Ok now that you are extremely impressed, or really pissed I just wasted four whole minutes of your life, I can start to answer some questions. I've received a lot of emails over the past week asking about my experience at the All-Star game in Salt Lake City and also wishing me luck. I wanted to thank everyone for the good luck wishes and also take a few minutes to write a little bit about my time there.
I can't lie, when I arrived to our field last Sunday I was really looking forward to that three day All-Star break. I hadn't yet found out that I had made the All-Star team, so I had a glorious three days planned of sleeping, eating, laying on my sofa, eating some more, and probably going back to sleep. And it sounded terrific! I guess the first half of the season took more out of me than I had expected. I guess that's what happens when you haven't played a full season in more than two years. Or maybe that's what happens when you turn 26. Either way I felt old and tired and needed a break. When I found out that day that I had made the team and would be flying out to Salt Lake City at 6 AM the next morning the first thing that popped in my head was, "Shit, that 4 AM alarm is gonna suck." Once again I can't lie, the alarm really did suck when it went off the next morning. But looking back on the three days spent in Utah I'm extremely glad I didn't shut my clock off and go back to bed, and had the opportunity to be a part of the All-Star week.
It's always an honor to be named an All-Star, no matter what league you are playing in. After playing in the International League for more than two months I've seen a lot of really talented players, so being chosen to represent our league meant a lot. I know a lot of you guys have been asking what type of things went on during the break, so I'll take a few minutes to break it down for you.
I arrived in Salt Lake around 2 PM on Monday after a two hour flight to Atlanta and four hour flight to Utah. That night we had the home run derby where I was elected to participate but chose against it, instead allowing other guys to experience their time in the limelight. (I'm kidding. I have three home runs this year and nobody wants to watch someone shoot singles through the 4-hole in a home run derby) The event was actually pretty amazing. The finals was between Stefan Gartrell of the Gwinett Braves and a local high school player Kayden Porter, who qualified for the derby in the local high school home run derby. Don't let his age of sixteen fool you. He stood six foot five and weighed over 250 pounds. I honestly thought at first that Mark McGwire was a celebrity guest when I saw him walking to the plate. Even though he was allowed to swing a metal bat, I don't think I've ever seen a player of any age hit balls as far as this kid was hitting them. One was estimated at 550 feet, and it honestly may have gone further. It was by far the best home run derby I've ever been to.
The following day we arrived to the field around 11 AM and spent most of the afternoon signing autographs for fans and sponsors of the All-Star event. I was really surprised at home many Salt Lake Bee's fans remembered me from my Portland Beavers days. I guess it's hard to forget a guy that struck out that much. Anyways, later that day we had a game of Miracle Baseball with the Shriner's Hospital for Children. I was amazed at the swings some of these kids had. And the smiles on their faces when they made contact with the ball was priceless.
The following morning we were up early for a luncheon where the teams were introduced at EnergySolutions Arena, the home of the Utah Jazz. The guest speaker for our event was Rod Carew, former MLB player and Hall of Fame member. He spent about thirty minutes or so speaking with us about his career, sharing advice to the players and wishing us the best of luck. At the end he spent time answering everyones questions, mostly about baseball and how he could hopefully teach us to hit about 1/10 as well as he did. It's not everyday you are able to gain some knowledge from a Hall of Fame hitter so I was pretty excited.
Our game started later that night around 7 PM where we ended up defeating the Pacific Coast League 3-0. The PCL is known for its offense but this night was all about pitching. I ended the night playing four innings at short stop and went 0-2 at the plate. The game was televised on the MLB Network, and from what I've heard from people, my hair was looking pretty damn good in HD.
Before I knew, it was time to jump on a plane the following morning around 8 AM and head back to the East Coast to play in a game that night in Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania. I did come away with some cool gifts from the event. Every player received a really nice All-Star edition Rockwell watch, along with a Flip camera. What can I say, free stuff gets me pretty excited.
Now it's back to the grind. I think we have a little less than fifty games left on our schedule. If we want any chance at making the playoffs we will have to get a nice winning streak started soon and tonight sounds pretty good to me. I'll talk with you all later.