The Norman Transcript

National Sports

July 16, 2013

Boys of summer

NEW YORK — 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.

“These guys are coming up now with incredible talent, these young players,” National League manager Bruce Bochy said Monday at Citi Field, where the New York Mets are hosting the All-Star game for the first time since Shea Stadium opened in 1964. “I think they are just getting better, faster, bigger, stronger still, and it’s impressive to watch.”

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 start Tuesday night 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 put up unprecedented numbers and turn 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 move merchandise.

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