Why I like the Futures Game
No, I didn’t have the weekend off. I’m covering the all-star festivities the next few days in NY, but I didn’t want it to take away from what was a key series for the Tigers, so I didn’t blog about it until the Tigers were done.
I didn’t get a chance to write about Wilkin Ramirez and what he did Sunday because I had to write the game story for the national site, and frankly, all the good pitching on the World Team ensured that Wilkin was going to be overlooked.
He had a single and a walk. He was on the back end of back-to-back runners picked off by A’s prospect Brett Anderson, but he said afterwards that the base coach at the time (they were rotating by inning, so I’m not sure who) kept suggesting he take a bigger and bigger lead until Wilkin decided he was going.
What really surprised me about this game is how much players on the World team were looking forward to playing in Yankee Stadium. Ramirez said afterwards that it was a huge dream of his. In the Dominican, he said, the Yankees and Red Sox get so much of a following (big surprise, I know) that Yankee Stadium is a hallowed ground. Some of the pitchers had similar feelings, including Carlos Carrasco.
This is the fourth time in five years that I’ve covered the Futures Game, and I have to admit, it might be my favorite part of the festivities. It’s the one on-field event that’s really kind of low-key — not a packed ballpark for fans or media, not many egos to deal with. It’s really a nice, well-run event, and it’s something you put in the memory banks for a few years down the road, when some of these guys emerge in the big leagues. That could be sooner for a lot of players this year, because there was a ton of talent from Double-A.
The real scrum comes Monday with the player press conferences, or what I like to consider as baseball’s equivalent of Super Bowl Media Day — all the players gathered at tables, and way too much media to get anything in edgewise. We’ll see how it goes.