Pittsfield Suns players honored to be selected as Futures League All-Stars
PITTSFIELD — Matt Malcom was excited to learn that he had made the Futures League's All-Star Game. The Pittsfield Suns catcher/designated hitter was more excited based on how he found out.
"Actually, [Tuesday] night, my Nana texted me and said 'I'm so proud of you. I just saw the notification on Facebook,'" Malcom said before Wednesday's Suns game at Wahconah Park.
"I didn't even know at the time," he said. "It was really special having her text me. It felt really good."
Malcom is one of nine members of the Futures League-leading Suns who will play in Tuesday's All-Star Game, which will be played at Wahconah Park.
The first pitch in the 2019 All-Star Game is scheduled for 7:15. There will be a pre-game Home Run Derby, and a post-game fireworks show.
The Suns have provided nine All-Stars, second among the seven Futures League teams. Worcester has 11 All-Stars, while Bristol has eight, North Shore seven, Brockton six, Westfield five and Nashua four.
Two other Suns players, infielder Connor Berry and pitcher Mike Nocchi, are listed as candidates among 10 players who are listed in the online fan voting for the final two All-Stars.
Pitchers Henry Leake, John Clayton, Ryan Langford and Jon Morrison; catchers Malcom and Jackson Petersen; infielder Jack Culumovic along with outfielders Mark Coley and Jeff Boggess make up the Pittsfield contingent already selected to the All-Star Game.
One might expect Pittsfield manager Matt Gedman to manage one of the All-Star teams, but Gedman said on Wednesday that he did not know if that would be the case.
The All-Star Game is part of the Suns' celebration of Wahconah Park's 100th anniversary. That's why the All-Stars will be divided up into teams called "Hillies" and "Electrics," both names out of Pittsfield's baseball past.
"Teams in the past have reached back into their history, and it seemed like they are our history. Especially here, 100 years of Wahconah Park, let's go back and pick the names that are uniquely Pittsfield's and Wahconah Park's," Suns general manager Mike Lieberman said of the decision to use the old Pittsfield baseball nicknames.
The last time Pittsfield hosted an All-Star Game was 2013. That year, the players were divided up into Massachusetts and New England teams.
The Massachusetts team beat New England 2-0, and former Suns catcher Steve Dill was named the most valuable player.
Clayton, Leake, Malcom and Culumovic are all playing for the Electrics. The Hillies will have Suns players Langford, Morrison, Petersen, Coley and Boggess.
"It feels good" to be an All-Star, Coley said. "I'm excited. I got a text from my father. He always looks things up. He said 'Congrats.' I know I was struggling a little bit coming into this, but I knew I've had a good season so far, so it didn't come as a total shock to me."
The day begins with an afternoon workout for All-Stars and other invited players before Major League Baseball scouts.
"Hosting the All-Star Game is fun. It's an honor," said Lieberman. "But it's work. It's just like July 4. It's fun to be the focal point, and it's fun to have everyone come here."
Clayton also had to be told that he was on the All-Star Team.
"I was hanging out with a bunch of teammates and they told me" he had made the All-Star team, Clayton said. "I didn't even know until they told me. It's a great feeling. Honestly, the team should get it, but it's a great honor and it's a great accolade.
"Anytime you get to be with the best of the best, it's your dream of the summer."
Howard Herman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, at @howardherman on Twitter, or 413-496-6253.
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