Chicks Dig the Long Ball

Major League Baseball’s All-Star celebration is filled with all sorts of sights, sounds and activities. The festivities are not just about the mid-summer classic but include other events that at times overshadow the actual all-star game. It began on Sunday even before the first half of the regular season games had completed. The first event was the Futures game which featured many of the minor league’s best in a showcase of the future superstars of baseball. The Arizona Diamondbacks organization was represented by two participants in this year’s Futures Game. Playing for Team World was outfielder Carlos Gonzalez who has been touted as one of those rare five-tool players capable of carrying a team on his back with both his offense and his defense. The second participant was Justin Upton who was the first overall pick in the draft in 2005. Upton has been making his mark this season quickly moving through the minor league levels. In just his second professional season Upton has gone from high Class-A Versalia to Class-AA Mobile. He quickly showed why he warranted the number 1 pick driving a ball into the outfield stands. And while it was impressive to see these youngsters showcase their talent the stands were relatively empty for such a big event. Many fans were waiting instead for the activities scheduled for Monday.

The Home Run Challenge has become the darling of the All-Star festivities. Fans and media alike are drawn towards the power displays that these athletes show launching bomb after bomb into areas of the ballpark few balls ever reach during a regular game. The media love this contest because it lends itself well to hyperbole and drama. The announcers make it seem as if every swing is a matter of life and death. For most of the players it is simply an opportunity to watch other prolific hitters and perhaps learn a few nuances that they might be able to use at some future date.

The stands which were quite empty for the Futures Game were now filled to capacity especially those in the outfield between the foul lines. Many of these fans were hoping that luck would shine down upon them and they would be fortunate enough to catch a home run hit by their favorite player. While the stands were filled to standing room only, it was the crowd outside the stadium that was getting the most media coverage. Beyond the right field wall at AT&T Stadium sits McCovey Cove which is part of the San Francisco bay. This waterway is usually home to a few daring souls in inflatable rafts and kayaks who patrol the bay waiting for Barry Bonds to launch a historic blast into the water for them to retrieve. Today with some of baseball’s best home run hitters, the bay looked like the Interstate during rush hour. I firmly believe that you could walk across the surface of McCovey Cove and have your feet never touch the water. Boats were packed in like sardines. The sight was reminiscent of Spring Break at Lake Havasu. All that was missing were drunken college students and women flashing there “assets” as cameras covered the debauchery. Oh wait, I think we had that too. I guess it is true; chicks really do dig the long ball.

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