All-Star Series and Rising Stars on Deck

One year ago baseball fans everywhere had a big hole in their summer. For the first time since World War Two, and this time as a result of a pandemic, Major League Baseball did not hold its All-Star Game. Fast forward to earlier this month in Denver where Shohei Ohtani was the main attraction and baseball’s mid-summer classic returned to a packed house and an uptick in TV ratings. For many, it still ranks as the highlight of the baseball season. 

The same can be said for many of the players who will take part in this coming weekend’s MYAS Gopher State All-Star Series (13u-15u) and Rising Stars Showcase ( 9u-12u). In the Gopher State All-Star Series, players who were nominated by their league’s coaches and teams will play two games on Saturday July 31, primarily at high school varsity fields in the North Metro. 

Meanwhile the 9u-12u Rising Stars players, who were also chosen by coaches and teams in their league,  will not only get all-star game competition, but will also take part in  a 90-minute training session at the National Sports Center in Blaine. All in all a win win for many of the top youth players in the state. 

Opportunity Knocks

“It’s a great opportunity for players to meet others, some of which they have played against over the years and become teammates and friends,” said St. Michael-Albertville and All-Star Series coach Glen Miller.  “This is a day to play baseball at a high level but without pressure and expectations.”

Pete Ames from the Osseo-Maple Grove Association who also coaches in the All-Star Series, agrees. “It’s a great way to get one more weekend of baseball and to reward the players who have worked hard all year,” he said.   “It’s also fun to play with some of the boys we played against throughout the year – nice to have some of those great players on our team instead of playing against them.” 

Who’s on first?

Of course coaching in an all-star game is a completely different experience as well. Figuring out who goes where, writing a line-up etc. But Miller says it’s one of the highlights of his summer and as a coach, he just wants to make sure that all of his players enjoy the experience.

“I always tell them that this is their day.  I am just here to make the lineups, keep score and cheer for them on the bench.  We do not give signs from the bench or third base.  I tell the players they have the green light.  Make good decisions.  Have fun!”

Ames also enjoys the process and says that compared to the regular season, coaching this team is easy. 

“During the season, it takes me 30-45 minutes to write a line-up.  The All-Star line-up is simple in comparison.  I have a list of which players pitch, catch, and their top 3 favorite positions. (It’s) much easier than the regular season.” 

A Winning Hand

What about winning? Nobody likes to lose, especially all-star caliber players who are used to playing at a very high level. But according to St.Cloud parent and coach Dan Heiser, winning is secondary.  

“We all want to win, but it’s not at the top of the list,” explains Heiser. “There’s no World Series home field advantage at stake. As a coach, I just want to put each one of the boys in the best position to succeed and let them show their skills.” 

For Matt Welter, whose son plays in the Armstrong-Cooper Association, this weekend’s all-star series is something he has definitely been looking forward to.

 “He’s excited to play with other players we played against this season and he was really excited to find out that coaches and his peers recognized him as an all star this season,” said Welter.  “He works really hard and to be recognized for his hard work was really an honor for him.”

In all, a record 400-plus 13, 14 and 15  year olds will play in the All-Star Series while another 245 9u-12u players will take part in the Rising Stars Showcase. According to MYAS event coordinator Abe Schwartz, This weekend’s All-Star games and Showcase events are more meaningful than just another weekend of  baseball.

“The All-Star Series allows each player a unique experience of playing new positions, meeting new teammates, and making friendships that will last longer than their baseball careers” said Schwartz.

Locations and schedules for this weekend’s games/events:

13u-15u All Star Series Schedule Link

9u-12u Rising Stars Showcase Schedule Link

  • Location(s):
    • 13AAA, 13AA & 13A- Alpine Park, Ramsey, MN 
    • 14AAA & 14AA- Fridley, Irondale, and Totino-Grace high schools
    • 15AAA- Coon Rapids high school
    • 15AA & 14/15A- Andover high school

9u-12u Rising Stars Showcase: Official home of Gopher State Baseball- Airport Park on the campus of National Sports Center, Blaine.

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