Seconds after starting pitcher Brett Marshall fired the last of his warmup tosses, centerfielder Eury Perez dug into the righthanded batter’s box ready for the game’s first pitch. It’s a scene that normally gets played out on a nightly basis for the Senators, but this time it was in front of a crowd of 9,477 to kick off the 2012 Eastern League All-Star Game in Reading.
Seven players (Erik Davis, Jeff Kobernus, Hector Nelo, Perez, Kevin Pucetas, Chris Rahl, and Danny Rosenbaum) were selected to represent Harrisburg at this year’s game. For those chosen, it was a chance to shine on the league’s biggest stage against the best competition and an opportunity to be recognized for their hard work.
Kobernus, who appeared in last year’s California/Carolina Leagues All-Star Game, reflected on the significance to him, “It’s always an honor and a good opportunity to represent the Senators and the organization.” Rahl echoed the second baseman’s sentiments and elaborated, “Just that award that gratifies you for all the hard work you’ve put in throughout the year and off-season. You’re excited any time you are selected to an All-Star team.”
Many of the players were quick to point out the Senators’ success in the first half of the season as a factor in their selection. “Our team has done such a good job playing behind me,” Rosenbaum said deferring credit to his teammates, “I wouldn’t be here without them. They’ve made my season so far.”
The All-Star break also provides a welcome respite to the grind of the season. Usually known for his intensity on the mound, Davis put the festivities in perspective, “I’m just going to enjoy these two days here and make the most of it.” Minutes later, the righthanded reliever was the first player from either squad out on the field ready to do his pre-game work and soak in the atmosphere.
The gregarious Pucetas, now a veteran of four different leagues’ All-Star games, looked at the social aspect of the event, “It’s always fun to come to these things, to go through all of the events and meet a lot of the other players.” It also gives many players a chance to reconnect with former teammates and friends that are now scattered throughout the league.
Being selected to the All-Star team means something different for everyone, but consider that Rosenbaum and Pucetas chose to attend despite both being unable to pitch in the game and you’ll quickly get a sense of what this means to the players. “I could have went home, but I’m glad I got to enjoy this. It’s something I’m really going to take in, relax, and have some fun,” Rosenbaum said. “It’s something I’ll be able to tell my kids in the future.”
This article was originally found in issue #15 of the Senators’ program and was reprinted with the permission of the Harrisburg Senators