In the middle of June, three Loons had the pleasure of visiting Aurora, IL, which is a suburb of Chicago—excellent. And also the setting of one of my favorite comedies.
It’s comforting to know that even Wayne and Garth started in ‘the farm club in Aurora’, which in the real MiLB world could only be the Royals Single-A affiliate, the Kane County Cougars, who hosted the Midwest League All-Star Game on Tuesday, June 19, at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark, only eight miles north of Aurora.
Representing the Loons in the game was LHP Jarret Martin, infielder Joe Winker and a late-minute addition, infielder O’Koyea Dickson, who turned out to be the big star.
Dickson batted clean-up for the Eastern All-Stars and came to the plate in each of the first three innings. His first at-bat was his most rewarding, as he cracked the 2-0 offering from Drew Granier (9-3, 3.06 ERA, 76 k’s) over the left-field wall to score two runs for the east. Here he is rounding third.
Dickson used his second at-bat to drive in a run on a broken bat single in the second inning, and struck out on a check swing in the third. These were his only at-bats of the game, enough to generate two runs, three RBI, and earn the righty the game’s Top Star Award.
Dickson becomes the second Loon to win the Top Star Award, two years after Jerry Sands took the prize in Fort Wayne. Sands went on to make his Dodgers debut in the following season. Dickson hopes to take a similar path.
The Eastern All-Stars were leading 13-0 in the second inning, also the score when Dickson left the game in the fourth. Winker entered the game in the fifth, while Martin (below) took the hill in the sixth.
The players did a lot of autographing throughout the course of the day. Some at the hotel, others pregame, then again pregame during the on-field autograph session (as seen in the panorama at the top), and then others post-game. By the end of the night, O’Koyea had the privilege of signing his name with the attachment of ‘MVP’.
There were no All-Star uniforms issued for the players to wear, instead, the players were treated to a nice dinner at Two Brothers Brewing Company (in Aurora) the night before and received hats of their parent club with the Kane County All-Star patch on the side, which they wore during the game. This, paired with the fact the Loons wore their BP black unis, made it a little difficult to differentiate between the Loons and Lugnuts, see here.
Nevertheless, the game was a good time for the 7,528 in attendance and the right team won, defeating the West 18-2.
My favorite part about the Fifth Third Bank Ballpark experience is the live organ. Where do I sign up to be on the Nancy Faust Fan Club?
So that about does it for the All-Star coverage. Congrats again to our three players for the recognition, and just to set the record straight, the Loons and Loons fans everywhere choose Coca-Cola.
With Swing With the Loons taking place on Tuesday, June 5, I was reminded of this photo progression of former Loons pitcher and Dodgers first round pick Zach Lee that From the Nest didn’t get the chance to use last year. Click on the image for a more detailed image of Lee doing his best Happy Gilmore impression. Believe it or not, he actually out-drove his foursome with this shot.
As for an update on Lee: the Texan holds a 2-2 record and a 4.78 ERA (23 earned runs in 43.1 innings pitched) through nine starts for the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes. He has 45 strikeouts to only eight walks on the season.
As for the Loons latest golf outing: stay close to FTN. Bookmarking us is encouraged.
During a recent Loons game against the South Bend Silver Hawks, Mother Nature decided to claim the spotlight at Dow Diamond in the third inning, causing a rain delay of nearly two hours. Delays are in no way preferred over baseball, but sometimes they provide players with an outlet for bottled up creativity….or maybe they just become stir crazy.
Capturing well over 30 minutes of our attention in the delay was bowling, bobsled, curling, jousting, buck hunting, flower posing, chicken eating, weight lifting, roller riding, and more! Check out the video for Dow Diamond’s best rain delay ever.
Though South Bend may have displayed more creative skits, the Loons won the baseball game 6-4.