Matt McBride doesn’t mind seeing history repeat itself.
At least not this chapter.
McBride has been selected to represent the Albuquerque Isotopes and the Pacific Coast League in the season’s Triple-A All-Star Game on July 15 at Werner Park, home of the Omaha Storm Chasers. The 30-year-old outfielder/first baseman/catcher was the only Isotope to earn a spot on the PCL team, which was announced Wednesday.
It was welcome news for McBride, who went 1-for-3 and walked twice in Wednesday night’s 11-8 victory over visiting Reno. In the process he extended his hitting streak to 15 games.
“It’s an honor whenever you’re selected to an all-star game,” he said. “Obviously, you want to go and play well but I want to go have some fun, too. You get to meet guys on other teams, hang out and enjoy a few days off. I’m looking forward to it.”
If it sounds like McBride’s been through this before, he has. In 2012 McBride played in the Triple-A All-Star Game in Buffalo. He was a member of the Colorado Springs Sky Sox at the time.
McBride recalls the atmosphere and fun more than the game itself.
“My family lives in Pennsylvania,” he said, “so they were all able to go up and watch it. I hung out with a guy I’d played with in the (Cleveland) Indians organization. It was a great time.”
Things continued to work out well for McBride that season as he earned his first major league promotion. Injuries slowed his momentum over the next two years, but McBride has regained his impressive form in 2015.
Going into Wednesday’s game he ranked among the PCL leaders in several offensive categories, including batting average (.347, second), hits (87, second), doubles (26, tied for first), extra-base hits (38, third) and runs scored (52, third). McBride led the league in slugging percentage at .590.
“Matt can hit,” said Isotopes manager Glenallen Hill, who got to know McBride when both were at Colorado Springs. “On the field he’s very versatile, and off the field he’s a great person. But when it comes to swinging the bat, he’s proven himself.”
Significant in McBride’s hitting success is a relaxed approach to the game. It helped him weather a slow start this season, but it can also make McBride difficult to read.
“Matt does get excited,” Hill said, “but you have to look very closely. He’s very professional that way. You can’t tell if he’s on a hot streak or in a slump.”
McBride does not plan to show much emotion in the all-star game either.
“It’s fun to compete against great players,” he said, “but you can’t start thinking about trying to do something extra. As a baseball player, that’s always a bad idea.”
After twice being called up to the majors in the past three seasons only to be injured or sent down, McBride insists he doesn’t spend much time contemplating another promotion. Hill, on the other hand, said he’d like to see McBride rewarded beyond his all-star selection.
“Hopefully, Matt will get another shot soon,” Hill said.
STORYBOOK BEGINNING: Colorado Rockies prospect Trevor Story made an impression in his first Triple-A start, doubling down the right-field line and drawing a walk in six plate appearances. More impressive was Story’s dazzling play at shortstop in the eighth inning, which saved at least two runs.
Story ranged onto the outfield grass to make a diving stop of Jamie Romak’s grounder with two outs and the bases loaded. He quickly scrambled to his feet and fired a strike to first base to nip Romak and end the inning. Teammates greeted Story with enthusiastic high-fives as he reached the dugout.