Greetings from Pittsburgh
That’s our colleague Pete McCarthy with a tour of FanFest, which is happening next door to my hotel here in Pittsburgh. We just had a huge fireworks show and am taking a Pasadena on the David Wright/A-Rod bash tonight because tomorrow’s a huge day from start to finish with player interview sessions and many other things right through the CENTURY 21 Home Run Derby. We’re going to stream a free and live video webcast of the Derby for the first time when it starts at 8 p.m. (my story here), and I personally can’t wait to see how many splashdowns there are in the Allegheny River beyond right field. Today while leaning against the third-base dugout during the World team’s BP session, I asked our Pirates correspondent Ed Eagle what he expected in the way of splashdowns. He said it would have to be roughly 455-465 feet in the air to clear the right-field stack and plop amongst the four huge Chevy baseballs that are anchored out in the river. In other words, you can COUNT on ’em. Ed said Barry did it frequently in BP in previous visits. I can see Ryan Howard splashing at least a few out there. When they get into their comfort zone off the BP pitcher and start swinging for the landmarks in these events, the place goes wild and the adrenaline kicks in as they feed off the crowd. So when you watch the HRD on MLB.com or on ESPN Monday night, expect to see some water activity. Lefty has the advantage here — but not nearly as much as last year at Detroit, where it seemed like a monster shot was needed for a right-handed pull hitter. In other words, I wouldn’t count out D-Wright…and of course never count out Tejada in this one. But Berkman is going to hit left for a good reason. Should be a blast, and it should be a wet one. Not because of rain (we hope), but because everyone’s waiting for the splashdowns, which are rare around here during the season.
You can find a lot more great video from our MLB.com crew here in Pittsburgh by going here.
If you haven’t checked out Daron Sutton’s latest post on The Dog Ate Daron’s Homework, his Q&A with Dusty Baker is good stuff. . . . Yankees Chick, just profiled here below as the latest Spheroid, poses a good question for her fellow Bomber bloggers.
Loudest ovation of the day (and it might hold up as the loudest of All-Star week): Franco Harris’ introduction during the Legends & Celebrities Softball Game. Beautiful standing ovation. Each time he swung and missed during the game, the on-field announcer would say, "Did I mention he won four Super Bowls?" Franco bunted and the applause continued. Man, do they love Franco and the Steelers here.
Favorite things about PNC Park:
– The best statues in professional sports, bar none. The first time you approach the Roberto Clemente and Willie Stargell statues, you are blown away. They are like Greek gods. The statues themselves are enormous and powerful. The detail is incredible, notably the cap you can see under the batting helmets of each late star. They’re just beautiful.
– The view not only from the third-base side looking out at the skyline, but also the view of the park when you are walking toward it from across the Roberto Clemente Bridge. It hasn’t been a fun year for Pirates fans in terms of the standings, but wow, every city should be so fortunate as to have this jewel.
The one thing that’s really missing the most: Francisco Liriano. Still wouldn’t be shocked if he shows up in a uniform somehow. I know of at least one selected AL pitcher who I don’t think is going to be available, a la Glavine…
Enjoy the All-Star action, folks.