It’s an honor for a minor league prospect to be chosen to play in the Futures Game as a part of the Major League Baseball All-Star Game festivities.
For Spokane Indians infielder Michael Toglia, though, it was a case of perfect timing.
The game was held in Denver at Coors Field, the home of the Indians’ parent club the Colorado Rockies, where he spent last summer as part of the “alternate training site” the Rockies used during the pandemic. He also got to play in front of his parents, grandparents, brother and uncle.
“Just to play in front of the home fans was pretty surreal,” Toglia said on Tuesday before the Indians started a six-game series against the Eugene Emeralds. “Going back to the alternate site at Coors Field, it feels as the stars kind of aligned for everything to happen the way they did.
“It was pretty awesome. That’s about as close as you can get to the big leagues without actually being there.”
In his first plate appearance in the third inning, he smashed a two-run, 444-foot homer to center field, sparking a four-run rally in a game the National League won 8-3.
He said he felt comfortable at the plate because he had plenty of reps at the alternate site last summer.
“I was looking for a fastball first pitch, and I got it and didn’t miss it,” he said.
“That was the biggest stage I’ve ever been a part of and by far the best memory I have in baseball.”
The Coors Field fans were happy to get a chance to see the Rockies’ No. 3 prospect.
“I mean, anytime I went anywhere down the line, to play catch or warm up, there were 30 people at the fence trying to get your autograph,” Toglia said.
He said he enjoys interacting with the fans that way.
“I like making their day – especially younger kids that are maybe at a baseball game for the first time,” he said. “It’s about trying to make a good impression and try to play as if that’s their first time watching a game.”
Toglia said he appreciated meeting and interacting some of the other top prospects in the game.
“Meeting all those other names was phenomenal,” he said. “You always hear about who they are, just kind of through social media – you never actually get to meet these people. So these type of events, you get to put a personality and a face to the name, so that was a lot of fun.”
Not only did Toglia get to meet a lot of up-and-comers, he also had the privilege to share a dugout with an all-timer.
“Right before I hit the home run, I went to go grab my helmet and Ken Griffey Jr. was standing in front of the bat rack,” Toglia said.
“I said, ‘Oh my gosh,’ and I shook his hand, and I then had to go ahead and hit. So I didn’t get a chance to pick his brain.”
“He came back all excited,” Indians manager Scott Little said. “He saw how awesome it is up there and got to see the very good players and maybe sees that he needs to do some more work and get a little better. But he saw what it’s like up there, and he was really excited about it.”
Hoops court for Franklin Park
The Spokane Indians Baseball Team and the Spokane Tribe of Indians teamed up with Spokane Hoopfest Association, Spokane Parks and Recreation, and Spokane Arts for the first Native basketball court in town. The court design will be installed at Franklin Park (302 W. Queen Ave.) in early August.
The imagery found on the court, and used for years by the baseball team, was originally inspired by the art of Spokane Tribal member George Flett (1946–2013). Flett’s artwork was used as a part of the historic rebranding of the team in 2006 in collaboration with the Spokane Tribe of Indians.
The team, named in honor of the tribe, has done extensive work with the tribe to bring awareness and preserve the Salish dialect spoken by the tribe.
Postgame fireworks shows scheduled for Friday and Saturday at Avista Stadium have been canceled due to the dry conditions and potential fire danger across the Inland Northwest.
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