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Filling The Void: Back To The Future

Go back in time and watch some future MLB regulars make their debut on the national stage at the inaugural MLB Futures Game in 1999

Fenway Park by Clare and Ben is licensed under CC BY SA-2.0

Filling The Void: Back To The Future

Estimated Reading Time: 2 Minutes

Having a hard time with this whole “social distancing” thing? Yeah – us too. Especially when it comes to the lack of sports. So, we here at The Turf thought we’d offer a way to help ease the pain and suffering. While we may not have any of the current sports leagues to watch live, there is PLENTY of archive footage available at our fingertips. We’ve scoured the internet and assembled some of the most iconic, noteworthy and remarkable sporting events we could find. We also found some mundane, run of the mill matches and contests, that seemed banal at first watch. However, at this point, we’ll take anything that resembles sports, right? Each day, we’ll feature one of the contests and provide you a link where you can relive the glory, exhilaration, and thrill from the comfort of your couch.

Today: The 1999 MLB All-Star Futures Game

This game was the brainchild of Executive VP of Operations for MLB Jimmie Lee Solomon as a way to showcase the minor league talent during the All-Star break in MLB. The 1999 game was the first of these exhibitions, pitting international players on the World Team against prospects from the USA. There were a handful of names in this game that went on to have solid careers in the majors (Pat Burrell, Lance Berkman, Rick Ankiel, and Rafael Furcal to name a few), but it was all about one name on this day:

Of all the players that appeared in this game, Soriano had, by far, the most successful career. After watching what he did in this game – you can see why. It was also great to listen to the commentary of Peter Gammons and Ray Knight – hearing about the prospects and what they all had to offer (especially knowing who did and didn’t “pan out” as a major leaguer).

Some other notable sightings and moments in this replay that I loved:

  • Seeing Rick Ankiel on a pitcher’s mound at 19 years old.
  • Seeing Stuart Scott and Rich Eisen doing interviews in the dugouts and in the stands.
  • Realizing that, to me at least, Ray Knight sounds like Terry Bradshaw.
  • Watching Mets prospect Jorge Toca go yard – something he never did in his brief Mets career.

The Futures Game didn’t gain much traction at first. It was only a 7 inning game and there wasn’t much interest initially. However, over the years since (and with a few format tweaks here and there) it’s become a bigger and bigger event. I look forward to the day when we can watch the next group of prospects compete in this game – hopefully sometime soon.

See You Tomorrow. Stay Safe. Stay Smart. Wash Your Hands.

Joe is an actor who grew up eating, living and breathing sports. He spent many an afternoon on the soccer or baseball field in his youth (and even gave several other sports a shot) before a series of events put him on the path to pursuing a performing career. Subsequently, he's worked almost every other type of job you could imagine while trying to support that endeavor. Whenever he's not working any of those jobs, he can often be found watching, playing or discussing sports in some way. Most of that banter revolves around the Mets, Giants, Rangers or Manchester United. His short term goal is to fully convert his fiance into a rabid sports fan, not someone who leaves the room whenever he turns a game on.

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