BRADENTON, Fla. -- The stars will be out in Bradenton this weekend -- the stars of the Florida State League, that is. McKechnie Field is playing host to the league's annual all-star game, with a weekend filled with festivities.
What do Derek Jeter, Joe Mauer, and Ryan Howard all have in common? Yes, they're MLB superstars, but years before that they all played in the Florida State League All-Star Game.
Josh Bell of the Bradenton Marauders is participating in this year's game and hopes to achieve the same kind of success as those three players. “It's going to be a great game to watch; really fun. All the best players in our league, future all-stars of Major League Baseball.”
Bell will have a loyal following in the stands. This year’s game is being played Saturday on Bell’s home field at McKechnie Field in Bradenton. “It's going to be fun to play in front of the home crowd this year and perform for them.”
Around this time a year ago, McKechnie got the nod. Marauders representatives knew it would only be a matter of time, due to the stadium's recent multi-million dollar renovation project, which included new seating, a boardwalk and much more.
“Not only is this going to be a showcase where we bring in all of the best players from around the league, but we are going to get fans from all around the region to see what a premier facility this is and how Bradenton puts on a show,” says Marauders radio broadcaster Nate March.
The weekend kicks off with a VIP Gala Friday night at 5pm at the South Florida Museum. The event will be attended by players, coaches, and league executives, and will be emceed by ABC 7's Max Winitz.
Also Friday night is the Pirates and Princesses 5K run, which begins and ends on Old Main Street beginning at 5:30pm.
Saturday features a Home Run Derby at McKechnie Field. Gates open at 4:30pm with autograph sessions and live music, and the derby begins at 5:30.
The All-Star game will follow the derby, at 7:05pm. Post game activities include fireworks and a concert by the band Save The Radio.
Fore more information on the events, visit the FSL website.