Brewers Will Be Well Represented During All-Star Festivities
Over the next three days, Busch Stadium in St. Louis will be called home to the best of the best as players take part in the Futures Game, the Home Run Derby, and the 80th All Star Game. In years past, one or two Milwaukee Brewers would make the trip to the Midsummer Classic while the rest of the team took their extended vacation while watching the game on the television.
This year, the Brewers will be one of eight teams to have a participant in all three of the events.
On Sunday, AAA-Nashville shortstop Alcides Escobar and A-Wisconsin second baseman Brett Lawrie will participate in the Futures Game to show off their talent and give Brewers fans a taste of what is to come in both the near future and distant future.
Escobar was called up last September when the Brewers’ roster moved to 40 and went one for two with a double. In AAA Nashville this year, he has seen his hitting vastly improve as he enters the game with a .296 batting average with three home runs and 28 RBI’s. He has also contributed 61 runs and 30 stolen bases in the 87 games he has played in this year. Known for his outstanding glove in the field, Escobar is waiting quietly in the wings behind J.J. Hardy at shortstop.
Lawrie is farther away from The Bigs than Escobar but is showing signs that he could get there soon enough. Playing for the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers this year, he is batting .269 with nine home runs and 44 RBI’s. Considering he is just 19 years old and was moved from catcher to second base in the middle of the year, Lawrie has done pretty well for himself.
Escobar, from Venezuela, and Lawrie, from Canada, will play on the World Roster against the U.S. Roster in the matchup Sunday. The Brewers have had a very good history with players that have appeared in the Futures Game that includes Ryan Braun (2006), Prince Fielder (2004), Rickie Weeks (2004), Corey Hart (2002), J.J. Hardy (2003), and Yovani Gallardo (2006).
The next night, the fireworks will fly as the Home Run Derby takes place. Contestants in this year’s derby include Albert Pujols, Ryan Howard, Adrian Gonzalez, Brandon Inge, Joe Mauer, Carlos Pena, Nelson Cruz, and Milwaukee’s own Prince Fielder.
This year, Fielder has torched opposing pitchers for 22 home runs and 78 RBI’s. His slugging percentage is a gaudy .616 and he is getting on base at a .438 mark. This year’s derby will be Fielder’s second of his career. Back in 2006, Fielder hit three home runs in the first round but did not advance.
This will be the third straight year that a Brewer will take place in the Home Run Derby, as last year Ryan Braun advanced to the semi-finals hitting 14 home runs in the two rounds he participated in.
Some skeptics believe that participants in the derby mess up their swing after participating, which has led some of the bigger names to pass on the competition. Braun, who had hit 23 home runs before the All Star Break, hit just 14 after the break in 2008. In 2007, Fielder hit 29 home runs before the derby, but connected on just 21 after.
Either way, Fielder has found a new stroke to his swing that has his right elbow lower, and the benefits have been easily seen.
Tuesday, Fielder will join fellow teammates Ryan Braun and Trevor Hoffman in the 80th All Star Game. Braun will start in left field after receiving the most votes in the National League outfield and Fielder will be a reserve behind slugger Albert Pujols.
Hoffman was added to the roster yesterday after Dodgers closer Jonathon Broxton was ruled out of the game due to a toe injury. It will be Hoffman’s seventh appearance as Fielder and Braun make their second appearances.
Even Rollie Fingers, who played four years in a Brewers jersey, will be participating in the always entertaining Celebrity Softball Game.
All things combined, the Milwaukee Brewers will be represented very well and will look to bring home some hardware as well as a good representation of the ballclub and organization.