Boston Prospects Learn Power of Red Sox Nation, Realize How Close They Are to Majors at Eastern League All-Star Game

Boston Prospects Learn Power of Red Sox Nation, Realize How Close They Are to Majors at Eastern League All-Star Game MANCHESTER, N.H. — For members of the Portland Sea Dogs, Wednesday's Eastern League All-Star game served as a reminder of how close many of them are to their dream of playing in the majors.

It also served as a reminder as to how just how passionate Red Sox Nation is.

Stephen Fife was overwhelmed by autograph seekers, as the big righty made rounds at Wednesday's Double-A Eastern League All-Star Game at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium. Just 50 miles north of Boston, a majority of the crowd was Red Sox fans, despite the host team, the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, being the Blue Jays' affiliate.

"It's crazy," Fife said. "It really goes to show you how large Red Sox Nation is. It extends all the way up to Portland [Maine], where they've supported us even through a rough season. This is great though seeing all the support here."

The venue served as a showcase to some of the league's top talent, many of whom may make the jump to the majors when MLB rosters expand to 40 men on Sept. 1.

None of the five Portland all-stars, though, are on the Red Sox' 40-man roster.

Center fielder Alex Hassan notched two hits, including a double down the left field line, and plated a run in the Eastern Division’s 8-3 loss to the West in front of 7,517 fans.

Will Middlebrooks continued playing well and showed why he is Boston’s top-rated Double-A prospect.

The third baseman went 1-for-2, but roped a double off Jeff Locke, a Conway, N.H., native.

"It was a pretty good atmosphere for a game," Middlebrooks said. "It felt nice and relieving to get a hit. Then again, it always feels good to get a hit."

New Hampshire's Moises Sierra won the home run derby after dueling fellow Fisher Cat Mike McDade. The festivities concluded with fireworks and an appearance by Team Ghost Riders.

Fife came on with one out in the ninth after teammate Alex Wilson surrendered four runs. The starter, who sports a 10-3 record, struck out both batters he faced.

"I was fortunate enough to be here last year," Fife said. "Then I watched a lot of those guys make their MLB debuts. It just goes to show you close we all here to making the jump to the next level."

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