Midwest League Midsummer Classic
Over the last week, your friendly neighborhood Loons blogger went on an adventure, venturing into a vast, post-apocalyptic world known to the layman as Ohio.
Actually, it was a great four days, traveling through Cleveland (the Loons were at Lake County) to Dayton in a 2013 Chevy Suburban with a current Great Lakes All-Star and a former Great Lakes All-Star.
Sunday’s drive was uneventful, except for 20 minutes spent in a monsoon outside of Columbus. Of course, it would happen by Columbus. Ugh. Darn Buckeyes.
Oh and it turns out Joe Winker might be a bit of a hipster. Winker, of Call Me Maybe Fame, introduced me to the song of the summer for next year.
With only one Loon playing in the All-Star Game this year, due to the call-ups of Jharel Cotton and Carlos Frias, the 2013 edition was more about the trip itself and the events surrounding the game.
Sunday was an adventure, as I wanted to find a place to watch Game 5 of the NBA Finals. I stumbled upon (and by stumbled upon, I mean, looked up on Google Maps) a nice bar called Lucky’s, which provided me with some excellent Fish and Chips and a great beer called Curmudgeon, which is incidentally from Founders Brewing Co. in Grand Rapids.
The Midwest League spared no expense, putting us up in the Crowne Plaza, which included a mini-frig in our rooms and you can put six packs of bee….soda in it.
Monday night featured a block party and a concert from a Jimmy Buffett cover band. I have no words.
The lead-up to the actual game on Tuesday included a Home Run Derby that featured Joe Winker’s younger brother, Jesse, who was hitting in front of his home fans in Dayton. Jesse is the No. 7 prospect in the Reds farm system. The younger Winker did not disappoint, leading all hitters with 10 homers and leading the Eastern Division to a victory in the Derby.
With baseball luminaries Joe Morgan, who I accidentally interrupted during one of his conversations with a member of the Dayton front office, and George Foster in the house, along with a “celebrity” that made the blogger a little sick, the 49th edition of the Midwest League All-Star Game did not disappoint.
The West took an early lead, scoring two runs in the second inning. The East scored four in the fifth to regain the lead and added another in the seventh.
With the end looming, the West got their first three runners on in the top of the ninth. This was the point where the writers on deadline started to get nervous. It didn’t help that certain people (might have been me) made a glib comment about going to extra innings after the first two guys got on base.
Cedar Rapids shortstop Niko Goodrum (surprisingly not signed to an endorsement deal by Captain Morgan) hit a two-run single and Kane County outfielder Bijan Racemacher scored on a wild pitch to tie the game.
In the bottom of the ninth, the East got runners to the corners with one out. Dayton shortstop Zach Vincej beat out a double play to keep the game alive and with two outs, Lansing outfielder Dalton Pompey hit a 3-2 pitch up the middle to score Brandon Drury to win the game.
Loons All-Star Tyler Ogle went 0-for-2, with a strikeout and a groundout, but had two solid at-bats, working a full count in both of his plate appearances. See Ogle’s postgame interview here, along with a photo gallery from the game here.
All in all, it was a great trip. Thanks Dayton for an excellent Midsummer Classic. See you next year in Comstock Park!