Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Triple A All-Star Game

The day that all baseball fans around the Triangle had been waiting for finally arrived last night at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.  The Durham Bulls hosted the mid summer classic between the International and Pacific Coast Leagues and they did not disappoint.  I arrived early and the atmosphere was great from the get go.  The gates opened a half hour early for the event.  Here's a look from the outside of the park in the front courtyard before the game.  

Batting practice was still underway when the crowd entered the stadium.  It seems like that can be a rare occurrence at the DBAP sometimes, so it was cool to hang out and watch the Pacific Coast players take their hacks.   I grabbed a drink, sat back, and watched a batting practice group with Dodgers prospect Joc Pederson and Cardinals prospect Stephen Piscotty.  

Shortly before the game the festivities kicked off with the player introductions.  The Pacific Coast Coast All-Stars were announced first, as the visiting team, followed by the International League.  The biggest applause was a toss up between several Durham Bulls players.  I'd go with Mike Montgomery or Mikie Mahtook as the loudest, or perhaps the Bulls manager, Charlie Montoyo when he threw out the ceremonial first pitch.  

I was happy to see the Bulls recognize Montoyo before the game last night.  He really flies under the radar around here, but after being hired by the team to manage the club in 2007 Montoyo has managed to win six division titles, two Governor's Cups (International League Championship), a Triple National Championship, two Manager of the Year awards, and a Mike Coolbaugh award.  Why don't more people talk about the awesome work this guy does?  I am glad he got his moment in the sun in front of a large crowd.   

Here are the two squads lined up right before the National Anthem.  

After the National Anthem there was a fly over, but the planes used for the flyover were older planes. Maybe World War 2 era planes?  I am not an aviation expert, but it was a pretty cool scene and quieter than having the stadium buzzed by an F-16.  

Which brings us to the game.  The International League started Liam Hendricks from the Buffalo Bisons (Blue Jays).  Here what the scene looked like right before the first batter.  

During the first inning I was excited to see Dodgers prospect Joc Pederson.  Watching an International League means that I miss out on talent from the Pacific Coast League.  Pederson seems like a legit prospect, so I watched him closely.  His first at-bat resulted in a strikeout.  

While Pederson did not do much damage at the plate in the first inning, the International League jumped out to an early lead, which proved to be more than enough, on a Wilson Betimet single and a Jhonatan Solano home run.  Here's a Betimet hit, which was nearly caught by Reno first baseman Mike Jacobs....

and the Solano blast.  In my opinion it was a bit of shame that this guy did not win the Outstanding Player Award.  

The other player I really enjoyed watching on the International League was National outfield prospect Stephen Souza.  He's got pop, he's got speed, he can catch, he's hitting .370 something.  Lat night he made a good catch and had some quality hits including a double.  

Back to Pederson.  Somewhere in between the International League scoring a ton of runs Joc did this, which was pretty impressive.

With the game in hand and a Joc Pederson blast on the books the last thing on my to do list was to watch Cardinals outfield prospect Stephen Piscotty.  He had a sharp single to left field during his first at-bat.

and also came up again in the ninth with the Pacific Coast League down to their last at-bat.

Liam Hendricks was named the Outstanding Player for the International League for his two spotless innings, while UVA product Chris Taylor, from the Mariners organization, was named Outstanding Player for the Pacific Coast League for his 3-4 effort.  

Overall, it was a spectacular evening of baseball.  The Durham Bulls did a great job of hosting this event.  

1 comment:

  1. The Bulls did a tremendous job with the Triple A All-Star Game. I attended all of the events surrounding that game!