2019 Area Code Games: Day Three RewindStories
LONG BEACH, Calif. — Before I get to today’s games, it’s always kind of interesting to point out the history of the Area Code Games and how this showcase came about.
It all started in 1987 in Lodi, California, which is in the northern part of the San Joaquin Valley – otherwise known as the “Zinfandel Capital of the World.” The games were the brainchild of Bob Williams, who collaborated with Northern California scouts to put on a showcase that was free of charge and would pit players from different areas of the country, based on their area codes. He also wanted to appease the scouts by having the high schoolers drop their aluminum bats and use nothing but wood bats.
The thing that separates the ACG from other high school showcases is the fact that the MLB scouts themselves are the ones who choose the players who play here in Long Beach. In other words, no daddy’s boys or players who spent extra money so their boy could play, these are just the best of the best. Those who are going to be high on the draft boards after their senior years of high school.
And also, there are upwards of 500 scouts in attendance here at Blair Field during the Area Code Games. You can’t swing a cat by the tail without hitting four or five scouts in the stands here.
Since the inception of the Area Code Games, 12 of its alums have been chosen first overall in the MLB draft.
– Phil Nevin, Cal State Fullerton, 1989 ACG alum
– Pat Burrell, Miami, 1994 ACG alum
– Adrian Gonzalez, 1999 ACG alum
– Delmon Young, 1999 ACG alum
– Matt Bush, 2003 ACG alum
– Justin Upton, 2003 ACG alum
– Tim Beckham, 2003 ACG alum
– Gerrit Cole, 2007 ACG alum
– Bryce Harper, 2008 ACG alum
– Mark Appel, 2008 ACG alum
– Brady Aiken, 2012 ACG alum
– Royce Lewis, 2016 ACG alum
The 2005 Area Code Games had some particularly interesting players taking part as well. Footballers like Toby Gerhart and Colin Kaepernick both played the stitched ball in Long Beach. Also, Clayton Kershaw was a 2005 participant as well. A few years later, Super Bowl QB Russell Wilson played in the Area Code Games before moving on to football glory.
The big boys from Bristol took notice and ESPN 3 finally became involved in televising one day of the games in 2011, and they followed suit for each of the next four years. But they are not involved in the ACG any longer.
Despite Blair Field becoming the home choice for the Area Code Games in 1995, it spent one summer at Tony Gwynn Stadium in San Diego in 1997. It moved back to Blair Field in 1998 and has stayed here in SoCal ever since.
Just to fully display the high level of talent that plays here in Long Beach, last year there were 87 ACG players who were drafted by Major League Baseball. In 2014, there were 42 Area Code Game alums who were drafted in the top five rounds of the MLB draft. So yeah, the dudes you see here today very easily could end up playing at a Major League park in a few short years.
One more interesting stat I learned here in Long Beach this week… a full 70% of the players from North America who are in the Major Leagues right now played ball here at the Area Code Games. That is remarkable.
Now on to the games that took place on Day Three at the Area Code Games.
Royals – 2
Brewers – 10
This was the first 8am game of the week and it looks like the Northwest-based Royals were still sleeping after the alarm clock malfunctioned. (Or they set it for “pm” instead of “am”, as we all do once in a while, right?). The SoCal-based Brewers became the first team to strike for double digits in this mostly pitching-heavy ACGs, helped by the fact that the Royals committed five errors in the game. The Brewers were led by D’Andre Smith, who went 3-for-3 with a stolen base and an RBI, and Home Run Derby champion Kalai Rosario, who went 2-for-2 with 2RBI and two runs scored.
Man, that’s pretty strong work for a dude who just 12 hours beforehand won the Home Run Derby.
Nationals – 000 010 2 – 3 3 2
Rangers – 120 000 1 – 4 7 3
One big takeaway from this game is that Rangers right fielder Jacob Schoenvogel (Baylor commit) knows what it feels like to go from hero to zero to hero again.
The Ranger right fielder had a pretty good game going, smacking a double in his first at-bat of the game (eventually scoring), then walking in his second at-bat as the Rangers took a pretty safe 3-0 lead into the latter innings.
Check out the full rewind by clicking below!