Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Top High School Baseball Talent In The Country Will Be On Display At Dodger Stadium

This year's 2008 Aflac All-American High School Baseball Game will be played at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, the first time in the game's six-year history that it will be played at a Major League stadium.

The premiere high school All-American game in the country will take place Saturday, Aug. 9, in Dodger Stadium at noon Pacific time, and it will be televised live on FSN.

The annual Aflac All-American High School Baseball Game showcases 38 of the nation's top high school players in an East versus West matchup following their junior year. Aflac All-Americans are chosen by the experts at official selection partner, Perfect Game USA, and receive the benefit from the game's relationship with media partner Baseball America, baseball's most influential magazine.

Hall of Fame shortstop Ozzie Smith will return as this year's honorary chairman and, in addition to promoting the game, will be on-site in LosAngeles for game week activities. This is the second consecutive year that Smith has served as honorary chairman. Past honorary chairmen have included Hall of Famers Reggie Jackson (2006), Cal Ripken (2004-05) and Stan Musial(2003).

"I wish this game existed when I was in high school, as it's such a tremendous opportunity for these young men to show their skills in front of a nationwide audience and MLB scouts," said Smith. "Aflac does a tremendous job promoting this game and working hard to support pediatric cancer research, and I'm proud to be a part of it once again."

Since the game's inception in 2003, 52 Aflac All-Americans have been selected in the first round of the Major League Baseball first-year player draft, including current major leaguer Justin Upton (No. 1 overall, 2005) of the Arizona Diamondbacks. In the recently completed June 2008 draft, 10 AflacAll-Americans were selected in the first round, including the No. 1 pick overall, Tim Beckham (the 2007 game's MVP), by the Tampa Bay Rays. Also chosen in the first round were Aflac All-Americans Eric Hosmer (No. 3 overall to the Kansas City Royals), Buster Posey (No. 4 overall to the San Francisco Giants), Kyle Skipworth (No. 5 overall to the Florida Marlins) and Ethan Martin (No. 15 overall to the Los Angeles Dodgers). Overall, 143 of 192 Aflac All-Americans have been drafted by Major League teams.

As part of Aflac's ongoing commitment to the fight against childhood cancer, all game proceeds from the 2008 Aflac All-American High School Baseball Game will benefit ThinkCure, the official charity of the Dodgers, which supports critical cancer research at City of Hope and Childrens Hospital of Los Angeles. Since 2005, the game has generated nearly $525,000 for charity.

"Having the game at Dodger Stadium really raises the Aflac All-American Game to the next level," said Al Johnson, vice president, Marketing Services, Aflac. "This is a historic year for the Dodger organization as it celebratesits 50th anniversary in Los Angeles. We hope to help the organization make more history -- through its ThinkCure initiative -- by raising more funds in the fight against pediatric cancer."

The Aflac All-American High School Baseball Game is considered the country's marquee prep All-American event. All participants must have just completed their junior year of high school, be in good academic standing and display redeeming qualities off the field that embody the ideals of the sportof baseball, including discipline, determination and hard work.

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