June 30, 2011
Ah, vacation. Time to take a week to forget about the craziness of everyday life and spend a week relaxing at the beach.
Baseball always seems to find a way to find me no matter where I go. Whether it be an impromptu game of catch or talking about the game with random people wherever I go, no matter where the location, baseball finds me.
This past Saturday, my family and I arrived in Ocean City, Maryland ready for a reenergizing week at the beech free from baseball, right? Wrong.
As we received a key to check into our condo, we received a copy of Ocean City Today. On the front page was a great, big ad for the South Atlantic League All-Star Game that was to be played on June 21st at the home of the Delmarva Shorebirds in nearby Salisbury. Yes, the Sally-League had found it's way with rosters loaded with future starts including Jameson Taillon, Manny Machado, and the hype-machine that is Bryce Harper. Better yet, there was a pre-game home run derby scheduled so maybe I could get some ballhawking in during my week away.
My dad and I set out for Arthur W. Perdue Stadium ready to have an up-close look at the prospects we had heard so much about.
Situated on Route 50, Perdue Stadium is a beautiful little minor-league park with a nice brick fa?ade, plenty of space to move around, and even a carousel down the left field line for children. Unfortunately, a nasty case of sunburn from the previous day at the beach kept me from ballhawking, but I had a blast watching BP and the derby from inside the stadium.
By walking around the stadium, you would have never thought you were at a single-A all star game but rather an MLB one. Swarms of reporters followed Harper and other players' every move on the field. The stands had thousands of people, even two hours before the game. So much for the minor leagues not being such a big deal.
The game's biggest star, Bryce Harper, was nursing an injured thumb and was limited in his duties. When he was introduced, a chorus of boos rained down on him, as many fans haven't taken his antics in a positive way. He went 0-2 with an RBI.
I was really hoping to see Pirate prospect Jameson Taillon pitch, but as the case with many starters, their schedule doesn't allow it. I really liked what I saw from Delmarva Shorebirds shortstop Manny Machado. I feel the Orioles have found their shortstop of the future.
It certainly is amazing to see such a good number of young, raw, talents that is developing. Since these players have just been drafted, they have a lot of room to grow and make improvements as they work on moving up the ranks. Yet on the other side, you see the flashes of brilliance of players that we will be seeing in the future in the big leagues (and chasing their home runs and foul balls). I have my scorecard from that night. I will be looking forward to the day ten years in the future when I can look at it and see how many MLB players I saw for the first time in Salisbury back in 2011.
Steve Uhlmann is a contributing columnist to myGameBalls.com and also maintains a Blog.