked professional shooter who has won 22 National and 19 World Champion shooting titles across five different disciplines. She is an avid hunter (both bow and rifle) and part-time college student in addition to her work as co-host of the Friends of NRA show.
Great seats are still available for the Curve’s upcoming homestand which begins April 29 and runs through May 5. For more information or to purchase tickets, call 877-99-CURVE, log on to altoonacurve.com or visit the Blair County Ballpark ticket office.