All-Star Sunday- Baseball Past and Future
By: Howard Goldin
Photo By: Bill Menzel
Flushing, NY---The All-Star game focuses on the best in the current year of MLB. The general voting public, the players and the managers of the two teams theoretically select those who they believe are having the most productive seasons in 2013. The only admitted exception is that every one of the 30 clubs in the majors must have a representative.
Sunday’s activities at Citi Field did not include any current stars of baseball. The first game provided fans a brief glimpse into the future. The 15th annual Futures Game featured 50 star players who may later this season or shortly after be playing in the majors. Five players selected to one of the two squads have already in the last two weeks been brought up to the majors.
Last year’s Futures Game included 19 players who have since been on a major league roster. Alumni of past futures contests comprise 34 members of the current 2013 American and National League All-Star game rosters. Obviously, this year’s 50 were worth to watch.
The two starting pitchers are hopeful of playing at Citi Field for years to come as they are in the Mets organization. 20 year-old Noah Syndergaard of the U.S, Futures and 22 year-old Rafael Montero of the World Futures may one day join Matt Harvey and Zach Wheeler in the Mets rotation,
Each pitcher on both squads was limited to one inning so that every pitcher would have an opportunity to participate. Each of the starters only faced three batters. Syndergaard gave up a single to Xander Bogaerts, but the latter was thrown out trying to steal second. Bogaerts, a native of Aruba, got two of the three hits of the World. Montero set down all three batters he faced.
Brandon Nimmo, a potential future outfielder for the Mets entered the game in the fifth. Before the contest, he expressed his feeling of playing in Citi Field, “It’s nice to play where you want to play for the rest of your career. Hopefully, it’s the first of many, many games for me here.”
The only Yankees prospect on either roster was pitcher Rafael de Paula. The native of the Dominican Republic pitched the fifth for the World. The 22 year-old, now pitching for the class A Tampa Yankees, showed a fast ball in the mid-90s.
He fanned Minnesota phenom Byron Buxton to start the inning. CJ Wong grounded a single through the middle. De Paula lost control of an off-speed pitch and hit the next batter. C.J. Crons, the only U.S. batter with two hits in the game, grounded into a force play for the second out. A fly to center ended De Pula’s scoreless frame.
In the second, a single by Joc Pedereson followed by a double by Christian Yelich accounted for the first U/S. run. World took the lead with two runs in the fourth. A two-run homer by Matt Davidson in the bottom of the inning gave the U.S. a 3-2 advantage. The U.S. scored a final run in the eighth. Davidson was awarded the game MVP Award.
The look to the future was followed by a look to the past
As major league veterans, some well-remembered for their years in New York, joined with a group of celebrities for an entertaining softball game. Seeing Bernie Williams, wearing a Yankees cap, Ricky Henderson, a former Yankee and Met, looking no older than in his playing days, Mike Piazza, a Mets icon who will be inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame this year, and Mets favorites Darryl Strawberry, Doc Gooden and John Franco joined with George Lopez, Ashanti, Aylssa Milano and other celebrities to form two teams. Also playing were Hall of Famers Ozzie Smith, Rollie Fingers, Andre Dawson and potential members of the Hall, Frank Thomas and Fred Lynn.
Pitching for the National League was Jennie Finch, a U.S. Olympic Gold Medalist in softball. Unlike her normal fast pitch which probably would have handcuffed every batter, she threw a slow and high arcing pitch that could be hit. Fingers was given a rare start for the A.L.
Memories of the past were evoked and led to cheers when Williams and Piazza homered and Smith showed his prowess at shortstop has not disappeared since his retirement. A big cheer was reserved for the homer hit by amputee Josh Wege. Angelino Lopez wore Yassiel Puig’s jersey #66. The N.L. won the six inning affair, 8-5. Finch thus recorded a complete game win. A crowd of 39,185 had a great time.