Tagged: All-Star Game

D-backs recharged after All-Star break

Photo by Jordan Megenhardt

By Greg Dillard

The All-Star break afforded many D-backs players the chance to travel and spend some time away from the diamond. The break gave them a breather from the intense grind of a 162-game season.

They now return for the final 70 games of the 2011 regular season recharged and anxious to compete for a division title.

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Valverde thrilled to be an All-Star in Arizona

Photo by Jon Willey

By Greg Dillard

For five seasons, he won the hearts of Arizona fans with his electric fastball and entertaining antics on the mound. He led the league in saves with 47 in 2007, and the flamethrower’s eclectic arsenal of pitches made him the dominant closer in the D-backs’ bullpen.

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All-Star FanFest underway in Phoenix

All photos by Josh Greene

By Greg Dillard

The 2011 MLB All-Star FanFest is officially underway at the Phoenix Convention Center in Downtown Phoenix.

With 350,000 square feet of interactive baseball entertainment, FanFest provides visitors with an unparalleled baseball experience. The event, which is now in its 21st year, has drawn more than 2,100,000 fans during the past 20 seasons.

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All-Star festivities coming to Chase Field

Photo by Jonathan Willey

By Greg Dillard

In the spring of 2009, Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig announced that Chase Field would play host to the 82nd MLB All-Star Game. Now in 2011, All-Star week is just days away.

It’s bound to be an action-filled experience as many of baseball’s biggest stars gather in the Arizona desert, so D-backs Insider takes a look at some of the upcoming festivities at the ballpark.

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Goldschmidt, Skaggs to play in All-Star Futures Game

Photo by Jordan Megenhardt

By Greg Dillard

The 2011 XM All-Star Futures game at Chase Field will feature a pair of D-backs top prospects. First baseman Paul Goldschmidt and pitcher Tyler Skaggs have been selected to participate in this year’s event.

The 13th annual Futures Game will take place on July 10 and showcases many of baseball’s elite prospects on two teams: U.S. and World. In this year’s contest, Goldschmidt and Skaggs will be teammates on the U.S squad.  

After being drafted by the D-backs in the eighth round of the 2009 MLB Amateur draft, Goldschmidt has torn through Minor League pitching. In nearly three seasons, the hard-hitting first baseman has crushed 75 home runs, 83 doubles, and 231 RBI.

He batted .334 and .314 in his first two seasons, respectively. In 2011, Goldschmidt keeps on hitting and is enjoying a standout season at Double-A Mobile. Through 70 games, he is hitting .328 with 22 homers and 61 RBI.

Despite his recent success, Goldschmidt only wants to get better as his season continues.

“I just try to do my best every day and keep improving,” Goldschmidt said in Spring Training. “Listen to what the coaches are saying and the other guys on the team. Your teammates can help you out so much.”

Goldschmidt recently participated in the Southern League All-Star Game, where he launched a two-run homer in the first inning.

“All you’ve got to do is look at his numbers and wow,” D-backs Director of Player Development Mike Bell said in Spring Training. “I think the way he does it makes it really impressive, too. He’s got a lot of power to right field and right centerfield. The majority of his home runs come that way, which is the sign of a guy that knows how to hit.”

Then there’s Skaggs, who was acquired last summer in the Dan Haren trade with the Angels. Skaggs was a first-round draft pick by Los Angeles in the 2009 draft. With an electric arsenal of pitches and smooth mechanics, the southpaw has immediately become one of Arizona’s top pitching prospects.

As a member of Single-A Visalia’s starting rotation, Skaggs has a 3.36 ERA and 4-5 record in 14 starts this season. Following last year’s trade, he made four starts for South Bend, where he went 1-1 with a sharp 1.69 ERA. In Skaggs’ 83 innings of work, he has tallied 102 strikeouts, which leads the entire California League.

After a slow start to the season, Skaggs has found his groove in recent weeks.

“I’m just attacking hitters,” Skaggs said, “using my fastball inside outside, my curveball, and then I really worked on my changeup. (It’s) just going out there thinking the best, and you can’t be hit. You’ve just got to go out there and go pitch by pitch.”

Skaggs was also a recent Minor League All-Star when he started for the California League in the Single-A All-Star game against the Carolina League on June 21.

Goldschmidt and Skaggs are the latest D-backs to suit up for the Futures Game. Shortstop Stephen Drew, pitcher Daniel Hudson, and outfielders Justin Upton and Chris Young were all participants in past Futures Games.

Upton All-Star Campaign Receives Huge Celebrity Boost

Upton Photo by Greg Salvatore, Bieber photo from Twitter.com/justinbieber

By Greg Salvatore

Justin Bieber has the second-most Twitter followers of any person in the world, 9.6 million. That is over a million more than President Obama, almost twice as many as Oprah Winfrey, more than twice as many as Justin Timberlake and more than three times as many as The New York Times.

(In related news, it’s more than 35,000 times as many followers as Insider_Writer, so let’s get to changing that, eh?)

So when it comes to celebrity endorsements, it’s hard for anyone to reach more people than a Justin Bieber tweet. Behold:

We’re rooting for Justin Upton around Chase Field, obviously, since it would be pretty special to see him play in the All-Star Game and potentially the Home Run Derby right here in his home ballpark. So it’s awesome to see a celebrity endorsement for him. Hopefully this moves the needle.

D-blog may not have a Bieber-caliber reach — yet — but here’s the ballot. Vote Upton, vote D-backs and vote often:


Catch CY in the Home Run Derby Tonight!


Photography: Jon Willey


By Greg Salvatore


Don’t forget to tune to ESPN at 5 p.m. Arizona time tonight to root for Chris Young in the State Farm Home Run Derby!


Young is just the second D-backs player to compete in the Derby, though the team does have a good record so far–the only prior competitor, Luis Gonzalez, won the event in 2001.


“If I can get something up in the zone, something I can elevate and get out of the yard is pretty much what I’m doing,” Young said. “I’ve talked to Jermaine Dye and I’ve talked to some of these guys up here, and you know, endurance is the big thing. I try to not get too excited out there and not swing at every pitch.”


When the competitors were asked how they think they’ll be received if they’re winners of the Derby, Young joked that he expects nothing short of a king’s treatment.


“The long shot that I win it, I want all of these guys to carry me off the field,” he said, laughing.