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All American Game | Story | 8/29/2011

Reebok OPOY award to Gallo

Jeff Dahn        
Photo: Perfect Game

The Reebok advertisement fills page 33 in the Official Souvenir Program of the 2011 Perfect Game All-American Classic presented by Rawlings.

The ad pictures Detroit Tigers All-Star right-hander Justin Verlander holding out a Reebok Pro Cooperstown Zig Cleat, an innovative baseball shoe Reebok is marketing with a certain fervor. As part of that marketing effort, the company jumped into a sponsorship role at the PG All-American Classic, which included the naming rights to one of Perfect Game’s national awards.

This year’s winner of the Reebok Offensive Player of the Year Award went to Henderson, Nev., left-handed slugger and top national prospect Joey Gallo.

Reebok’s involvement with the All-American Classic and as the sponsor of the Offensive Player of the Year Award seemed to benefit everyone.

It was important for Reebok to partner with the 2011 Perfect Game All-American Baseball Classic. It allowed us to show our dedication to the sport of baseball at the amateur level,” Reebok Sports Marketing, Baseball Associate Manager Ryan Tappin said in an e-mail to Perfect Game. “The talent each player brought to the game was unparalleled with any other baseball showcase. It truly was the best of the best competing in this event.”

Tappin explained it was also an excellent opportunity for Reebok to showcase their baseball product line, including the Pro Cooperstown Zig Cleat – all of the All-Americans received a pair of the shoes – and the company’s O-Bat technology. Reebok held a product forum to discuss the products with the players, and Tappin said that “all feedback was overwhelmingly positive.”

Gallo’s selection as the 2011 Reebok Offensive Player of the Year was certainly warranted. His junior season at Las Vegas Bishop Gorman High School was phenomenal – he hit .471 (57-for-121) with 25 home runs, 76 RBI and 64 runs scored – and helped Bishop Gorman win its sixth straight Nevada Class 4A state championship.

While at June’s Perfect Game National Showcase in Fort Myers, Fla., the 6-5, 205-pound third baseman almost sounded apologetic when he spoke about his 25 home runs in 39 games.

I was using a metal bat and the pitching wasn’t like you’ll see here, but I was starting to find my groove a little bit,” Gallo said. “When you start finding your groove you can start launching a little bit. At the beginning of the season I was struggling a little bit, but then you start to find your place and you start to relax at the plate. That’s when I really started hitting them out.”

Gallo hit .474 with 15 home runs, 62 RBI and 41 runs scored during his sophomore season (2010), so it wasn’t as if he didn’t start to hit until his junior campaign. But he admitted he did a lot of growing up between his sophomore and junior years in high school.

I definitely matured as a player in many ways,” Gallo said at the PG National. “I feel like I’ve become faster with more power, and I’m definitely better in the mental part of the game. I can relax a little bit in pressure situations with a lot of people watching.”

One of those situations arrived at the Perfect Game All-American Classic when, batting cleanup in the West team’s order, he led-off the bottom of the second inning with the eyes of more than 7,900 people in attendance at PETCO Park trained on him.

With East right-hander Lucas Sims dealing from the mound, Gallo connected with a 93 mph Sims fastball and drove it 442 feet into right-center. It is the longest home run ever hit in the nine-year history of the All-American Classic and the 10th
 longest hit at PETCO, the San Diego Padres’ home for the past eight years.

Gallo, the No. 4-ranked national prospect and top-ranked third base prospect (2012), was named the Classic’s Most Valuable Player.

This is one of the coolest experiences I’ve ever had. Just playing with these guys has been great,” Gallo said after accepting the MVP trophy from former Padres’ All-Star closer Trevor Hoffman. “It’s always an honor playing with these guys, and I know most of them from Team USA and all the other stuff we do together doing the summer.”

His selection as Reebok Offensive Player of the Year came before he hit the long home run and was named the Classic’s MVP. Those distinctions only solidified the choice.

Choosing the offensive player of the year wasn’t an easy task,” Reebok’s Tappin said. “A genuine argument could be made for several deserving players, however when it was all said and done, Reebok felt Joey had shown consistency and power time and time again.”

Gallo also pitches, and possesses a fastball that reaches the mid-90s. He has committed to LSU and has been slotted as a potential two-way guy.

I like doing both because I feel like I do both pretty well. If it comes down to the point where I need to one or the other, I’d rather hit, but whatever makes the money, that’s what I’m going to do,” he said with a laugh and a smile.

About Reebok:

Reebok International Ltd., headquartered in Canton, MA, USA, is a leading worldwide designer, marketer and distributor of sports, fitness and casual footwear, apparel equipment. A subsidiary of a adidas Group, the company operates under the multiple divisions of the Reebok brand, Reebok-CCM Hockey and the Sports Licensed Division. For more information, visit Reebok are www.reebok.com  and www.reebok.com/women.

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