Where are we on the ballots?
At least one Philadelphia Phillie will be a part of the Midsummer Classic festivities in CitiField this year per Major League Baseball’s rule that every team needs at least one representative. With only three days left to go, it is not looking good that a Phillie will make the team via the fan vote.
Chase Utley is currently fifth among second basemen with over 1.3 million votes. The problem is that Brandon Phillips of the Cincinnati Reds is leading the clubhouse leader with over 3.4 million votes. The Philadelphia metropolitan area is huge, but not huge enough to stuff 2.3 million online ballots into the boxes in a mere seventy-two hours.
Utley is also trailing the Cardinals’ Matt Carpenter, the Giants’ Marco Scutaro, and the Mets’ Daniel Murphy.
On the Dom Brown front, he’s also starting to appear on more ballots, but not enough of them. He’s currently north of 1.4 million votes, but far behind the outfielders’ leader who is the Cardinals’ Carlos Beltran with over 5 million. He and his Redbirds’ teammate, catcher Yadier Molina, are the only National Leaguers that have surpassed 5 million votes.
The National League’s top 3 outfield vote-getters are Beltran, the Rockies’ Carlos Gonzalez, and the Braves’ Justin Upton.
To make a long story short, the top two candidates to represent the Fightin’ Phils in Flushing are Utley and Brown. This was expected considering this squad isn’t exactly the team that won a championship in 2008 and that there are rumours of a fire sale come the July 31st Trade Deadline. But, it’s something. After all, the Phillies will have at least one representative.
No Phillies are currently on the Home Run Derby ballot. Back around May or June when the name “Dom Brown” was the only thing you could get off of the lips of folks in Philly, he was rumoured himself to be a possible Home Run Derby candidate, but declined the idea in an interview with a Delaware newspaper.
The Derby has been said to be a swing-butcherer for home run hitters and a former Philadelphia Phillie, Bobby Abreu, was one of the most glaring examples of that circa 2005.
Also, left-handed pitcher Jesse Biddle (Class AA Reading) as well as third baseman Maikel Franco (Class A Clearwater) will be the two representatives of the Phillies’ farm system in the Futures Game that occurs the Sunday before Monday’s Derby and Tuesday’s Midsummer Classic.
With the Philadelphia ballclub on the verge of transitioning into rebuilding mode, it may not be long before we see both Biddle and Franco possibly donning Phillies pinstripes in the future.
When Will the Midsummer Party Return to Philly?
Speaking of All-Star Games, one has to ask when will Citizens Bank Park be the site of a Midsummer Classic. The last time Philadelphia hosted a baseball All Star Game was 17 years ago in 1996 at the old Veterans Stadium. Pittsburgh only waited 12 years in between Midsummer Classics—once in 1994 at Three Rivers Stadium, and again in 2006 at PNC Park.
Recently, All Star Games have been tied to the building of new stadia. Dating back to 1997 (at Cleveland’s Jacobs-now-Progressive Field) and counting this year’s in Flushing, 12 of the last 17 Midsummer Classics will have been held in in stadia that were either newly built or heavily renovated within 4 years of the stadium’s opening or renovation. That’s not even counting San Francisco’s AT&T Park which opened in 2000 as Pac Bell Park, but played host to the 2007 All Star Game.
Next year’s will be in Minnesota’s Target Field (opened in 2010). 2015’s will be at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati (opened in 2003). 2016 was once rumoured to be headed to Chicago’s North Side at Wrigley Field, but Baltimore’s Oriole Park at Camden Yards has now emerged as the 2016 favorite (lasted hosted in 1993, opened the year before). Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. played host to its first baseball in 2008, but isn’t rumoured to be in the running for the Midsummer Classic until 2017.
CBP opened in 2004 and has been one of the rare new stadia that still hasn’t hosted an All-Star Game. After Philly hosted in 1976 (to celebrate the bicentennial of the United States) and ’96, Phils’ president David Montgomery told the Philadelphia Daily News last year that they’re targeting another year that ends in the number six—2026 to be exact.
2026 would also be the 250th anniversary of the US of A and Philly is, after all, our nation’s birthplace. That’s thirty years, by the way, since 1996. To put that in perspective, Nick Foles will be almost 40 years old. Michael Vick will be 46 and probably be behind an analyst’s desk at ESPN or NFL Network by that time. Dom Brown will also be closing in on the big 4-0 and Barack Obama will be 65 y.o.
One thing is for sure, considering how much of a bandbox CBP is, 65 may also be the total amount of home runs the winner of its Home Run Derby hits in the Derby’s three rounds.
See you in 2026 Somewhere.
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