07/13/2003 10:13 PM ET
Sizemore sizes up his experience
Indians prospect earns Futures Game MVP honors
Sizemore's homer: 56k | 300k
By Barry M. Bloom / MLB.com
2003 RadioShack All-Star Sunday
Minor Leagues and Prospects at MLB.com
CHICAGO -- For Grady Sizemore, it was his first visit to Chicago, his first game in a big-league stadium and the first of two All-Star Games in four days.
What's more, he took home the Larry Doby Award as the Most Valuable Player in Sunday's
RadioShack All-Star Futures Game, which ended with the U.S. defeating the World team, 3-2, in a seven-inning affair at U.S. Cellular Field. Sizemore, a product of the Cleveland Indians organization, went 2-for-3 with a homer and two runs batted in.
After an RBI single that tied the game in the first inning, Sizemore led off the third by pulling his homer over the right-field fence off Expos prospect Seung Song. The weekend's experience further punctuated the 21-year-old's decision to choose a baseball career out of high school rather than play college football.
"In the end, anyway, I love baseball more, that's what I wanted to do," Sizemore said. "Football is a great sport. I love playing it. But it's nothing like baseball."
Sizemore, who plays for the Double-A Akron Aeros, said he plans to fly from here on Monday to New Britain, Conn., where he is scheduled to participate in Wednesday's Eastern League All-Star Game. Sizemore was voted by the fans to start in the outfield for the Southern Division after batting .292 with 16 homers and 54 RBIs in 90 games for Akron.
Sunday, he started in left field for the U.S., taking in the ambience of what could be a Major League life a year or two from now. Sizemore played in front of a sellout crowd of 42,983 at the well-known big-league address of 35th and Shields. New Britain Stadium, where he will perform on
Wednesday, has a seating capacity of 6,146.
"This was a pretty good experience for me," he said. "I'm just excited to be here. I was looking to have fun and play some baseball and take it all in. I turned out to have a good game. It's just a great feeling. It's being inside of what it might be like for me eventually in the big leagues. I'm just enjoying it while I can."
The Expos signed Sizemore to a $2 million bonus in 2000, luring him away from a football scholarship to the University of Washington -- where he was projected to be a quarterback -- and then traded him to Cleveland last summer in the six-player deal that sent pitcher Bartolo Colon to
Sizemore, a native of Everett, Wash., just outside of Seattle, grew up a Mariners fan and figured that
ultimately he would lead a life in baseball. But he didn't go to Spring Training this past March with
the Indians and hasn't been given any timetable regarding his ascent to the Major Leagues.
"I don't know what they have in store for me," Sizemore said. "I don't really think about it too much. Obviously, I want to get there as quickly as possible, but I just want to play wherever I'm at."
Sizemore figures he didn't hurt himself on Sunday. His single in the first off World starter Rich Harden knotted the score, 1-1. Two innings later, he went deep off Song, a right-hander in the Expos organization as it turns out.
"I don't think there's any irony about that, I just happened to hit the ball hard somewhere and I hit it
off of an Expos pitcher," said Sizemore, who added that he wasn't trying to hit one out on a national stage and on national television. "I was just looking for something out over the plate that I could
drive. I never really try to hit a home run any time I play baseball. I just try to hit a hard line drive or hard ground ball."
The homer, the hardware and the weekend amounted to what Sizemore said is his career highlight.
"I don't think it can get any better than this," he said. "So far."
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.