Olt Gets Taste of "The Show"

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Major league baseball's All-Star Weekend was embraced with an overwhelming passion for the game over a five-day period in the metropolitan Kansas City area. Former Connecticut infielder Mike Olt, who played in the All-Star Futures Game on Sunday, said he felt that embrace personally during his visit.

"The atmosphere was something that really gave me goose bumps, playing in front of 40,000 fans," Olt said before returning to his Double-A Frisco RoughRiders team in the Texas League. "It was just a fun thing to be a part of."

Olt was selected by the Texas Rangers with the 49th overall pick in the 2010 draft. He was the first UConn player taken in the first round since Charles Nagy in 1988. He leads the Texas League with 22 home runs, has 63 RBI and is batting .292 through 78 games.

In the Futures Game, Olt started at third base but moved to first in the fifth inning and played the entire game. He was 1-for-5 at the plate, driving in a run with a double to the base of the centerfield wall in the sixth inning.

"It felt good to hit the ball off the barrel [of the bat]," Olt said of his hit that helped the US Futures defeat the World Futures 17-5.

The announced crowd of 40,095 was a record for the Futures Game, which began in 1999 in Boston when Alfonso Soriano of the Yankees was the MVP. Jose Reyes, Grady Sizemore, Aaron Hill, and Billy Butler are among the other past MVPs produced by the game.

In addition to the game, the Futures players were treated to time at the FanFest and batting practice at Kauffman Stadium. Hall of Famer George Brett, who played his entire career in Kansas City was manager of the US team.

The fact that Brett played third and first during his major league career with the Royals wasn't lost on Olt, who thought he would just play third and then be taken out of the game. He said he has played five or six games at first and was excited that Brett moved him across the infield, allowing him to play the entire game.

"He was awesome," Olt said of Brett. "He's a really cool guy. He taught us a lot.

"The whole experience definitely was a real eye opener. It was an All-Star game but it felt like you were in the big leagues basically. It was a pretty surreal experience."

Olt's former UConn teammate Matt Barnes was on the US roster as well. Barnes, one of the top pitching prospects in the Red Sox system, recorded the final two outs of the victory – on just two pitches.

UConn coach Jim Penders was proud of the fact UConn was the only school with two players in the Futures Game. Only the states of California (8) and Florida (3) were better represented that Connecticut in terms of players from the state in which they were drafted.

"I keep telling guys that Connecticut's got talent in baseball, but they still don't believe it," Olt said.

Olt said he isn't worried about when he will make his next move up in the Rangers system. He just wants to have a good second half of the season, but MLB.com ranks him the third best prospect in the Texas organization.

"I try not to think about all of that," Olt said.

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