Ty Fontenot, Baylor commitment (Eric Sorenson)


2019 Area Code Games: Day One Rewind


LONG BEACH, Calif. — Okay StitchHeads. It’s the first full week of August. That means two things. One, Shark Week is over, so good luck going into the water for the rest of the summer. And two, it’s Area Code Games week.

Yes, that means the best high school baseball players win the country have converged on Long Beach, California to put on a show for all the Major League teams and their scouts and hundreds of college baseball head coaches and assistant coaches.

Sure, it’s not the College World Series, the DodgerTown Classic or the Shriners Classic in Houston or anything like that. It is a bunch of high school All Americans who gather in one place to play five days worth of games. And that also means that displaying their talent is first and foremost on their minds since these high schoolers are playing in front of the very evaluators that will make them rich some day in our sport. So don’t look for teams to be gutting it out to get a check-mark in the win column. These are the best of the best for the upcoming 2020 high school season and they are just here to play well as individuals.

The hope here is – of course – that most of these kids realize that going the college route for the next three or four years after high school is definitely THE correct decision to make for the good of their baseball career.

As you guys know, the Area Code Games is different than your usual sort of baseball. There are a few ground rules to keep in mind that I always like to start with on Day 1 of the event. i’ll just give you the highlights here…

– It’s an all-wood bat showcase. That way the scouts can get a truer read on how they will hit when they are professional players.

– College coaches and pro scouts abound. In past years there have been as many as 500-plus pro scouts at this event. And of course, the number of college coaches coming here to see how some of their recruits are doing is immeasurable. This is THE place to be in college baseball this week.

– A good portion of these players will never see a college campus. There is the occasional Barry Zito, Dustin Peoria, Alex Bregman or Nick Lodolo who skip the pros and play our game for a few years. But for the most part these guys in Long Beach this week will go pro and ride rickety busses in the minors for a few years. More on this subject as the week goes on.

– Take the college commitments that I mention with a sizable grain of salt. A lot of times, finding where these players have committed to play college baseball is a little tough to come by. I spent most of my pre-ACG time researching where these players are committed to play in college, sometimes coming up with slightly incorrect information on their college they pledged to. Plus, just due to their young age, many of them will waver between schools to play for and whether they will go pro immediately or not.

– One last thing in this Area Code Games preamble, here is how the players are divvied up for the eight teams that take part…

– Chicago White Sox — Midwest
– Cincinnati Reds — Four corners (Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, Utah) and Hawaii
– Kansas City Royals — Pacific Northwest
– Milwaukee Brewers — Southern California
– New York Yankees — Northeast
– Oakland Athletics — Northern California
– Texas Rangers — Texas and Louisiana
– Washington Nationals — Southeast

We’ll get more into the hows and whys and history of this event as the week goes on. For now, here is how Day One at the 2019 Area Code Games went…

The way the ACG upper brass has four teams start the week with Batting Practice this morning at 8am. And in case you were wondering, at 8am in Long Beach, California it was 66º and overcast. That had to have the kids lining up to take their swings thinking to themselves, “What the hell? It’s actually cool here in August. It’s probably mid-90s and humid back home.”

Get dirty! Chase Davis scored the first run of the game for the Athletics in dramatic fashion.

Athletics – 010 300 0 – 4  3  2
Brewers – 000 030 0 – 3  5  1

The Area Code Games got off to a dubious start. It was great that the powers-that-be decided to kick this thing off with a rivalry showdown between the NoCal-based A’s taking on the SoCal-based Brewers. But it was not exactly a beauty pageant-type of game.

The A’s jumped out to an early lead, then gave up three runs on two hits, three walks and two wild pitches to make it a one-run game. But the A’s relief corps took over from there, getting the last six outs of the game in three-up, three-down fashion.

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