Thursday, September 9, 2010

Catching Up - All-Star Sunday, Part 1: The All-Star Futures Game

The Angels have played host to the MLB All-Star Game three times before this year, but 2010 was the first time they've hosted since I moved back to Orange County.  There was no way on Earth that I was missing it.  I was fortunate to be able to attend all three days of the festivities.  (Thanks, anonymous people who sold your tickets on StubHub!)

It's been great seeing the All-Star Game logo all over everything this year, even if the star looks a little like the Rangers' logo.

But seriously, what the heck is this?

There were Mickey statues for every team and then some scattered around Orange County and Los Angeles.  They made the mistake of putting the Red Sox statue in OC, and it got vandalized.  While I in no way support or encourage acts of vandalism, I was stoked to hear that an Angels fan beat up Boston Mickey.

Dear Topps, cool poster, and thank you for fixing the spelling of Jered Weaver's name before you released his card this year.

Speaking of the Red Sox, I saw Boston General Manager Theo Epstein as I was walking in.  Theo, that "SOX SUCK!" you heard before you got to your seat was me.  You're welcome.

The weekend started off with the All-Star Futures game on Sunday. I was able to score a great seat for this, so with the wife's camera in tow, I settled in and enjoyed some baseball.   My seat was in the second row just past the home dugout.  There is nothing like watching a baseball game this close when you have a telephoto lens.  Here's the World team's third base coach, Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg.

Jeremy Hellickson (Rays AAA) throws the first pitch of the game.

I don't know why it was a surprise to me, but the U.S.'s starting catcher was Huntington Beach High's own Hank Conger.

Here's Hank at the plate in the first inning.

Another Angels prospect, Mike Trout, pinch ran in the first inning, and remained in the game to play center field.  This is my second favorite picture from this game.  Hopefully you'll be adding to that banner soon, Mike.

Here's Trout at the plate.  He ended up going 2-4, but reached base every time he went to the plate.

Here's Hank breaking his bat.

They always have a kid "steal third" during Angels games.  This time, the MLB mascots tried to block the kid, who took out the Red Sox mascot with a great left hook.  That's right, there is no love for Beantown in Anaheim.

I get all tingly whenever I see this shot.  This is Hank Conger hitting his first-ever home run in the Big A.

To his credit, the kid acted like he's been there before.

I just read an article where the guys waiting at the plate to give Hank props were referred to as a "Conger line."  I like it.

One unexpected bonus during the game was the food.  There was a contest where chefs from twelve of the MLB ballparks made their absolute best hot dogs, and saw which one would sell the most.  I didn't care who won.  I had to support the home team, so I got the Halo Dog.  It was the single best chili dog I have ever had in my entire life.

Angels farmhand Luis Jimenez came in late in the game to play third base for the World team.

Another Orange County product, Austin "Romeo" Romine from El Toro High.  The people behind me went NUTS when this game came to bat.  So nuts that I had to turn around and ask the guy, "So, high school boyfriend?"  We had a pretty good laugh over that one.  Turns out the guy had gone to school with Romeo, who came over and posed for pics with them after the game.

The U.S. won the game 9-1, and Hank Conger was named MVP.  It was the start of a great day for Angels fans.  Here's Hank being interviewed by Erin Andrews.

Coming soon: All-Star Sunday Part 2 - the Legends and Celebrities game.