To take advantage of a rare beautiful night in August, Team Phungo made the jaunt to Wilmington to catch the Blue Rocks hosting the Salem Red Sox. Both teams are members of the Class Hi-A Carolina League. The Blue Rocks are affiliated with the Kansas City Royals, while Salem's Parent club is the Boston Red Sox.
It was Judy Johnson Night at the ballpark - Johnson was a negro league player from Delaware and the Blue Rocks play on a field that bears his name. The Blue Rocks do a good job of honoring Johnson and the Negro Leagues, bringing in the several players and their living relatives. A rather large silent auction listing dozens of items was held during the game. Autographed photos of players past and present were up for bid.
The Game ended up being an early blowout. The Blue Rocks led 8-0 in the third and would prevail 11-0.
Snapshots (For most pix you can click to enlarge)
Wilmington Blue Rocks - Kansas City Monarchs
For the Judy Johnson celebration both teams donned the uniforms of Negro League teams. Wilmington wore the uniform of the Kansas City Monarchs.
Salem Red Sox - Homestead Grays
The Salem Red Sox wore the uniforms of the Homestead Grays. The Grays were one of the teams that Judy Johnson played for as well as Josh Gibson.
Blue Rocks LHP Will Smith
Will Smith is with his 4th team this year, He was involved in a trade that sent Major League infielder Alberto Collaspo to the Angels. Smith has struggled at higher levels this year but returning to Class-A ball may have helped him as he shut out the Red Sox for 7 innings on yielding just 3 hits and one walk. Prior to this season Smith was the Angels #15 prospect according to Baseball America.
The Blue Rocks DH was Will Myers who Hit his first Home Run as a Blue Rock. Myers was promoted to the Blue Rocks mid-season and was ranked as the Royals #3 prospect by Baseball America prior to the 2010 season. the 20-year old is currently batting .323 (.435 OBP) with 11 dingers between Wilmington and Burlington.
Kansas City's first pick this year was Christian Colon. He was picked 4th overall and as far as I know he is currently the highest ranked pick from the 2010 draft to sign. Colon is batting .258(.309 OBP) through 163 ABs for the Royals.
I couldn't find many BoSox prospects in this game. Tejeda was Boston's #12 BA Prospect prior to a pedestrian 2009. Tejeda is in the middle of a bounce back year batting .312 (.349 obp) with 10 homers.
Blue Rocks Retired #33 Mike Sweeney
One of the Blue Rocks Retired Numbers is #33 which was worn by the Phils latest Addition Mike Sweeney.
I seem to always enjoy Wilmington and should get down there more often. For less than the price of parking at a Phils game I got nice a nice night out of baseball, took some fun pictures, and learned a little history of the game as well.