Showcase | Story | 1/24/2020

PG National returns to The Trop

Jeff Dahn        

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – The Perfect Game National Showcase will celebrate its 20th birthday in June by returning to the ballpark where it all started two decades ago.

Perfect Game has announced that Tropicana Field and the city of St. Petersburg, Fla., will be hosting the 20th annual PG National Showcase during its five-day run June 17-21, 2020.

The Trop, the air-conditioned indoor home of the American League Tampa Bay Rays, previously served as host for the PG National – the country’s most highly regarded and heavily scouted amateur baseball showcase aimed at top prospects entering their senior year in high school – in 2001, 2002, 2004, 2010 and 2018. The 2001 and 2002 dates marked the first two years the event was held.

“I have so many fond memories from Tropicana Field,” Perfect Game Founder/President Jerry Ford said. “Scott Kazmir, the Upton brothers, Prince Fielder, Joey Votto and so many other great players performed at past National Showcases at The Trop. This year promises to be another enjoyable and memorable experience.”

The 2019 PG National was staged at Chase Field, the roofed home of the Arizona Diamondbacks located in downtown Phoenix; it marked the first time the event had been held west of the Rocky Mountains. Fort Myers, Fla., hosted the National five times during the previous decade (2011, 2014-17) and the old Metrodome in Minneapolis served as host in 2012 and 2013.

“St. Pete/Clearwater is the perfect place for the Perfect Game National Showcase,” said Steve Hayes, President & CEO of the Visit St. Pete/Clearwater tourism bureau. “We’re excited to welcome this exciting event back to Tropicana Field where many of baseball’s best have put their skills on display before.”

The PG National Showcase welcomed more than 1,500 prominent prep prospects into its fold during the five previous visits to The Trop. Many of those players went on to enjoy successful careers in Major League Baseball with several performing at the highest levels of the game.

“The game of baseball has helped to make St. Petersburg a special place for more than one hundred years,” St. Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman said. “Hosting the Perfect Game National Showcase complements the exciting baseball that continues to be played in the Sunshine City and offers us yet another chance to show off our city to the game’s future stars, their families, coaches, scouts and many fans.”

The 2001 National at The Trop featured future big-leaguers Kazmir, Fielder, Votto, BJ (Melvin) Upton, Denard Span, Jeff Clement, Alex Gordon, Lastings Milledge and Jarrod Saltalamacchia, among others. Milledge and Saltalamacchia returned in 2002 when guys like Andrew Miller and Chris Perez were also in attendance.

The 2004 event at The Trop will always be remembered as one of the biggest in terms of star-power with future National League MVPs Andrew McCutchen and Buster Posey being joined on the carpet by 2005 No. 1 overall MLB Draft pick Justin Upton. Cameron Maybin, Ike Davis, Austin Jackson and Colby Rasmus were also on hand that year.

The 2010 National at The Trop featured MLB All-Stars Javier Baez, Francisco Lindor and future NL ROY Jose Fernandez among its head-liners.

The PG National returned to the Tampa-St. Petersburg Metro area in 2018 and 10 of the top prospects who performed that year were selected in the first round of the 2019 MLB Draft, including No. 2 overall pick Bobby Witt Jr, No. 5 Riley Greene and No. 6 CJ Abrams.

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