PHOENIX, AZ — I may never complain about Trenton again.
Well, all right…we all know that isn’t true. But I stepped off the plane (only the second time I’ve ever flown, mind you…but that’s an entirely different story for a different day) and was smacked in the face by a nasty, dry heat. I caled up the forecast on my phone — shockingly, it didn’t just say “really hot” — and it turns out it’s 108 degrees here today. So, yeah…really hot.
Anyway, from the “things I did on my own dime to better my career” department, I’m out in Phoenix, Arizona for the next five days to cover the Futures Game, Home Run Derby and Major League Baseball All-Star Game at Chase Field. I’ve been to Phoenix before — more specifically Glendale to see a Coyotes game — but I’ve never so much as seen the stadium. So I’m looking forward to checking it out.
This will be my second Futures Game (I did the one at Yankee Stadium in 2008) but this one will be extra exciting because Austin Romine will be there. Ramiro Pena was kind of a last minute throw-in three years ago, and I wasn’t sure if Jesus Montero would ever get to me before getting dealt…yes, there was talk of that even back then. But Romine is one of the best catching prospects in the game, and it’ll be a great opportunity for me to be the only Thunder beat writer there to chronicle his day tomorrow. And personally, it’s great to be a part of it…Austin’s a really great kid and it’ll be nice to actually be there to see him get a chance on a national stage.
After Romine on Sunday, I’ve got Robinson Cano in the Home Run Derby on Monday — not that he should be in it, really…but I’ll take it — and a few former Thunder guys in the midsummer classic on Tuesday. But I think my focus will be on Tyler Clippard, who few people remember was actually demoted back to Trenton in 2008 (he spent 2007 with the club) towards the end of the season, and now he’s a big league All-Star. Great story, and I’ll do my best to get him to talk me through it.
Most importantly, however, I need to thank everyone for all their support throughout the past nine years. I’m about ready to jump through my skin at the thought of covering a big league All-Star game — one of a few things I can get legitimately excited for at this stage of things — and I would have never worked my way up to this opportunity without my family, friends, readers and teams that have helped me along the way.
I covered my very first game (sorry, Trenton people) in Somerset on May 6, 2003. 905 games later, and I’ve finally received this opportunity. Hard work does pay off, but again…it wouldn’t happen without all of your support. I’ll do my best out here over the next few days, and I’ll be happy (as always) to answer any questions you guys may have as events progress here in Arizona.
Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com