Well it came and went as fast as could be expected. The 2011 Area Code Baseball Games, presented by New Balance got underway with a bang.
For those who have never been to Blair Field (Long Beach, Calif.) it is not a small park. When you add the wood bats, it becomes a great pitcher's park. It is ok to give up flyballs, especially if you have fast outfielders. Granted you never want to leave the ball up, but if a pitcher can pitch to the park then flyballs will not hurt.
What did we learn after the BP session in the morning?
For the first time, since I could remember, Blair actually looked small. When I talked with an employee of Long Beach State, he said that the 49ers did not hit one out at Blair all year. That was because of the bat change.
But what we saw with this group of high school players in the BP session was impressive to say the least. It seemed that players were leaving the yard left and right. And if they didn't hit them out, they were hitting missles off the wall. If this is a sign of things to come not just for the week, but for the next year then there are going to be some offensive minded high school players to go early in the draft.
Look, it was only BP, that much we do know. But the approach of these players at the plate, combined with the strength they showed it was still impressive.
When the games rolled around balls were still being hit hard. It's obviously a lot different hitting a BP fastball out that is being served up, compared to anything with a wrinkle in it.
In the two games we saw today, there were a few players who stood out.
Courtney Hawkins, plays for the Rangers, was an absolute stud out there. He showed his bat, arm and speed all in one game. It was a joy to watch him play.
Two players on the Royals had maybe the best day of any player. Dylan LaVelle collected three hits and his Royal's teammate Clint Coulter, who added two hits, led the Royals to a win. They are a scrappy team, and I think that was known coming into this week. The applied pressure to the defense and they could pitch. That was evident by Michael Rucker throwing a no-hitter through three innings.
If this was a sign of what to expect during the week, then what a week we are in store for.