Craig Kimbrel was making Boston Red Sox fans and Huntsville, Alabama residents proud as he recorded the win in the American League’s 2-1 victory over the National League in 10 innings in the MLB All-Star Game on Tuesday, July 11 at Marlins Park in Miami.
Kimbrel, the closer for the Red Sox, worked a scoreless ninth inning. The visiting AL won it in the 10th. Robinson Cano (Mariners) hit a solo home run in the top of the 10th, and Andrew Miller (Indians) notched the save in the bottom of the inning, giving Kimbrel the victory.
On Kimbrel’s first pitch in the bottom of the ninth, he was clocked impressively at 100.3 MPH.
Kimbrel, who is having a tremendous season for first place Boston, became the fifth Red Sox pitcher to register a win in all-star game history, joining Roger Clemens (1986), Pedro Martinez (1999), Josh Beckett (2007) and Jonathan Papelbon (2009).
With all the success he, his team and his league are experiencing, it’s a wonder how that will resonate back home.
In Huntsville, youth baseball has taken a backseat to youth soccer.
Matt Kimbrel, a former minor league pitcher and younger brother to Craig, is very passionate about baseball, too. He loves the game and wants to spread his joy for baseball to the younger generation.
Baseball now in Huntsville is different than when the Kimbrels grew up there, but Matt wants to change that. He lives in Huntsville and has four kids, including Jack, 9, who plays youth league baseball at the local park. Matt is working toward resurrecting this great sport, which has helped develop so many kids in his hometown into becoming good people. He is excited about it, getting involved with MLB’s Reviving Baseball In Inner Cities (RBI) program.
MLB RBI is an invitational sports-based youth program designed to promote interest in baseball, academic achievement and social responsibility in under-served areas.
During MLB All-Star Week Miami, the Kimbrel brothers attended MLB PLAY BALL Park at Bayfront Park in Downtown Miami. Free and open to the public, PLAY BALL Park featured a variety of youth baseball and softball programming.
Activities highlighted informal ways to play ball games -- baseball, dodgeball, kickball, softball, stickball, wiffleball. During each session from July 6-11, kids had fun playing ball with current and former major leaguers as well as past and present USA Baseball and USA Softball players. All the bats used plastic, and the balls plastic or rubber/foam type.
Huntsville has received national exposure through Craig’s all-star type efforts with the Atlanta Braves, San Diego Padres and Red Sox. He’s a humanitarian, too.
Going deep in Alabama
The brothers Kimbrel have deep Alabama roots.
Craig, 29, went to Lee High School in Huntsville and Wallace State Community College in Hanceville, Ala. He was drafted by the Atlanta Braves in 2008.
Matt, 27, attended Buckhorn High School in New Market, Ala. He went to Shelton State Community College in Tuscaloosa, Ala. and Southern Polytechnic State University in Marieta, Ga. He, too, was drafted by the Braves in 2012.
With Craig busy in the Major Leagues, Matt is taking the reigns on this renewed push for youth baseball in Huntsville. Still, he knows older brother has his back.
As for older bro in the big leagues, Craig isn’t the only Huntsville native currently in The Show.
Minnesota Twins reliever Buddy Boshers and Craig were teammates at Lee High School n Huntsville. They pitched in the same MLB game for the first time in June (and it happened twice), when the Twins played the Red Sox in a three-game series at Fenway Park.
Boshers, 29, also pitched for Calhoun Community College in Decatur, Ala., before being drafted by the Los Angeles Angels in 2008.
They’re doing Huntsville and Alabama proud.
More about PLAY BALL Park
Kids enjoyed a Nathan’s Famous Mobile Tour with a batting cage, pitch zone, basketball hot shot, giant slide, skee-ball, free Nathan’s hot dog samples and more.
Participants received a MLB PLAY BALL T-shirt, a Miami Marlins hat, a wiffleball/bat set, water and some great memories.
The goals to play informal ball games outdoors with friends and to have fun were instilled.
Music chimed throughout the informal games. The emcees were Michael King from Atlanta and DJ David C of New York.
While most programming throughout each day was pre-scheduled, there were plenty of opportunities for ‘Free Play,’ open to the general public.
The open areas for FREE PLAY included:
· Chevy PLAY BALL Diamond
· Scotts Batting Cage
· Stickball Alley
· Nathan’s Famous Mobile Tour
· MLB Network & Miami Marlins Pitching Inflatables
- Youth Sports On The Web
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