Punxsutawney's Mesoraco selected for All-Star Game
It’s been a long time since the baseball All-Star Game has much importance around here, but it’s a safe bet there will be a lot of local viewers tuned in to this year’s game.
That’s because one of the participants, Cincinnati Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco, has strong ties to Indiana County. He was born and raised in Punxsutawney and spent his summers playing in the local Junior and Senior Legion baseball leagues.
Mesoraco is the first local product to be picked for the All-Star Game since Indiana High School and IUP grad Billy Hunter, another Punxsutawney native, played in the 1953 midsummer classic for the St. Louis Browns.
Mesoraco, a former first-round draft pick, learned the news Sunday that he has been chosen for the game, which will be played Tuesday, July 15, at Target Field, in Minneapolis.
“I was just going to see if it happened,” he told the Cincinnati Enquirer. “If it happened, I would be thrilled — like I am. If it didn’t happen, I would be more than glad to go home and rest for three days. It’s going to be a special time I would assume, being my first time. You get to rub shoulders with the best players in the game. That’s quite an honor.”
Mesoraco said he was especially thrilled to be picked by Mike Matheny, the National League manager, who is a former catcher himself.
“To be picked by Mike, it’s special for me because he knows what he’s looking for in catchers,” Mesoraco said. “He knows who belongs and who doesn’t as far as catchers go. He knows what it takes to be a catcher and a leader back there.”
In just his second full season in the major leagues, Mesoraco is having quite a year. In 51 games, he’s batting .307 with 15 home runs and 41 RBIs.
Earlier this season, he hit a home run in five consecutive games, and in the process became the first player in major league history to hit a solo home run, a two-run homer, a three-run homer and a grand slam, in that order, in four consecutive games.
To celebrate the achievement, one of the bats Mesoraco used has been shipped to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, in Cooperstown, N.Y., where it possibly will go on display.
The All-Star Game will be broadcast on Fox, beginning at 8 p.m.