Society rule number one: Never leave the party early. Even when you're sick, the champagne might be counteracting your medicine, and a brisk walk from the parking garage has left you sweating through your silk dress. Inevitably, this is when Kate Upton will show up, looking every bit the part of a supermodel-slash-baseball wife, and you'll have missed her. Again.
It's a hard lesson to learn. You'll also miss her husband, Justin Verlander, and some of his most famous teammates—Carlos Correa, George Springer, et al—but at least you've seen those guys on the field before. Hall-of-Famers Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell will pop in, too, as will prominent socialites and mayoral candidates alike, all thanks to Lance McCullers Jr. and José Altuve.
The pitcher and second baseman again hosted their annual charity event, Team Up for Kids and K9s, at Tootsies last Thursday night. The luxury retail institution played host to a debonair crowd at the red-carpet soirée, raising nearly $400,000 in the process for two universally beloved causes: children and animals.
Specifically, the funds benefit the Lance McCullers Jr. Foundation—McCullers's nonprofit with his wife, Kara, that advocates for pet rescue, adoption, and no-kill shelters—and the Sunshine Kids Foundation, which serves children with cancer. The latter is one of several pediatric charities Altuve and his wife, Nina, are especially passionate about.
A slew of 'Stros turned out to show their support, gamely posing for photos with fans and even hopping on-stage to promote their involvement in charity auction items including custom paintings of Altuve, McCullers, Verlander, Correa, and Biggio by artist Michael Vahl.
A private dinner at B&B Butchers with Altuve and Lance and Kara McCullers was another hot-ticket item, and Ben Berg personally drummed up plenty of bids. Autographed memorabilia was up for grabs, too, plus memorable art like a one-of-a-kind Astros tribute piece sculpted by Scott Joseph Moore and painted by Frankie Gonzalez. Then, of course, there was the statement goat statue (get it?).
When guests weren't preoccupied chatting up their favorite world-class athletes, they were fawning over the very good boys (and girls) BARC brought to the event, including one tiny pupper in an Astros bandana and another particularly photogenic black lab who managed to hold his own in the same shot as Kate freaking Upton—no small feat.