Sunday, July 11, 2010

Futures Game, Chun Chen and the 9,107th-best Fun Runner in Anaheim

Derwood is headed to Anaheim with his Jorge Posada batting practice shirt and 17 pens. Stay with Offbase over the next three days for All-Star coverage from a career .180 hitter.

ANAHEIM - A lot to get to after day one of the all-star festivities wrapped up from Angel Stadium. I thought the Futures Game, a team of some of the top American minor leaguers against a team of the foreign minor leaguers, was an excellent idea from its inception in 1999 when Alfonso Soriano was the MVP in the World's 7-0 victory over the USA. I also thought it was excellent idea for the Yankees to trade Soriano for Alex Rodriguez after the 2003 season. Both dreams came true, and the Futures Game is alive and well with the 12th installment taking place Sunday afternoon.

Hometown boys make good

MTD has been cheating on Chase Utley while the Philly second baseman spends time on the DL. Some called it puppy love, but now MTD is seeing Angels' prospect Mike Trout. The Anaheim faithful love the kid, too, and after pinch-running in the first, he had an infield single, reached on an error and later had a hustle double in the eighth off Mets' prospect Jeurys Familia. Trout was over-shadowed by another Anaheim product, catcher Hank Conger, who snuck a three-run home run into the first row of seats in right field in the fifth inning, and picked up MVP honors.

Should've been you, Eric

Conger had a big home run, but KC minor leaguer Eric Hosmer was the best hitter on the field Sunday. Hosmer, who is having a huge season for the Wilmington Blue Rocks of the Class A Advanced Carolina League (.349/.424/.540), went 4-for-5 with a double and two RBIs hitting in between Trout and Conger.

No runs for you

After US starter Jeremy Hellickson gave up a run in the second on an fielder's choice RBI by Wilin Rosario (Colorado Rockies), nine pitchers combined to hold the World team to eight hits (seven singles) in seven scoreless innings of work. That was like the time in RBI Baseball when Jack Clark took me deep for a two-run home run in the first, then Fernando Valuenzela, John Franco and Steve Bedrosian shut the Cards down the rest of the way. I poured Diet Coke on myself in celebration.

Chun Chen!

Best name in baseball. During the late innings, the PA announcer at Angel Stadium started calling him Chun-Hsiu Chen, which I guess is his real name. But I can't accept that. He'll always be Chun Chen to me.

Chun Chen?

Chen used a red catcher's mitt. I also can't accept that.

Around the ballpark...

* The PA announcer started the top of the first with: "Leading off for the World, the second baseman, No. 13, Brett Lawrie." That's a lot of pressure to put on Brett Lawrie.

* NIKE, some floundering shoe company, sponsored a 5K & Fun Run early Sunday morning. Each runner received a number, but this guy was the only one that wore his during the Futures Game.

No. 9,197 in your programs, No. 9,197 in your hearts.

* It got worse for the Red Gloved Menace. In the sixth, Chen's battery mate on the mound was Boston minor leaguer Stolmy Pimentel, who also wore a red glove. It was the first time in Futures Game history that a Chun and a Stolmy each used a red glove and a Derwood in section 426, row D, seat 8 choked on sunflower seeds simultaneously.

Fransisco Peguero's girlfriend always brings a book to the Giants prospect's games, so they agreed that Francisco can bring his unicycle when she wants to go shoe shopping.

Not actually Brian Downing. I asked.

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