Stars fall on Fort Myers this weekend
Baseball fans throughout Southwest Florida will have a reason to shine this weekend as the Fort Myers Miracle will host the 2009 Florida State League All-Star Game, which will be held on Saturday, June 20 at Hammond Stadium.
The Miracle is hosting the league’s 48th mid-season showcase for the fourth time, having previously hosted the gala in 1998, 2001 and 2003.
The South Division All-Star squad is highlighted by Fort Myers pitchers David Bromberg and Spencer Steedley, catcher Danny Lehman, infielders Chris Cates and Steve Singleton. Outfielders Ben Revere and Chris Parmalee also were selected.
In addition to his All-Star Game duties, Parmalee – who leads the Miracle with eight home runs and 32 RBI – was selected on Monday to participate in the FSL Home Run Derby, scheduled to take place prior to the game.
The Chino Hills, Calif. product was an AFLAC All-American in high school and a former first round pick of the Twins (2006) in the Major League Baseball Draft. He has hit 45 home runs in his brief professional career.
Participants in the Home Run Derby will compete in a traditional playoff system where the players with the most home runs advance to the next round. Each player gets 10 “outs” per round, where an out is defined as any swing that is not a home run. Should a tie exist between players at the end of any round, there will be a three swing swing-off to determine who will advance.
The home run count for the four players advancing to the second round will carry over. The home run count for the final round will be reset to zero.
In addition to the above Fort Myers players, pitcher Carlos Gutierrez was selected, but will not participate due to his promotion to Double-A New Britain earlier this month. The eight selections are a club record, eclipsing last year’s seven that participated in Brevard County.
“Our fans will be in for a special treat,” said Fort Myers Miracle General Manager Steve Gliner. “The weekend will b e full of memories to last a lifetime.”
The game has become a stepping stone to future major league prosperity. Joe Mauer, Jason Kubel, Gavin Floyd, Robinson Cano, Curtis Granderson, Ryan Howard, Dioner Navarro, Willy Aybar, Micah Hoffpauir and Geovany Soto all appeared in the 2003 All-Star Game at Hammond Stadium.
The South All-Star Team represents Fort Myers, St. Lucie, Sarasota, Charlotte, Palm Beach and Jupiter. North All-Star Team members represent Brevard County, Daytona Beach, Tampa, Dunedin, Clearwater and Lakeland.
Because the Miracle are hosting the 2009 gala, the South Division coaches are all Fort Myers staffers, with manager Jeff Smith, pitching coach Steve Mintz, hitting coach Jim Dwyer, trainer Larry Bennese and strength coach Mike MacDonald adding more local flavor to the tilt.
The All-Star Weekend kicks off on Friday with Fan Fest in front of the scenic backdrop of Hammond Stadium. The event for all ages will feature food, live music, player autographs and kids fun zone. Admission is only $5 per car. The event will take place from 6 to 10 p.m.
On Saturday night, the Hammond Stadium gates will open at 5 p.m. The night will feature the annual Home Run Derby at 6 p.m., followed by the game. A spectacular fireworks show will light up the skies of Southwest Florida to wrap up the two-day extravaganza.
“We understand that communities around Southwest Florida are unfortunately cutting their traditional firework displays,” Gliner added. “It is very important to the Miracle to celebrate two great events like the All-Star Game and Independence Day. Our fans have come to expect great shows on-and-off the field and we will continue that tradition here at Hammond Stadium.”
The 2009 Florida State League All Star Game and festivities are presented by Walgreens and Landshark. Tickets are only $8 for box seats and $6 for General Admission.
Tickets are available for purchase at Hammond Stadium or by phone between 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Fans also may purchase tickets online at www.miraclebaseball.com. The Miracle’s online ticket system allows fans to select their exact seat location for each game and conveniently print tickets at home.
For more information on other available All-Star Game ticket packages, contact the Miracle at 239-768-4210.