The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Sports

July 15, 2013

Boys of summer: Young phenoms hit All-Star game

NEW YORK (AP) — Flip on any highlight show and you're almost sure to see them, with those peach-fuzz faces and boyish features beneath their big league caps.

Mike Trout makes a diving catch on the warning track.

Manny Machado whacks another double into the corner at Camden Yards.

Bryce Harper belts a tape-measure home run or barrels into a catcher ... or an outfield fence ... or whatever stands in his way.

The next generation of baseball stars has arrived — straight from the senior prom, it seems — and these guys are changing the complexion of the grand ol' game.

Derek Jeter is 39 and injured, left off the All-Star team for the first time in eight years.

Matt Harvey is 24 and merciless, with a polished array of breaking pitches to complement 98 mph heat.

"There's definitely a different breed of ballplayer coming out," Minnesota Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "This seems to be one of those cycles where a lot of young players are flashing quick."

No kidding.

Trout and Harper, the Rookies of the Year last season, are making their second trip to the All-Star game. This time, they will be starting Tuesday night at Citi Field after getting elected by fans with a fervor for the new boys of summer.

Some of baseball's best players are among the youngest on the field. Night after night, they are putting up unprecedented numbers and turning in spectacular plays that belie a birth certificate from the 1990s.

"It's good for the game," Trout said. "A lot of young guys are playing fearless and making a name for themselves at an early stage in their career."

Not only that, they are moving merchandise.

Jersey sales for Harvey, Harper and Trout rank among the top 10 this season based on purchases of Majestic tops at MLB.com, said Major League Baseball and the players' association last week.

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