July 2008

‘Venezuela, Venezuela!”

Cardinals legend Ozzie Smith took a few steps toward the World dugout and was mobbed by the players. I don’t know if he speaks Spanish, but he sure is trying. Smith is playing in the cefutures2.jpglebrity softball game that follows the Futures Game.

He was talking to a few players for several minutes but all I could make out was “Venezuela, Venezuela!”

Here’s a shot of Astros pitching prospect  Polin Trinidad

Familiar face

futures1.jpgIs it just me or does Tino Martinez still look like he could play? The former Yankees infielder and current World manager was all smiles before the start of the Futures Game but he’s going to have his work cut out for him come game time. There is a lot of talent in this World dugout and he’s going to try to get every prospect in the game.

The mood is light in the dugout and it’s full of international media.Players are taking photos and laughing at each other’s jokes. Don’t expect that to change when the game starts.

These guys are going to have some fun — win or lose.

Future Yankee

Behind home plate. The upper deck. Right field. Left field.

It was hard to tell who was having more fun, Yankees prospect Jesus Montero or his family. The Venezuelan catcher spent most of batting practice chatting up his loved ones and taking photos of them in different parts of the stadium.

“This is the first time for me and for all of my family to be here,” he said. “To be at Yankee Stadium is an honor. If I work hard, I’ll be playing at the new one next door.”

Living in the future

Welcome to the 2008 XM All-Star Futures Game — blog version.

Myself and my MLB.com colleague, Jesse Sanchez, will be in the respective dugouts of the U.S. and World teams and will be providing you with quotes, color and commentary from today’s action.

The U.S. team will be seeking to avenge last year’s humbling 7-2 loss, which is still the subject of international tension.

Just last year, the likes of Justin Upton, Clay Buchholz, Jacoby Ellsburty, Geovany Soto, Jay Bruce, Joey Votto, Rick VandenHurk, J.R. Towles, Luke Hochevar, Clayton Kershaw, Joba Chamberlain, Carlos Gonzalez and some guy named Evan Longoria were playing in this game.

Clearly, then, the players you’ll see here today represent the future of the game. So stay locked in here and let’s see just how bright the future looks.

– Anthony Castrovince