Southern League All-Star Game photo diary
On Monday, July 14th, I attended the Southern League All-Star Game in Zebulon, NC, the first Midsummer Classic I've been to that hasn't ended in a tie.
Although only a 20-minute drive east of Raleigh, Zebulon is as rural as its name suggests. Legend has it that sort of state legislation or agreement forbids a second professional baseball team from locating in the Triangle (the name for the Raleigh-Durham metro area) to prevent competition with the Bulls. Hence the Carolina Mudcats, the Marlins' AA affiliate, play just on the metropolitan fringe.
Five County Stadium
You know which exit to take off of Highway 264 to get to Five County Stadium; it's the one with the huge baseball water tower looming over it.
It was good to see all six Huntsville players contribute to the game. Alcides Escobar, batting in the 2 position, promptly hit an RBI single in the first, scoring Carolina's John Raynor, and scored later in the inning on a passed ball. Escobar played the whole game, going 2 for 4 and scoring another run on Chris Coghlan's 3-run HR. He also made a few dazzling defensive plays at short, showing good range and a strong arm.
Escobar takes second on the throw home on his RBI single in the 1st
Escobar batting in the 5th
Angel Salome started at catcher and hit fifth. He went 0-for-1 with a walk, and was replaced by West Tennessee's Adam Moore in the 5th inning.
Angel Salome at the plate in the 1st
Cole Gillespie started in left and batted 8th. He had singles in his first two at bats, going 2-for-4 for the night.
Cole Gillespie batting in the 2nd
Michael Brantley gets the best sub award. He pinch hit for Raynor in the 5th and promptly lined a single off of the Suns' Jesus Castillo. Escobar followed with his second single of the game, and they both scored on Coghlan's 3-run HR. Brantley also singled in the 6th, going 2 for 2 on the night.
Brantley and Escobar score on Chris Coghlan's HR in the 5th
On the mound, David Welch pitched a scoreless 3rd and Patrick Ryan pitched a scoreless 7th to represent the Stars' pitchers. The South (the away team) only managed 1 run on 5 hits. Ben Jukich got the win for the North and received the pitcher of the game award despite only throwing 5 pitches in the 1st inning. Coghlan got the MVP, much to the delight of the Mudcats' fans.
One player of note on the South was Birmingham's Miguel Negron, first round draft pick in 2000 by the Blue Jays. He's now nearing 26 but the White Sox are still giving him a try. He was 0 for 2 with a GIDP.
The game had some classic minor league shenanigans, too:
Birdzerk break dancing with the home plate ump
Reggy playing dead at the first base coach's box
Scoring an All-Star Game is a worthy challenge. Having to find room on the sheet for the South's nine pitchers felt like it would have felt like if anyone had cared enough to keep score in the Jerry Royster days.
The pitchers spill into the catchers list, then into the extra batters list