Thoughts From The Dugout

It’s almost impossible to complain about getting to watch the last two Futures Games from the cozy confines of the U.S. team’s dugout, but it does make it hard to live blog . . . Yeah, working for Baseball America (and on this day for XM Satellite Radio, the sponsor of the Futures Game) can be tough sometimes.

Now the easy part–watching the game from the dugout gives a great insight into how much fun the American players have getting selected for the game. Athletics righthander Michael Madsen was the only player here who didn’t get in the game, and talking with him in the seventh inning, he still seemed to enjoy the whole experience.

Even after taking a 7-2 loss, every member of the U.S. team seemed to have the same sentiment. Yankees righthander Joba Chamberlain was one of they key instigators in the U.S. dugout, constantly talking and keeping his teammates–both the guys he already knew and the ones he was meeting for the first time–loose.

“Oh yeah, it’s important to keep it light,” said U.S. outfielder Justin Upton (Diamondbacks). You have to keep it as light as you can in the dugout. We compete but we only get to play together from time to time, so we try to remember to have as much fun as possible.”

There were no obvious hijinks in the dugout besides Chamberlain’s chatter, but a highlight involved Hall of Famer Ernie Banks getting Upton’s attention for a moment after his home run and talking to him. Upton said that Banks really just asked him about some basic background information, such as where he’s from and where he plays, but he appreciated the moment nonetheless.

Among other highlights:

• Chris Coghlan joked with U.S. teammates about his former Ole Miss teammate, Matt Tolbert, getting in the game at first base. Coghlan said Tolbert had never played first base before, so naturally the first play hit toward Tolbert was a tough chopper that was scored as a base hit.

• Jay Bruce got no love from his teammates for his second-inning triple, which was hit to the deepest part of the park in right field. (Incidentally, the dugout was the perfect place to watch Bruce find an extra gear as he came around second, ran though a stop sign and dived head-first into third base for the triple.) Instead, Chamberlain chided him on our XM broadcast for “not being strong enough to hit it out of here. He’s going to have to show up for 10 o’clock weights.”