Wow! I don’t even know where to begin… These last couple days have been incredible! Jonathon Flournoy and I drove down to Charleston on Sunday to make sure we were there in time for the Luau and the start to “all things All Star”. The luau itself I thought was a bit lame, but it was at the Charleston Resort and Marina nestled up against the famous USS Yorktown overlooking the harbor. We even saw a whale swimming by in the water. Apparently, there is a whale that is native to the SC coast and Harbors. (I read that on a sign…) It was designed as a welcome party for the players, though none showed up.
The next day we woke up and headed over to the USS Yorktown, the Aircraft Carrier docked in the Charleston Harbor. The Home Run Derby was going to be done right off the flight deck! It was absolutely incredible! There was a guy that was standing next to me that kept complaining, “This is it? They are just hitting balls…” THIS IS IT?? THEY WERE SLAMMING HOME RUNS OFF THE FLIGHT DECK OF THE USS YORKTOWN!!! What do you mean this is it??? How much cooler can it get? It was awesome to say the least. They continued the Home Run Derby the next day at the All Star game inside the Stadium. Lexington Legends, Zach Johnson, would take home the prize.
Tuesday, yesterday, the day started win a small parade led by none other than Bill Murray! He owns the Charleston Riverdogs. I love all his movies, so seeing him in person was very neat. And for those of you wondering, of course I got him to sign a baseball! The parade started at the Marriott in charleston and went about a mile to the Stadium, where the FanFest would be held. The parade consisted of a few dance teams, marching bands, the mascots, and the players for the South Atlantic League All Star Game. I got SEVERAL autographs that day. I think I came back with about 30 balls, including one by Actor Bill Murray and one from the NY Yankees Top Prospect Gary Sanchez. The FanFest was a right neat event. They had autograph tables, big screen tv’s for kids to play MLB2k12, a cash grab machine, and all sorts of inflatables.
The All Star game itself proved to be just incredible and at times overwhelming. Here’s a small glimpse as to what I’m talking about. The flag brought down and presented during the National Anthem is the flag that flies over Fort Sumter. And for those of you that do not know, Fort Sumter is where the very first shot of the Civil War was. It is the birth place of the civil war, so to speak. The game ball was parachuted into the stadium by US Air Force jumpers. They had 67 different varieties of hot dogs at this ballpark. And for those that know me personally, I love a good hot dog! I tried the Old Smokey, which had BBQ sauce and bacon on it, but they had all kinds of varieties. See the pictures posted on Hoppers Fan on Facebook, I posted a picture of their Hot Dog menu, it was quite impressive. The game itself was great too! The Hoppers added Wilfredo Gimenez to the All Star Roster, so that made 9 of our boys down there playing for the North! Which I really want to commend Wilfredo. He started out the year very rocky, and is truly learning and progressing into quite the ballplayer. It is great seeing him progress before our eyes. At one one point during the early first half, his batting average dropped below .200. So to see him progress to the point that he made the All Star Roster, I really must stand up and commend him for that! Valiant effort man! Which with nine of the fourteen players on the roster being Hoppers, it was almost the Hoppers verses the South All Stars. The first Grasshopper to get on base was Austin Barnes! He had a good game. Jose Fernandez, which will be officially moved up to Jupiter today, started the All Star Game from the mound. The pitchers only pitched a half inning each. The North (our boys) would go on to win it by the score of 3-2. BIG props and much respect to all our Hoppers and the other Northern Division All Stars.
It is because of games and events like these that I continue to echo the sentiment, IT’S A GREAT TIME TO BE A HOPPER!