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The Upper Deck

Welcome to The Upper Deck, Baseball America’s daily look at the biggest stories around the game and some lighter fare. If you have videos, GIFs, photos or stories you want us to know about and feature in this space, hit me up on Twitter at @vincelara or email me here.


Low Class A Clinton video coordinator Tyler Collins had himself a heck of a Midwest League all-star game. Wait, that isn’t Collins who had two home runs? Nope, it was Brewers outfielder Monte Harrison wearing a swapped Collins jersey after a pitstop at first base during his earlier home run trot. Even crazier? He batted out of order. If that’s not all-star worthy, I don’t know what is.

Kids in a Candy Store

Finn and Payton O’Sullivan are always hanging out with the Florida baseball team. Know why? Their dad, Kevin, is the head coach in Gainesville and the two never fail to evoke a smile from each player. For the O’Sullivans and UF, it’s the perfect relationship. Finn and Payton get to be around the team and enjoy college baseball around the clock. Whereas Gators teammates are able to have fun and take their mind away from the field when they need it most.

Hand-Shake Off

It’s all Florida today as the Gators continue to do weird and wonderful things. This time, it’s No. 35 Andrew Baker leading the way, handing out some complex dugout handshakes pre-game. As the video goes on, No. 27 Nelson Maldonado gets into it with his own synced-up dance. No. 22 JJ Schwarz gets in on the action with a pumped-up “handshake” with Baker. Then we’ve finally got No. 8 Deacon Liput singing it out to Baker’s snaps.

But wait, there’s more! Louisville responds with its own handshake between No. 2 Tyler Fitzgerald and No. 16 Justin Lavey. So who did it better? Gators or Cardinals?

Double Decker

Kennys Vargas launched a ball Tuesday night, sending it zooming into the second tier of Target Field in Minneapolis. The home run pushed the Twins ahead of the White Sox in the third inning before Jason Castro added some more damage. To think, two weeks ago Vargas was just hitting bombs in Triple-A Rochester. Hopefully this 483-foot blast buys him extra time in the bigs.

Happenings at Baseball America

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“Big Game Howie” helped TCU elminate Texas A&M in the loser’s bracket of the CWS Tuesday. Read up on how he got the nickname, from Michael Lananna. Pitching is the name of the game and the PG National tournament had it in spades, so make sure to check out Hudson Belinsky’s names who stood out. The USA Collegiate National Team starts play on Thursday so start memorizing that stacked roster. Home Run Derby recaps are up as well—four of them to be exact: Cal League, Midwest League, Southern League, and Carolina League.

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