Daytona, Part I

Nothing like an All-Star game to snap you out of your draft reverie.

It’s been a while since I’ve visited the ol’ He Said, She Said blog, spending most of the past several weeks concentrating on the draft. Coming here to Jackie Robinson Stadium in Daytona for the Florida State League All-Star Game is a great way to get back into the Minors swing of things. I’m going to do this in a two-part series — one as we’re about to start the game, and then one after with some thoughts on who stood out.

Here are some early observations from last night (the home run derby and skills competition) and today:

  • It’s hot here. But at least it’s a wet heat.
  • Cameron Maybin is extremely fast. He ran from first to home in the base-running competition on Friday in under 10 seconds. I don’t think I can do anything in under 10 seconds.
  • Jay Bruce has tremendous power, but shouldn’t be in more home run derbies. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a great guy and has a terrific personality — keep an eye out for our video feature on the game as we had him miked up during the derby — but he’s now been in two all-star home run hitting competitions (He did it at the Midwest League game in 2006) and has a total of two homers. He may end up being one of those guys who hits 40 homers every year in the big leagues but can’t do it in a derby (see Piazza, Mike).
  • Bruce and Maybin won’t be in this league long. Well, they shouldn’t. In my opinion. If they don’t finish the year in Chattanooga and Erie, respectively, I’d be very surprised.
  • Jeremy Slayden in the Phillies system has some serious pop and is an extremely thoughtful and honest interview. Those two things don’t have anything to do with each other, but he won the HR derby and was refreshingly non-cliche in talking about the injuries that derailed his college career at Georgia Tech. If he continues to stay healthy (quick, knock wood), the Phillies might have a nice sleeper on their hands. Before he got hurt at Tech, the kid could flat-out rake.
  • There is great history at this ballpark. Sure, they’ve made modifications, like adding a Riverwalk and other cosmetic changes, but they smartly didn’t get too far from what makes this an interesting place to come. Jackie Robinson, who’s name now rightfully adorns the ballpark, played in the first integrated game in organized baseball here, in Spring Training, in March of 1946. Needless to say, this wasn’t necessarily the most tolerant places in the country back then and it’s hard to fathom, watching the multi-national All-Stars being introduced, the difficulties Robinson faced here, particularly in living once his work at the park was done. Another interesting historical note, of less significance, is that Daytona last hosted the FSL ASG in 1983. One of the starting pitchers back then? Long-time big league pitcher Jose Rijo…cool stuff.

I’ll be back more after the game with more…

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