All-Star Season, A Little Early
That’s right, tomorrow (Tuesday the 18th) is the California-Carolina League All-Star Game. Yep, I’m going. And you can, too.
I’ve gone to a few of these minor league All-Star Games. The California and Carolina League take turns hosting, and I’ve attended the last two times they were on the west coast, in Stockton and Modesto. I also attended the last minor league All-Star Game hosted by a Giants affiliate, which was the Double-A Eastern League All-Star Game in 2007 (the day after San Francisco hosted the major league version), back when the farm team was the Connecticut Defenders.
That game was fogged out after a few innings. Seriously. There’s a reason the team left Connecticut for Richmond, Virginia.
The minor league All-Star affairs are smaller events than what happened in San Francisco in 2007, obviously, but they’re still lots of fun. And the Giants prospects will make a strong showing. A game-high 8 participants were selected from San Jose, although two won’t be able to play due to injury (one of whom is Bay Area native Ryan Cavan).
Surprisingly, the team does not include some of the Giants many expected to make the game. Top pitching prospects Kyle Crick and Clayton Blackburn have battled injury and consistency. But the Giants have some prospects worth noting. Josh Osich is a left-hander that has closer potential out of the bullpen, if the team doesn’t want to see his ceiling as a starter. Edwin Escobar is a talented young pitcher that is a real sleeper prospect. Ty Blach was a 5th-rounder last year who didn’t play before this year, and has really made a name for himself in a rotation of top prospects.
Oh, and there’s a kid named Angel Villalona. Unbelievably, he’s still just 22, after being signed in 2006 as a 16-year old out of the Dominican. This is his first year back in pro ball after all that messiness. He’s struggled in some ways, but he still has that monster power that has made him so tantalizing. And he’ll be in the home run derby.
So come for the prospects. Stay for the fun…and Turkey Mike’s BBQ. 25 years ago this past weekend, Bull Durham got released. Enjoy the minor league baseball that it celebrated, that bay area fans can truly enjoy. At least, until the A’s get their way and kick it out.
After all, you could use a distraction from the big league team’s troubles right about now.
Between you and me, I hope we’ll have a beer batter during the All-Star Game. That’d be AWESOME!