Live (sort of) from the 2011 South Atlantic League All-Star Game
This year’s version of the South Atlantic League All-Star Game was a unique opportunity for me on several levels.
First, I had never been to an all-star game of any kind, other than when I made the Easton Senior League All-Stars at age 15, some 17 years ago.
Second, it was an easy Father’s Day gift for my dad and a night out with the wife.
Third, the game was held in Salisbury at Arthur Perdue Stadium for the first time in 13 years. It will be 13 years until the game is held there again.
Finally, it represented the rare opportunity to see uber-prospects Bryce Harper (Washington) and Manny Machado (Orioles) playing on the same team. As an added bonus, it was announced before the game Harper and Machado would be playing their final game in the South Atlantic League before promotion.
Instead of a standard blog, I figured I’d just run down my list of notes for the game and give you lots of accompanying photos and video.
- We get here early for the Home Run Derby. Not early enough apparently. Harper went first and hit no home runs. Who lets the primary gate attraction go first?
- Chris Wallace (Lexington) of the South team wins the derby with some McGwire-esque bombs in the final two rounds. Wallace was hitting moonshoots. Everything was clearing the second wall. What does it say about baseball these days that my first comment to Dad was something about checking Wallace for PEDs?
- Before the game starts we get an appearance by Earl Weaver, who gets a nice ovation. Always good to see The Earl. Alas, he did not kick dirt on the umpire.
- Machado gets a nice ovation, batting second for the North squad. Harper is batting third and gets a lusty booing for his cockiness and since it’s a partisan Oriole fan crowd.
- Harper and the South’s Carlos Willoughby are rocking this awesome high-stirrups look. Like the old-school St. Louis Cardinals look.
- House is packed here at Perdue Stadium. Doesn’t sound like much, but when you’ve been to this field on a Monday night against Kannapolis with 500 people in the stands, it’s worth noting.
- The South’s Bryce Massanari rocks the Jeff Bagwell-style batting stance, just not as low to the ground. Bagwell and Rickey Henderson had the most uncomfortable looking batting stances I’ve ever seen.
- Machado singles and Harper puts the North on the board with an RBI groundout. Jim Murphy hits a sac fly to score Machado and give the North a 2-0 lead.
- The last out of the second inning showed why Machado is such a good prospect. He charges a slow rolling grounder and throws out the batter on the run. It’s a difficult play that Machado made look ridiculously easy.
- The South’s Brandon Jacobs puts on a bad base-running clinic in the 3rd inning, trying to take third base with no one out on a groundball to shortstop. This naturally has dad and me wondering if Jacobs is an Oriole prospect, since the Orioles have done this kind of dumb baserunning for at least a decade.
- The South’s Adam Duvall crushes a two run homer off Roman Mendez. Me and dad discuss how Jacobs’ baserunning blunder could end up costing the South a big inning.
- Nevermind, Cory Vaughn just touched up Mendez for another two-run homer and a 5-2 South lead.
- Dad on Mendez, who got touched up for five runs in the 3rd inning: “Back to the Dominican for him.”
- Mendez is yanked for the man with the strangest name in this game: Lisalberto Bonilla of the Lakewood Blueclaws.
- Duvall makes his bid for MVP with another single to put the South up 6-2.
- Harper hits an absolute laser of a line drive but right at the shortstop in his final SAL at-bat. Some goof in the crowd starts chanting “overrated.”
- Tonight I have seen the following jerseys: a Sammy Sosa Orioles jersey, a Corey Patterson Orioles jersey-shirt and a Peter Boulware Ravens jersey. I’m trying to figure out which of those is worse. Probably the Patterson since it’s the jersey-shirt, which means the wearer was too cheap to buy an actual jersey like the Sosa guy. Plus, he bought Corey Patterson, of all guys. The Peter Boulware guy is strange to me, since Boulware hasn’t played an NFL game in 6 years, but unlike Sosa and Patterson, at least he was a good player in Baltimore. Either way, time for some new jerseys bros.
- Machado hits another single but flies to left in his final SAL at-bat before moving on to the bustling metropolis of Frederick.
- Here’s a sighting. Remember the MTV show “Two-A-Days” about Hoover High in Alabama. Well right here in Salisbury is the QB featured on the show, Ross Wilson! Go figure. He’s a prospect in the White Sox organization. The most notable things about “Two-A-Days” were 1) all the guys on the team rocked the Justin Bieber hair cut before Bieber did, which makes them sort of like the Velvet Underground of bad haircuts and 2) the Hoover coach at the time, who was a hard-driving, bible-thumping disciplinarian, ended up getting caught up in a scandal where he allegedly had multiple mistresses, even an entire second family. I’m so glad Ross Wilson was in this game so I could drop that useless knowledge on you.
- This game was billed as a chance to see the top three picks from the 2010 draft on the same field. We got two out of three - we saw Harper (first overall) and Machado (third overall) - but pitcher Jameson Taillon (second overall) did not appear.
- South team wins, 6-3. With a homer and three RBIs, Duvall is named MVP. Fireworks follow. All told, a good time at the Sally League All Star Game.