In his role as St. Louis Cardinals manager, Mike Matheny is more than happy to promote an event he helped create -- the PNC Bank High School Baseball Showcase.
The event sends some of the top senior players in the metro-east against their counterparts from the St. Louis region in a 7 p.m. game June 12 at Busch Stadium.
"As a parent, it's very rewarding and that was kind of the idea as we spoke with PNC (Bank) and tried to figure out a way to make this happen was to reward the parents as well," said Matheny, whose son, Missouri State University sophomore standout Tate Matheny, played in the showcase two years ago. "The parents have really invested so much into these kids and to be able to see their kids with an opportunity to play on a big league field it makes your heart stop a little."
The fifth annual showcase game is free and open to the public. KMOX Radio has come on board as a new sponsor this season, joining PNC Bank.
Matheny said that while the players are thrilled to be playing on the same Busch Stadium field and occupying the same dugouts as the Cardinals and their opponents, they're not the only ones realizing a dream.
The parents get a big kick out of it, too.
"Once they see their kids out there, they hear their names announced and watch them play on the field ... I've heard from a number of parents how special that was for them, and for me," Matheny said. "I wasn't here to actually watch my own son play, but I got see the home run derby and all that and realized it was something that just doesn't happen all the time."
Along with the game, players and their parents will be treated to an all-star luncheon earlier in the day at the new Ballpark Village.
There will be a home run derby, speed challenge and throwing accuracy drill for the players before the game, followed by the all-star showcase.
"I remember the first time I was on a big league field for a tryout," said Matheny, who grew up in Columbus, Ohio and later played for the University of Michigan. "My dad still talked about that, even though their was nobody in the stands -- just a couple parents and some scouts watching a tryout -- what it meant to see us out on the field we grew up watching our favorite players play on.
"I think the same thing goes for the opportunity that the Cardinals and PNC have been able to give these kids and their parents."
During a press conference Tuesday at Busch Stadium, former Cardinals pitchers Danny Cox and Alan Benes were announced as the 2014 all-star managers.
Cox will manage the Illinois squad and Benes, who managed Illinois last year, will switch dugouts and serve as the skipper for Missouri.
(colleges in parentheses)
Pitchers: Tanner Houck, Collinsville (Missouri); Ryan Netemeyer, Mascoutah (SIU Carbondale); Zach Neff, Gibault (Austin Peay); Nick Yung, Freeburg (McKendree); Blake Deatherage, O'Fallon (McKendree); Parker Beine, Belleville West (Jefferson); Alex Meyers, Edwardsville (Concordia); Josh Fleming, Columbia (Webster); Keegan Anderson, Nashville (Kaskaskia).
Catchers: Chad Spanberger, Granite City (Arkansas); Jordan Harre, Nashville (Rend Lake).
First Base: Matt Hilmes, Carlyle (Quincy); Collin Renth, Mascoutah.
Second Base: Collin Holton, O'Fallon (Southwestern Illinois); Luke Frazier, Althoff.
Shortstop: Wes Degener, Gibault (Lindenwood-St. Charles); Kevin Horner, Belleville East.
Third Base: Nelson Martz, Roxana; Alex Oltmann, Mascoutah.
Outfield: Michael Klein, Wesclin (SIU Carbondale); Joe Duncan, Highland (Eastern Illinois); Jeff Hahs, O'Fallon (John A. Logan); Austin Werner, Edwardsville (Kaskaskia); Collin McClellan, Althoff; Matt Mersinger, Triad (Kaskaskia).
Coaches: Jason Portz, O'Fallon; Don Eddy, Mascoutah; Mike Waldo, Edwardsville
Pitchers: Jake Hemphill, Vianney; Glennon McCreary, CBC; Jordan Smith, Westminster; Brenden Schaefer, Pattonville; Anthony Herron, Affton; Shane Strom, Timberland; Lucas Swindle, Lutheran St. Charles; Brandon Downey, Lutheran South; Tom Kalish, DeSmet.
Catchers: Nic Perkins, Francis Howell; Brett Bond, Westminster.
First Base: Carter Hanford, Pattonville; Bobby Marco, Timberland.
Second Base: Harry Markotay, Hillsboro; John Ceriotti, St. Louis U. High.
Shortstop: Caleb Hicks, Westminster; Keith Grieshaber, Marquette.
Third Base: Jake Burger, CBC; Mat Jones, Vianney.
Outfield: Nick Allgeyer, Vianney; Eli Dilday, Francis Howell; Danny Biggs, Fort Zumwalt West; Kyle Stevens, Timberland; Luke Robinson, St. Louis U. High; Collin Einertson, Westminster; Matt Scheibel, Marquette; Michael Schwarze, Chaminade.