ABL ALL-STAR WEEKEND COMING UP
Major League Baseball’s 2013 All-Star game has been put to bed, but that doesn’t mean the midsummer festivities are over. It’s time to do it Alaska-style as the ABL brings its version of the “Midsummer Classic” to Anchorage this Friday-Sunday, July 19-21. And unlike their highly-paid brethren, the boys of the Alaska League don’t take a break. ABL play only gets more intense!
If you had to pick one weekend to take in some ABL ball, this would be an excellent chance to get out and catch a game (or several). The festivities start with the annual Scout’s Showcase on Friday and Saturday. The event is designed to give MLB scouts — who are certain to be present in abundance on both days — a chance to see all six Alaska Baseball League teams in action both days. Each day features three games, starting at 1 o’clock p.m. and stretching on into the evening.
This will be a chance to see some of the league’s top professional prospects, and while the event caters to the professional scouts who have come to the far north looking for the next Randy Johnson (a former Glacier Pilot), it’s open to the public. It’s one of my favorite events of the season and a great way to get, literally, an entire day of baseball in. You can show up whenever you want, or stay for the whole day.
On Sunday, the festivities surrounding the annual Alaska Baseball League All-Star Game will commence. At 1 p.m., the pre-game celebration will start with a Home Run Derby featuring the league’s most capable power hitters.
Then, at 4 p.m. on the 21st, the real deal begins: the long-awaited All-Star Game. The game takes a North vs. South format, with the Bucs, Pilots and Oilers sharing a bench against the Goldpanners, Miners and Chinooks. The South will be looking for revenge as the North defends its title from last season. For one night, all of the league’s very best players will take the field at once in a game that is sure to be spectacular.
So make sure you get out there and join in the celebration! The ABL season is already coming down the home stretch, and this weekend is obviously one of the most action-packed of the year.
All-Star rosters will be available soon on AlaskaBaseballLeague.org.
MLB ALL-STAR GAME
The best Alaska Baseball League players aren’t just represented in Anchorage this weekend. A couple of highly talented ABL alumni will don the uniforms of the National and American Leagues in MLB’s 2013 All-Star Game.
A pair of former Anchorage Bucs have received midseason honors for their big-league performances this year. Suiting up for the American League will be Houston Astros catcher Jason Castro, while first baseman and feared Arizona Diamondbacks slugger Paul Goldschmidt will don the National League jersey.
AROUND THE LEAGUE
The Peninsula Oilers finish up a set at home against the Goldpanners Wednesday and Thursday, the 17th and 18th. The very next day they’ll take on the Bucs in the 4pm showcase game, then the Goldpanners again on Saturday. After the All-Star game they’ll visit the Chinooks on Monday and have a doubleheader against the Bucs on Tuesday before an off-day.
The Mat-Su Miners have left the friendly confines of Hermon Brothers Field behind for the remainder of 2013. Their sod is being removed to correct a drainage problem which is the likely cause of the degredation of the park’s once-luxurious natural grass surface. The Miners have a road game against the Chinooks on Wednesday, then an off day. They’ll play the Chinooks and Pilots in the showcase (both at 1p.m.). They’ll close out their regular season with a game on the 24th against the Pilots and four on the road in Fairbanks.
The Glacier Pilots take on the Bucs for games two and three of the Mayor’s Cup before taking on the Panners and Miners on Saturday and Sunday for the showcase. They’ll have an off-day immediately following the All-Star break before closing out the regular season on the road against the Oilers starting Wednesday, the 25th.
As for the Bucs, they will obviously be involved in the Mayor’s Cup games against the Pilots Wednesday and Thursday. Their opponents for the showcase will be the Oilers on the 19th and the Chinooks on the 20th. They’ll host the Panners the next night then the Oilers doubleheader on the 22nd. Then an off-day before the conclusion of their regular season visiting the Chinooks.
Speaking of the Chinooks, the Chugiak club finishes its set with the Miners on Wednesday before an off-day. Their showcase opponents will be the Miners, again, on Friday and then the Bucs on Saturday. After that it’s the Oilers on Monday, two versus the Goldpanners on Tuesday, and an off-day before their season-ending set against the Bucs.
Finally, for the Goldpanners, they will conclude their homestand with the Oilers tonight and tomorrow before heading straight out on the bus to the showcase. They’ll face the Pilots on Friday and the Oilers on Saturday before visiting the Bucs and Chinooks to open next week. Then, after an off-day for travel, it’s back home to finish their regular season with that four-game series in Fairbanks against the Miners.
That’s it for this week. And to think, this time next week I’ll be writing about the first-ever Alaska Baseball League playoff series. The end of the season really is coming at us fast, so if you haven’t yet, get on out to the ballpark! And don’t forget to check out 49thStateHardball.com for more info on the ABL and its players.
ABL ALL-STAR WEEKEND COMING UP