All Star game musings

I love to read so much. It is a gift to absorb the subject matter of written words and I cherish every one. How I envy those who write with clarity and persuasion and how I long for the ability to do that in my own feeble way. In a dreary and sometimes boring day, a book is my sanctuary. No matter how hopeless or isolated I feel after a day of toxic interactions, a wonderful book gets me through better than anything.

My relationship with the game of baseball is difficult to placate sometimes. I loved the game as a child, reciting the opening day lineups of the Twins well into September or whenever they fell out of contention. In those days, it was early in the summer but I always remembered who hit lead off and our opening day pitcher. But since then, I have seen many dreams dashed and I won’t say which ones. The euphoric highs gave way to soul-sucking lows.

The 2011 Baseball America prospect handbook is not a literary classic but it is filled with awesome information. In 100 years, it won’t be required reading on an AP English syllabus after all. But, it is astonishing that now, two years after its publication, there are so many prospects who became All-Stars.

The NL starter is Matt Harvey, ranked by BA as the fourth best prospect in the New York Mets organization. He was prepping for Class A hitters then. I can only dream of such a meteoric rise.

Salvador Perez, a Kansas City Royals catcher blessed with his own “tools of ignorance”, was not supposed to make the AllStar team. An afterthought as the Royals’ 17th best prospect, he has moved in front of the more publicized duo of Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer to snare an All-Star game invite.

St. Louis Cardinals infielder Matt Carpenter was not a wunderkind like Harvey. At 27, Carpenter made his first Midsummer Night classic. He outperformed ballyhooed prospects like Zach Cox, who is no longer with the organization.

Atlanta Braves Freddie Freeman was in the same conversation as potential stalwart first basemen like Brandon Belt of the San Francisco Giants. Freeman made the NL squad, defeating Dodgers savior Yaisel Puig in the final fan vote recently.

Mike Trout and Bryce Harper were 2009 draft picks that quickly transmogrified into iconic franchise cornerstones. Both were top prospects in the Angels and Nationals systems, respectively.

Even though I rooted fervently against the Cleveland Indians, they have a nice young second baseman in Jason Kipnis. The Arizona State Sun Devils star was the third-rated prospect in the Tribe organization two years ago.

Paul Goldschmidt’s prodigious power makes the Arizona Diamondbacks relevant along with their top-notch broadcasting crew that includes Bob Brenly, the man who helmed the 2001 championship-winning squad that beat the Yankees. Goldschmidt’s business card probably has “lightning tower power” as a personal slogan.
Jeff Locke of the Pirates was included in the book that burrowed a hole in my travel bag during the summer of 2011. So was Phillies outfielder Dominic Brown who escaped from the failed prospect purgatory that holds such players like Mets ill-fated prospect Fernando Martinez and Blue Jays pitcher Kyle Drabek to hit over 20 home runs before July. The BA book compared Brown to a “young Barry Bonds and Darryl Strawberry.” Brown may turn into a Ben Grieve-like pumpkin but so far in 2013, so good.

Electrifying homegrown talents like White Sox stud Chris Sale and Orioles phenom Manny Machado also made the leap into premier talents and earned their All-Star accolades. These are all special talents and their time is now.

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