Reps for Rays, O's win Ball Crew vote for trip to All-Star Game

July 10th, 2024

We have two new additions to this year’s All-Star Game: Braden Coles of the Rays and Tyler Smith of the Orioles.

You won’t find them on either team’s roster, but you will find them at Globe Life Field in Arlington as part of the game’s ball crew. Coles and Smith were announced Wednesday morning as the winners of the fan vote to send two ballboys to the Midsummer Classic.

"This is going to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I'm just super excited about it," Coles said on MLB Network. "Very thankful for everyone who voted for me."

Said Smith: "I just kind of keep pinching myself. It’s pretty unbelievable."

Both Coles and Smith earned their spots by making fantastic plays as ballboys earlier this season. Coles, who played shortstop at high school in Illinois, stopped a sharp, two-hop foul off the bat of the Blue Jays’ George Springer with an all-out dive to his right at Tropicana Field on March 30.

"I've grown up playing baseball my whole my whole life," Coles said. "I've been able to make a couple of nice plays this year, so it's been really cool."

Smith had to contend with the tarp down the right-field line at Camden Yards in a game against the Angels on March 31, but that didn’t stop him from making a nifty pick on Brandon Drury’s foul liner that skipped off the tarp.

Smith said he and his younger brother, Austen, who has also served as an Orioles ballboy, have talked often about dealing with the tarp when a ball heads their way.

"It's tough," Smith said. "[Austen] thinks my eyes were closed. I'm going to stick to [saying] that was skill. You've got to just make a read on it and hopefully make the play."

Besides being on the field for the All-Star Game, Coles and Smith will also take part in All-Star events such as the Red Carpet Show and the MLB Draft.