by A.J. Coltrane
I’m watching the Triple A All Star game. It just seems like there’s more at stake.
1. It’s the Pacific Coast League against the International League — it really is two different leagues opposing each other. Actual bragging rights!
2. The players are invested in doing well. A really outstanding performance could get every teams’ attention, not just the franchise that they’re currently playing for. Nobody’s going groove a pitch to Derek Jeter. (During the MLB All Star game Adam Wainwright’s pitch to Jeter had 0.3″ of horizontal break.)
[For those of you who didn’t watch the game either, Wainwright had this to say before later changing his story:]
“I was going to give him a couple of pipe shots,” Wainwright said. “He deserved it. I didn’t know he was going to hit a double or I would have changed my mind. I thought he was going to hit something hard to the right side for a single or an out. I probably should have pitched him a little bit better.”
I think the “pipe shot” reference was excellent from a visual standpoint — Wainwright pretty literally threw the ball straight down a pipe.
3. The players are younger, and in many cases it’s my first look at a player who will be in the Major Leagues for years to come. As I write this M’s prospect Chris Taylor just hustled out a double to go 3 for 3 with two doubles and a single. For what it’s worth, both of the starting middle infielders for the PCL are Mariners.
4. The game is being played at the Durham Bulls home field. Anything that evokes the movie Bull Durham is a win in my book. They’ve even got this awesome billboard “Bull” that blows smoke and has glowing red eyes whenever someone hits a home run.
Which of course leads me to “Candlesticks always make a nice gift”: