In the big, and little, leagues

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 14, 2006

Andrew Giermak

Stars from the All-Star Game

The biggest winners from the Majors’ Midsummer Classic came Monday night in the Home Run Derby.

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Most of America already has at least heard of David Wright and Ryan Howard but the combination of Monday night’s up close look at the two young, exciting, and very personable stars (who also happen to play in big markets, New York and Philadelphia) and the numbers these two guys, Wright, 23 years old, and Howard, 26, will put up for a long time to come, and these two guys will be up there in the Jeter, Pedro and Ortiz stratosphere very soon.

True, around here, David Wright is already a legendary star, albeit very young as legends go; but for the rest of the nation and the baseball world (which is growing larger everyday) a Mets postseason run this year would be the last major spark needed for Wright’s star.

A couple other names to know…

From the actual game on Tuesday were Vladimir Guerrero and Michael Young.

At the time, the second inning, Vlad’s solo home run off of fire-balling Brad Penny didn’t seem crucial to the outcome of the night.

It turned out to be important in the low-scoring game.

But besides that, the athletic feat that Guerrero displayed, taking a 98-mph, chin-high pitch, and driving it out of the park to the opposite field, was nearly beyond belief.

Young has been quietly known by &uot;inside baseball&uot; types as one of the baseball’s most consistent and most impressive hitters.

Playing in Texas, he’s unlikely to ever get the chance for October fame or big media recognition.

Playing shortstop, Young will never be voted by the fans into the All-Star Game as long as Derek Jeter and Miguel Tejada are around.

While on the U.S. team in the World Baseball Classic, it was reported by the press and acknowledged by his fellow big leaguers, that watching and learning from Young while he took batting practice was a popular pastime for his U.S. teammates.

Maybe his two-run triple in the top of the ninth, that gave the AL its 3-2 lead, will give him a bit of the spotlight he deserves.

Earlier in the year, AL/White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen told Young face-to-face, &uot;You’re going to be on my All-Star team, no matter what.&uot;

Tuesday night, Guillen said, &uot;I think he’s one of the most underrated players in the American League.

This kid can do a lot of things and nobody talks about it.

Guillen continued, &uot;Derek Jeter was telling one of my kids today, ‘Michael will win the game if he gets to hit.’&uot;

Learning from the pros is good, but…

Two teams shaking hands at center ice at the end of a seven-game-long hockey series, most notably the Stanley Cup Finals, is widely considered to be one of the traditionally great shows of sportsmanship in all of sports.

I agree with that, you don’t have to be a big hockey fan to appreciate it.

But I can still go one better.

At Tuesday night’s Little League tournament game in Portsmouth between Bennett’s Creek and Charles Peete, Charles Peete could have wrapped up the tournament and a state tournament spot with a win.

BC beat the previously unbeaten team, forcing a second championship game to decide the tournament last night (Wednesday).

Those two teams, of 11-12 year olds, knowing they have to face each other again the next night, lined up at the end of the game and congratulated each other.