Preds connections were front and center at last night’s Major League Baseball All-Star Game, playing a starring role from the first inning through to the game’s final play.
National League starting pitcher Ben Sheets of the Milwaukee Brewers is a part-owner of the Predators AHL affiliate, the Milwaukee Admirals. Making his first All-Star Game start, Sheets pitched two scoreless innings with three strikeouts.
“We are very proud of Ben’s performance during last night’s all-star game,” said Admirals principal owner Harris Turer, who also owns a part of the Brewers. “Ben’s involvement in the Admirals ownership has been one of the many ways that he has remained active in the Milwaukee community. Ben, along with (Brewers principal owner) Mark Attanasio and (Brewers Assistant GM) Gord Ash, are key members of our investors group, joining other local Milwaukee business leaders who have helped to solidify the Admirals place in the Milwaukee sports and entertainment market.”
But Sheets was not the only MLB All-Star with Preds ties. In fact, if Preds Associate Coach Brent Peterson had his way a decade ago, one MLB star would have turned in the bat and glove for a stick and puck.
Minnesota Twins first baseman Justin Morneau, from New Westminster, British Columbia, was a talented two-sport athlete growing up. As a 16-year old Morneau attended training camp for the WHL’s Portland Winter Hawks coached by Peterson. Peterson felt Morneau had a promising hockey career and tried to recruit the young goaltender to the Winter Hawks.
“He came to our camp. He would have made our team; he was an excellent goalie,” Peterson said. “I’m sure he would have been a top goalie in the Western League. I think he would have made it in either sport.”
High praise considering that year’s Portland squad went on to win the WHL’s regular season and playoff titles and then topped the campaign off with the Memorial Cup title.
Fast-forward a little over a decade and Morneau – the former goaltender who spurned Peterson’s recruiting efforts back in the fall of ’97 – scored the game-winning run in the 2008 MLB All-Star game, a day after winning the All-Star Home Run Derby. The 2006 AL MVP went 2-for-4 with a walk and two runs in last night’s game, scoring the game-tying run in the eighth inning and then sliding across the plate for the winning run off Michael Young’s 15th inning sacrifice fly.