Sorry if this is a repeat share. I thought @Consultant might appreciate it. Also, catch what I bolded at the end - "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"... WOW (I also couldn't change this annoying text size)
2022 Area Code Games: Day Three Wrap
SAN DIEGO — Before I get to the games from day three, it’s always kind of interesting to point out the history of the Area Code Games and how this showcase came about. If you get bored by history lessons, feel free to skip this opening and go down to the games part. If not, here is a quick recap of how the Area Code Games came about and how it ascended to the top showcase in America.
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, literally 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.
I touched on this back on the day one writeup, but 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 other words, no daddy’s boys or parents who spent extra money so their boy could play, these are just the best of the best, mostly 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 Fowler Park during the Area Code Games. You can’t swing a cat by the tail without hitting four or five Major League scouts in the stands here.
Since the inception of the Area Code Games, 15 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
- Mickey Moniak, 2015 ACG alum
- Royce Lewis, 2016 ACG alum
- Spencer Torkelson, 2016 ACG alum
- Jackson Holliday, 2021 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 Russel 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 Long Beach’s 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. Of course, due to the Covid 19 pandemic, the ACG moved to rural Atlanta in 2020 and then were moved back on the left coast last year, at USD. BTW, according to what I’ve found out the ACG wasn’t played at Long Beach this year solely because they were having some construction done on Blair Field this summer. It will apparently still be returning to Blair Field in 2023.
Just to fully display the high level of talent that plays here in this annual event, in 2018 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… 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.