The Kane County Cougars, class A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals, located in Geneva, IL put on quite a show with the Midwest League All-Star Game Tuesday, June 19 at 6 p.m. at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark. The mid-season classic featured some of the best talent in Minor League Baseball with 68 Midwest League players who were selected as All-Stars last week. It was won overwhelmingly by the East division All-Stars who scored 13 runs in the first two innings and never looked back. The final was an eye-popping 18-2.
The game had a lot to compete with that night, as both game four of the NBA Finals and the crosstown series game five between the Cubs and White Sox were held concurrently. Also, the 98 degree temperature probably discouraged some fans from coming out to the ballgame.
Still, thousands of fans attended the MWL All-Star Game which had numerous events and promotions throughout the day, beginning with a Fan Fest that kicked off at 11:30 that morning.
The event featured a variety of fun events including a rock-climbing wall and petting zoo.
The evening’s game was preceded by an extended-length autograph session. Other amenities included live organ music during the game by famed Chicago White Sox organist Nancy Faust, music by the Chicago Cubs Dixieland Band, a post-game performance by the Jesse White Tumblers, and a booming fireworks show. The Cougars also welcomed iconic Chicago performer Wayne Messmer, who will perform the National Anthem before the game. A long-standing Cougars tradition, fans may run the bases after the game.
A total of 3 Cougars players participated in the game. Outfielders Jorge Bonifacio and Lane Adams formed two-thirds of the starting outfield for the Western Division All-Stars. Cougars pitcher Matt Ridings is part of the 34-man Western Division squad as well, managed by Cougars skipper Brian Buchanan.
Other Midwest League All-Stars who are part of the game include Francisco Lindor of Lake County (Cleveland Indians), ranked as the 29th best prospect in Minor League Baseball (and 8th overall pick in 2011 MLB draft), and Beloit’s Miguel Sano (Minnesota Twins). Sano is one of the top sluggers in the Twins’ farm system, and is on pace for more than 90 RBI this season. He leads the MWL with 15 HRs. Other stars in the game include Archie Bradley who declined an offer to play football with the Oklahoma Sooners to sign with the Arizona Diamondbacks, as the seventh pick in the MLB draft. Bradley just missed a homer on his first at bat, doubling home a couple runs.
The second round pick of the San Diego Padres, Austin Hedges also appeared in the game, doing his part in the East’s offensive onslaught.
Former Midwest League All-Stars include Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder and Greg Maddux, among many other former and current big league stars. The last time the Cougars hosted the game in 2007, Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher and reigning National League Cy Young Winner Clayton Kershaw was on the All-Star roster.
Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net, an official Google News site generating millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Chicago Tribune.com, Fox Sports, MSN, Walter Football and Yardbarker
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