You could sense it walking to the ballpark from your parking place, and you could hear it in Travelers broadcaster Phil Elson's voice when the pregame started on the radio -- this was going to be something special. And the final Texas League All-Star game at Ray Winder Field delivered with an electric crowd that made it seem much larger than the reported 4,088 fans (I had 5,300 in the pool).
What a pitching performance from some of the best in the Minors. Remember these names -- Juan Gutierrez, Matt Albers, Thomas Diamond, Travis Blackley, Brad Ziegler, Jailen Peguero, Ubaldo Jimenez, Juan Morillo, Josh Newman, Stu Pomeranz, Seung Song, Ryan Braun, Mark Worrell, and Manuel Corpas -- because my guess is all of them are going to make it to the Majors. They put on a show. (Notice there are no Travs among them.) There's full All-Star coverage at MiLB.com.
From the fanfest on Monday to all the events inside the game Tuesday, the Travs put on a first-class All-Star show. Pete Laven, take a vacation. (Bill Valentine said on 103.7 that assistant GM Laven put together all the All-Star stuff.) The fireworks at the end of the game was a nice touch and every kid around me was oohing and ahhing throughout.
And congratulations to the Travs' own Mishael Cole for winning the national peanut vendor contest. Cole's run around the stadium high-fiving players and fans after winning was probably the most exciting moment of the night. Elson says he and his brother have a rap CD he'll sell you with your next box of popcorn. Cole has long been a fixture at Ray Winder Field and it's about time he got some recognition.
Also congratulations to Michael Karch, who often leaves comments on this site, for winning the Nuttiest Fan contest. The grass skirt was enough to beat the guy from Tennessee who almost took out the catcher's legs during a surprise slide into home plate followed by grabbing the mic for an attempted Hog call.
See the Photo Booth for more shots from the Texas League All-Star game courtesy of Roving Correspondent Lonesome Traveler.