On Wednesday, July 15, 2009, Adrianne and I had the pleasure of spending our evening at PGE Park with 16,637 of our fellow Portlanders for the AAA All-Star Game.
It was a real treat to see the best of the minors from across the country. These guys are the future of baseball, and they played like they meant it. Unlike the major league All-Star Game, the Pacific Coast League and the International League players wanted the crowd to know why they were selected for this game. It was not merely an exhibition for them, a break in the middle of the season. It was the try-out of all try-outs.
Portland was represented twice in the game. Pitcher Scott Patterson and outfielder Chad Huffman both did Portland proud. Huffman ignited the crowd when he cracked a bottom-of-the-ninth double that almost led to extra innings. Sadly the Pacific Coast League fell to the International League 5-6.
Credit must be given to one of the International League's pitchers, Pawtucket Red Sox's Jose Vaquedano. With one of the weirdest sidearm deliveries this blogger has seen, Vaquedano retired Pacific Leaguers with style.
This being the All-Star Game, the leagues brought out baseball's most distinctive and legendary mascot: the San Diego Chicken.
The Chicken certainly brought his A Game on this warm Wednesday night. He mocked the umps with deodorant spray and eye charts, and he pelted the International Leaguers with water balloons (they got him back, hurling water balloons from the dugout).
There was a moment of tension when the Chicken met Portland's mascot, a beaver named Lucky. Fortunately for all of us, the animals got along winningly. Friendship won out.
It was extremely fortunate to be able to enjoy such a game in such a beautiful park. Baseball as it was meant to be experienced.
Game day photo credit (Huffman, Vaquedano, Chicken):