All-Star Week in Durham – Day #1
I’m all set up in the Durham Bulls press box as All-Star week is upon us! It’s All-Star week around baseball and I’m here in Durham, NC for the Triple-A All-Star Game. Of course, it would be nice to be in Minnesota for the Major League All-Star Game, but I’m happy to be a part of this year’s Triple-A Game. Who needs the majors when you have the minors! I’ve been working in Minor League Baseball for eight years now and every year brings new adventures! I’m very excited for the experiences and memories I will make this week!
I’m here to help out my good pals Scott Carter and Matt Sutor, who do a great job for the Durham Bulls. It helps that their ballpark is just a bit over two hours away from ours in Charlotte, but nonetheless, I was interested in making this trip even if it was 10 hours away! With the entire league off until Thursday, I needed to see some baseball anyways! I’m also helping out MLB Network’s coverage on Wednesday
Tonight is the Home Run Derby, and while there aren’t any Charlotte participants in this year’s game, I’m eager to watch some long home runs here in Durham. Hoping to see a few hit the Bull too!
This is such a unique ballpark. Being a fan of the classic movie — Bull Durham — it’s really fun to be at this park with so many references and familiar faces — including their mascot race! It’s fun to see the Bull Durham characters come to life! Our Royalty Racers — King Meck, Queen Charlotte, and Jerry the Jester were made by the same company. There’s an FYI for you in case you were interested!
It’s my third trip here this season, as I made the trek earlier this year when Chicago White Star — and current Major League All-Star Chris Sale made a rehab appearance there for the Knights. In fact, that was a great trip. My dad was in town visiting from PA and he took the trip with me. Always nice when you can spend a few hours with the person who made me the huge baseball fan I am today!
We made the drive twice — since rain washed away Sale’s first attempt at a rehab start. After driving all the way there, the game was postponed and a doubleheader was in the cards for the next day! We were back the next day to see Sale put on a show! He struck-out 11 Bulls over just four innings of work. He was absolutely brilliant! He was activated just days later and back in Chicago to pitch for the White Sox. He’s an All-Star this year and has continued to pitch extremely well.
As for today and the rest of this week, keep an eye out for photos, interviews, blogs, and more from Durham from yours truly. This is a great experience and I’m going to make the most out of it.
As for the Knights, catcher Josh Phegley is here and will play on Wednesday. Charlotte’s backstop is leading the International League in nearly every defensive category for catchers — and is tops among IL catchers in home runs with 13. He’s had an amazing year and continues to do everything right for the Knights. He has a bright future ahead of him!
While Phegley is here, it is unfortunate that Knights shortstop Tyler Saladino is not here. He was elected to the game by the fans and was scheduled to start at SS. He has had a career year — hitting .310 through 82 games this season for the Knights. Unfortunately, an injury is holding him back from this year’s game. With a few days rest, the hope is to have him ready to go and back on the field for the Knights this week. He has been a true MVP for the Knights this season. Between his offensive numbers, his defensive ability, and the fact he can be plugged into just about any position on the diamond, Saladino has been a true asset to the Knights.
Stay tuned for more news and notes from Durham. NC as I continue to live out another one of my dreams. I get to watch baseball everyday — and even when baseball is not on our schedule — I’m watching baseball. Not too shabby!