SAN DIEGO -- At the time, when they were only 16 or 17 years old, most of the elite prospects in the country could only dream of one day being on such a magnificent stage. Just the thought of playing in a major league ballpark before a nationally televised audience and in front of hundreds of scouts and college coaches and recruiters -- to have been given this opportunity to showcase their skills probably seemed a little out there.
For 48 of the top prospects in the high school class of 2013, that dream becomes reality when they take to the field at PETCO Park on Sunday (Aug. 12) evening for the 10th edition of the Perfect Game All-American Classic presented by Rawlings. The game -- and other events associated with it in the preceding days -- is certain to create life-long memories.
Just ask the guys who have already been there.
“It was an unbelievable experience for me,” Kansas City Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer told Perfect Game during spring training in March while thinking back on his involvement in the 2007 PG/Aflac All-American Classic, played that year at the University of San Diego.
“It was my first time playing on TV and it was the first time for me getting that much exposure and getting on national television and playing against guys that today, some are in the major leagues and some are in the minor leagues. It was the first time I got to play against real good competition and it opened my eyes to what baseball really is.”
Hosmer played in that Classic with nine prospects who, like himself, went on to become first round draft picks. Xavier Avery was a second round pick that played in that '07 game and he made his big-league debut with the Baltimore Orioles this season.
"It was kind of like going to an all-star game," Avery recalled in early June. "You put in the hard work and I got noticed enough to go that game with all the top players in the nation right there. A lot of those guys I played with and against at that game, I still know now. We all still know each other and we're all still cool with each other."
The first pitch for this year's event is scheduled to be thrown at 6:08 p.m. (PDT) and can be watched live on the CBS Sports Network. Last year's PG All-American Classic drew right around 9,000 fans and has become a big part of the local community, as proceeds from the event benefit the Rady Children's Hospital, where the players and coaches will visit on Friday.
Former San Diego Padres All-Star closer and future Hall of Fame member Trevor Hoffman will act as the event's Honorary Chairman for the second straight year. Hoffman will interact with the prospects throughout their four-day stay and will speak at Saturday night's Awards Dinner at the San Diego Hall of Champions.
“We are excited to once again be back in San Diego for the nation’s premier high school baseball game, the Perfect Game All-American Classic,” Brad Clement, Vice President, Development of Perfect Game USA, said in a news release. “This is our fourth year playing at PETCO Park, and we are happy to be working with our partners to ensure a top-notch event and showcase the best players to the country. The icing on the cake is how the game benefits the local community by giving back to Rady Children’s Hospital.”
This year's group of outstanding prospects -- 24 on each of the two squads, East and West -- will start getting cool with each other on Thursday morning when they begin checking in with PG officials at the San Diego Marriott Mission Valley hotel.
There will be a Welcome Dinner Thursday night right before high school hall of fame head coaches Clyde Metcalf (East) and Marc Johnson (West) will hold team meetings. Metcalf has coached at Sarasota (Fla.) High School for 31 years and Johnson has been at Cherry Creek High School near Aurora, Colo., for 40 years.
"When I got the phone call initially from (PG's) Ben Ford, it was a big surprise to me, but a very pleasant surprise. I'm really looking forward to it," Metcalf told Perfect Game. "I think it's going to be a tremendous experience for me and I know it's going to be an unbelievable experience for those young men that are participating.
"It's always nice to go out and put on a uniform with guys that you can look at and say that's the future of our game, and it gives you a kind of tie-in to follow them."
The two veteran coaches will be in charge of a group of athletes that have reached the top of the Perfect Game national prospect rankings, including the top-10 in the class of 2013:
OF Clint Frazier (Loganville, Ga.), PF/LHP Dominic Smith (Los Angeles), OF Justin Williams (Houma, La.), LHP Robert Kaminsky (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.), RHP Clinton Hollon (Lexington, Ky.), , OF Austin Meadows (Grayson, Ga.), MIF Oscar Mercado (Tampa, Fla.), C Reese McGuire (Kent, Wash.), MIF/RHP Christopher Rivera (Fullerton, Calif.) and LHP/OF Trey Ball (New Castle, Ind.).
The finalists for this year's Jackie Robinson Player of the Year Award are Frazier, Smith, Willliams, Kaminsky, INF Cavan Biggio (Houston) and C/1B Zack Collins (Pembroke Pines, Fla.). Biggio is the son of ex-big-leaguer and 3,000-hit club member Craig Biggio and the West roster also includes 1B/RHP Kacy Clemens, the son of seven-time Cy Young Award winner Roger Clemens.
"I am impressed with the extraordinary high school talent the All-American Baseball Classic brings to the forefront of the baseball world each year," Perfect Game President Jerry Ford said. "These 2013 prospects have the ability to represent the next wave of major league stars."
In its nine-year history, the Classic has already impacted the big leagues -- 52 alumni have made their MLB debuts, including Matt Harvey of the New York Mets just last week. The number of 1st-round picks has shot up to 117 after 19 alums were selected in this year's draft -- 16 of those 19 played in last year's game. Carlos Correa became the sixth No. 1 overall pick since the first PG/Aflac All-Americans entered the draft in 2004.