July 2008

Ball game

The World wins 3-0. Lin is named the game’s Most Valuable Player. Look for these stars at park near you  … in the future, of course.

Remember the name

Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen won’t have the fondest memories of playing in Yankee Stadium. He went 0-for-2 at the plate… not that anyone really knew he was up.

“My first time up, they announced me as Greg Golson,” he said. “My next time up, they said I was Dexter Fowler. It’s like, ‘Can you get my name right one time!”

McCutchen nearly made a name for himself by taking Hector Rondon deep in his second and final at-bat in the third, but the ball hooked foul.

“I thought it was gone for sure,” he said. “That pitcher was like, ‘You’re not getting another fastball!'”


Hey, these guys are fans, too. Many members of the U.S. team have their cameras with them today, asking teammates to snap a quick pic of them at the plate or standing in the dugout with the field in the background.

Oh, they’re also quite taken by ESPN’s Erin Andrews, who is doing live interviews from the dugout. Several guys have lined up to have their picture taken with her.

Yeah, not your typical game.

Media central

futures5.jpgThis is the media center of the world! In the World dugout now we have ESPN, ESPN Deportes and MLB.com all broadcasting and doing interviews live.

Players are loving all the attention.

Blue Jays prospect Scott Campbell is from New Zealand and played every sport growing up as a kid. How did he start playing baseball? He found an ad in a newspaper looking for players and thought it would be a good idea.

An unexpected start

White Sox left-hander Clayton Richard didn’t know he was getting the start for the U.S. team until he arrived to Yankee Stadium this morning. He’d be lying if he told you he didn’t think about the aura of this ballpark beforehand.

“Once you’re on the mound, it’s baseball,” he said. “But before the game, you can’t help but think about all the people who have played here and made this ballpark what it is.”

Richard earned today’s start with a breakthrough ’08 that has seen him ascend from Double-A Birmingham to Triple-A Charlotte. Combined between the two stops, he is 12-6 with a 2.44 ERA.

“I’m doing the little things better,” he said. “I’ve just been focusing on getting ahead of hitters a little more. That’s been the key.”

As for taking the ball first today, Richard, who gave up a run in the first, said, “It was a great opportunity. I’m glad I got to experience it.”

Catch ’em while you can

A’s pitcher Brett Anderson and Indians first baseman Matt LaPorta proved to be quite a duo in the third inning. Anderson successfully picked off two runners at first — Elvis Andrus and Wilkin Ramirez — by tossing to LaPorta, who then made two perfect throws to second as the runners took off.

“Golly!” LaPorta said when he came back in the dugout. “I haven’t done that in a while.”

The members of the U.S. team were high-fiving Anderson, who worked a scoreless inning in large part because of the pickoffs, when one of them yelled out to LaPorta, “Man, you did more work than [Anderson] did that inning!”

Scouting the opposition

Indians third baseman Wes Hodges, who plays for Double-A Akron, is no stranger to World starter Carlos Carrasco, who tossed a scoreless first.

“This guy’s tough,” Hodges told U.S. teammates Chris Valaika and Bryan Anderson. “He drilled me in the ribs once.”

Hodges then joked that if he’s hit by a pitch today, he might have to charge the mound. After all, how many guys can say they charged the mound in a Futures Game?


futures3.jpgMets outfield prospect Fernando Martinez received a loud ovation during the pre-game ceremonies and a nice hand when he strolled to the plate for his first at-bat in the second inning. He obliged with a single. The fans went nuts. You think there are any Mets fans here?

After 1 1/2 innings, it’s 1-0 World. Elvis (Andrus) is in the building and scored for the World in the first inning.

There is always a joker in every dugout and this year it looks like the title belongs to Giants prospect Pablo Sandoval. The guy is a riot and has not stop talking since the game started.

Minor complaints

Here’s a new flash: Yankee Stadium is old. As such, its conditions aren’t the most posh in the world, even by the standards of Minor Leaguers.

“This dugout is small!” one member of the U.S. team remarked.

The guys are also a bit surprised by the small crowd in attendance.

A tarry situation

We might have a George Brett-type incident in the making going on in the U.S. dugout. Phillies shortstop Jason Donald grabbed the wrap used to apply pine tar to the bats and found it to be a tad, shall we say, overserved. The pine tar was caked on this thing.

“Just a little bit too much,” Donald said with a laugh, showing the wrap to coach Reggie Smith.

Smith replied: “You’re going to get up to the plate and the bat’s going to slip right out of your hand!”