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Life in the Minors Chapter 10: The All Star Experience

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Staten Island and Brooklyn were well represented at the New York Penn League All Star Game on Coney Island

For the fourteenth consecutive year, WFUV talks to the members of the Brooklyn Cyclones and the Staten Island Yankees in the New York Single-A Penn League about the trials and tribulations of being minor league ballplayers. The long bus rides, the low pay, 76 games in 80 days. This is a look into Life in the Minors: How the Other Half Lives.

This week, Brendan Bowers and Drew Casey discuss the All Star experience for 4 Baby Bombers and 6 Mini Mets.

The Staten Island Yankees with Brendan Bowers: 

This past Tuesday the best young talent from around the New York Penn League gathered together in Brooklyn for the 8th annual All Star game. Four Staten Island players (Ty McFarland, Connor Spencer, Isaias Tejeda and Luis Torrens) and 6 Brooklyn players teamed along with 5 other teams to make up the South All Star team as they faced off against the 7 other teams in the league which made up the North All Stars. Both teams were evenly matched, and the pitching dominated as the North All Stars and the South All Stars ended their 9-inning game tied 1-1. Because of the nature of the game, both managers decided to end the game after 9 innings. 

In his first year out of James Madison, second baseman Ty McFarland adjusted well enough to professional baseball to become the starting second baseman for the South All Stars. McFarland leads Staten Island in games played (55), at bats (211), hits (60), and RBIs (37).  He is also 2nd on the team in doubles (16), home runs (4), and total bases (92). Ty went 0 for 2 in the All Star game, grounding out to second base and striking out looking. 

Connor Spencer, first year player out of UC Irvine, also adjusted quickly to professional baseball and was chosen as the starting first baseman for the South All Stars.  Connor is first on the team in OBP (.383) and AVG (.355).  He is also second on the team in hits (54) and third in OPS (.817).  When asked how it felt to be playing in the same game that MLB all stars such as Miguel Cabrera and Andrew McCutchen participated in, he said that he was humbled and honored to be walking in their footsteps.

In his fourth year in professional baseball and third full season in Staten Island, Isaias Tejeda made the South All Star team as a reserve DH.  Tejeda leads the team in doubles with 18,  is 2nd on the team in home runs with 4 and SLG (.490) and OPS (.833), and is 3rd on the team in runs scored (24), and RBIs (25).  Tejeda said that it was a great feeling being in the All Star game representing the Yankees, and that he worked really hard to get there.  Tejeda appeared in the game as a pinch hitter in the 7th inning and went 0-2, reaching on an error and grounding out to the pitcher.

Catcher Luis Torrens, who was only 18 years, 3 months and 25 days old at the time, made the All Star team as a reserve catcher and was the youngest player on either roster.  Luis is in his second year in professional baseball, and his first year in Staten Island.  He is second on the team in AVG (.284) and runs scored with 26, and third on the team in SLG (.439). Torrens appeared in the game as a pinch runner, running after Francisco Mejia of Mahoning Valley was hit by a pitch and left the game. Torrens ended up going 1-2 with a double, and he struck out swinging.

The All-Star break marked the last 2 days of the season where the team, minus the four All Stars, had time off.  Staten Island is about to head into the most important stretch of baseball this season with 10 games left, 5 of them against Brooklyn. The Baby Bombers are one of four teams within 3.5 games of the wild card leading Brooklyn Cyclones. If they want to make the playoffs, Staten Island is going to have to win the last series against Brooklyn and have an above .500 record over their next 10 games. 


The Brooklyn Cyclones with Drew Casey:

In front of their home crowd, six Cyclones players took the field in the New York Penn League All Star game this past Tuesday. Amed Rosario, Jhoan Urena, Michael Bernal, Corey Oswalt, Shane Bay, and Marcos Molina all took the field for the South All Stars.

Rosario, the Cyclones shortstop, was selected as the starter at said position, but failed to get a hit in the game. He flied out in the first inning and grounded out in the fourth before being replaced. Urena, Brooklyn’s third baseman, entered the game at the hot corner as a substitute in the 6th inning. At the plate, he went 0 for 2, grounding out to second base twice.

Bernal, who plays the outfield for the Cyclones, also entered the exhibition in the sixth and played right field. He was hitless as well, striking out in his only plate appearance. Oswalt, a starter on Coney Island, pitched the fourth inning for the South. He allowed two hits and struck out one in his only inning of work. Prior to the game, he stated that being selected to the All Star team was a very humbling experience for him.

Bay, an Oklahoma native and Brooklyn’s save leader with 14, recorded the final out in the top of the ninth inning. His All Star experience only lasted one pitch on the rubber, but he was very honored to have been selected to the team. In fact, it was a goal of his since he left his home for spring training. Finally, Molina, another Cyclones starter, began the game for the South team on the mound. He pitched the first inning, retiring three of the four hitters he faced and striking out two of them.

Additionally, Cyclones skipper Tom Gamboa managed the South All Stars along with the rest of the Brooklyn coaching staff. Gamboa enjoyed the coaching experience and was very pleased that no one was injured in the game and that he was able to get every one of the players on the roster into the game. He credited his experience coaching these exhibitions in allowing him to do this

While the All Star game in Brooklyn was a great showcase, the Cyclones have quickly gotten right back into the flow of the regular season and the playoff race. Currently Brooklyn is 37-29 and leads the wild card race by two games over the Connecticut Tigers. The Lowell Spinners and Staten Island Yankees are also very close behind. 10 games remain for Brooklyn, five against Tri-City and five against Staten Island. If they were to make the playoffs, the semi-finals would begin Wednesday September 3.