Until the Colorado Rockies hit the scene three decades ago, the Atlanta Braves, believe it or not, had been Major League Baseball’s highest-elevated club – playing home games at roughly 1,050 feet above sea level – for nearly, well, three decades since relocating from Milwaukee in 1966.
In a week-and-a-half, Montezuma-Cortez’s Miles Frost will get to show folks in Cobb County, Georgia, how things are done at 6,100-plus.
With the National League’s East Division leaders scheduled to be on the road June 23-25 for a three-game set at Cincinnati, the senior pitcher/first baseman and 49 other selected standouts will take over Truist Park those same calendar days to participate in the second annual Native American All-Star Baseball Showcase.
“When I first got told, I was pretty excited,” Frost said via phone Monday morning. “It’s just a big accomplishment, and I’m glad I get to represent my culture and my town, you know?”
According to a MLB news release, the gathering highlights Native American high school baseball players who aspire to play the game at the next level, with both college and pro scouts slated to attend and watch the honored athletes go through a prostyle workout on the 24th, then compete on the 25th in an actual game – with 25 players, including at least 10 pitchers and two catchers, per team – on big-league ground.
The Saturday skills session will be conducted by the Marquis Grissom Baseball Association and will focus on defensive work, fielding, throwing, and catcher pop times. Four to six players will be selected during that day’s batting practice to participate in a slugfest later that afternoon.
Recognized for striking hitters out during M-CHS’ outstanding 2023 campaign, which saw the Panthers finish 22-6 overall after reaching the CHSAA Class 3A State Tournament’s ‘Great Eight’ phase, Frost admitted the chance to drill dingers at the modern-day version of the Hank Aaron-famed “Launching Pad” definitely has highlight-reel appeal.
“Kind of really looking forward to the offensive side this time,” he said. “I know they’re having a home run derby while I’m there; that’d be pretty fun to do.”
“But second,” he continued, his voice shifting in sound to the serious, “it’ll be good to get instruction and work out stuff with MLB players, people that know about … that level. It’s just really exciting and I’m glad I get to go … on this trip.”
Former MLB players Grissom, Marvin Freeman, Johnny Estrada and Lou Collier will coach at the event. Freeman’s 2.80 earned-run average during the strike-shortened 1994 season was third-best in the National League, ranked fourth overall (Atlanta ace Greg Maddux led with a career-best 1.56) and still stands as the Rockies’ record, albeit not for a full 162-game campaign.
“It’s coming up pretty quick,” said Frost, whose heritage is Southern Ute and Navajo, “and what I’ve just been doing is … a lot of fielding, hitting, and just working out by myself – keeping in shape to be ready to go there and show out.”
The inaugural Showcase, hosted by the Braves in partnership with the 7G Foundation, occurred last July with more than 35 tribal affiliations venturing from 13 states as well as Canada. Three players were selected from New Mexico – Albuquerque West Mesa’s Elijah Juanico, Santa Fe’s Gabriel Lomayestewa and Santa Fe Indian’s Kyle Suina. Four were selected from from Arizona – Winslow’s Touron Dick, Gilbert Highland’s Caden Royer, Queen Creek Benjamin Franklin’s Dante Turgeon, and Zylen Silas-Antone, who actually attended Sherman Indian in Riverside, California,
None, however, hailed from the immediate Four Corners region, giving Frost a unique add to his diamond résumé.
“I didn’t know that,” he said. “I’m glad to represent the Panthers team, represent myself … and just play ball! I’ve definitely talked to my coaches and … players on my team, and everyone’s excited for me; they’ve all showed love and support and I really appreciate them all.”
To help lessen costs needed for Frost to travel, a Navajo Taco fundraiser will be held Friday, June 16, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The cost is $10 per, and advance orders should be made by either calling or texting Tara at 970-739-5015. Pickup on the 16th will be at 427 S. Park Drive, and in-town delivery will even be available for orders of two or more tacos.