Tucson Toros baseball
Toros aim to repeat 2009's second-half success
Look to gain momentum from hosting All-Star game
When the Tucson Toros presented the Golden Baseball League with a bid to host the sixth All-Star game in the league’s history, they were welcomed with open arms.
The Toros, in their second year as a member of the GBL, won that bid and presented fans with an All-Star experience that is a direct reflection of where the league wants to go.
“Last year Tucson was one of a couple of the teams in the league that bid on it,” said GBL Commissioner Kevin Outcalt. “This time we knew it would be two years before we would host another all-star game because we have the home and away agreement with the Northern League.
“Tucson bid on it and laid out what they were able to do. Given this great facility and super place to be, it wasn’t a hard decision.”
“It was between us and Edmonton,” said Toros General Manager Sean Smock about the bidding. “We knew Canada had good weather in the summertime, so we had to do a lot to try and encourage them to come here.
“Tucson is a good baseball town and we made every effort we could to get it. We were excited and in Indianapolis at the winter meetings when the decision was made, and we were very excited to host this.”
The Toros' fun-filled week included a home run hitting contest on Monday that was claimed by Edmonton Capital Cliff Brumbaugh, who belted 11 homers to defeat the Northern League’s Jacob Blackwood of the Kansas City T-Bones.
In just their second season, Tucson has been a major contributor in helping the league become one of the premier leagues in the country.
The All-Star game drew 4,625 fans to Hi Corbett.
The Toros shattered the attendance record of the GBL last year, a mark they are on pace to set again this season.
On July 4th, the Toros set a single game record again when 9,158 fans watched the Yuma Scorpions play.
A year before, Tucson drew 9,038 fans to set the previous mark.
“It’s tough to make the playoffs in your first year,” Outcalt said. “Not that the players aren’t available, but because so many new teams underestimate the level of play in the league and Tucson did a great job.”
The Toros won the second half in the South Division last season, and made a strong run in the playoffs to reach the GBL Championship series before losing to Calgary 3-2.
“We realized we needed to win the second half, win the South Division and play for a championship and we didn’t expect to do that in our first year,” Smock said.
Toros looking to get hot
Tucson is again looking to create some noise in the second half.
After Maui won the South Division in the first half of the season, the Toros organization is looking to repeat the success of last season.
“We felt like this year we had a little bit better idea of what we needed to do,” Smock said. “Unfortunately, injuries have hampered us a little bit in the first half, but most of those guys are getting healthy and we’ve made some changes for the second half. We feel like we’ll be poised to make a run again.”
Tucson (1-1 in the second half) will have a tough schedule ahead of them with nine of their next 12 games on the road facing two of the GBL’s best teams.
They will open a six game trip with Maui starting tonight before returning home to face the St. George RoadRunners in a home-and-home three game series.