All-Star Monday Liveblog
10 am — Went jogging along the Allegheny.
10:01 am — Not really.
Noon — Met with Joe Buck before his media conference at the Westin to talk about Lung Cancer. Joe is serving as a spokesman for the Lung Cancer Alliance because the disease claimed his beloved and legendary father Jack four years ago. Lung cancer is America’s No. 1 cancer killer, claiming more than 163,000 people this year — over four times the number who will fill the seats here at PNC tonight. Mainly Joe and I were talking about broadcasting this game for FOX, which I will be writing about on MLB.com today. But I wanted to provide the link here for the LCA as a favor to Joe.
12:15 — Rode down elevator with tomorrow night’s AL starter, Kenny Rogers, and kids on the elevator were petting the two puppies he was holding, one in each hand, some rare breed of cocker spaniel. Conquistador something. They were two-toned, fawn and white. They looked exactly like the golden baseballs that will be used here in the Home Run Derby tonight when each slugger is down to his final out in each round. More on that later.
12:20 — Player availability sessions. It looked like a Mets conference when I walked in, with Mets all along one side of the room. Beltran. Glavine. Reyes. Wright. Swarms around them. Reyes is now replaced on the roster by David Eckstein of the Cards, with Edgar Renteria taking the starting spot. Was there to talk to Cardinals players. No Cardinals players. Empty tables. Cards played late last night, but the Astros made it. No Pujols/Rolen/Carpenter here. HOT THEME OF THE DAY: Why the AL is so much better than the NL. Said hi to our MLBlogger Tommy Lasorda, who proceeded to answer a lot of reporters’ questions about what life was like when HOT THEME OF THE DAY was why the NL is so much better than the AL.
1:30 — Authentic Pittsburgh food for lunch on Liberty Avenue with two MLB.com colleagues, but I can’t remember what we ate except it was spicy. Hot Capocollo with Authentic Pittsburgh Sauce I think. Already did the Pierogies (sp) thing. Walked across Roberto Clemente Bridge. I said there were four giant Chevy baseballs in the river for home run splashdowns; make that five. I missed one. There are huge stars in the windows of local businesses…that’s the theme this year. My favorite was the Giant Bobbleheads that were placed throughout Chicago for the 2003 ASG hosted by the White Sox. It was Giant Cowboy Boots in 2004 at Houston. Can’t remember what it was last year in Detroit.
1:40 — Still no Francisco Liriano.
1:50 — First person in the media workroom at PNC. Time to work, more later.
3:29 — I called it. Liriano is an AL All-Star, taking the place of Jose Contreras — the AL pitcher who is unavailable to pitch that I mentioned in last night’s post. Ozzie Guillen had said he didn’t plan to use Jose…that one made sense. This is the best news of the week here so far. It was hard to imagine Liriano not being part of this. Now he is. I love this game.
3:31 — Just talked to Pirates groundskeeper. There’s a big red
blog blob tracking north of here on the radar. It’s going to rain hard. Hopefully it will be well before 8 pm, though.
3:47 — T.R. Sullivan, my esteemed MLB.com colleague who covers the Texas Rangers, is sitting on one side of me and my colleague Scott Merkin, who covers the White Sox for us, is on my other. Please check out T.R.’s latest post on his Postcards from Elysian Fields MLBlog and leave him some comment love, as he has some general questions there. I’m marketing my man T.R. here. Let’s see if we can get him from 0 to 100 comments by the end of the day and he’ll owe me one. 🙂
5:12 — Cards press conference is at 6:45, and now they’re up to four people with Eckstein added. Trivia question before I head out to the field: Alfonso Soriano will join which three players as the only Major Leaguers ever to start second base and the outfield in an All-Star Game?
9:51 — Highlight so far tonight from here in right field was D-Wright’s first round. Spectacular electricity in the crowd. Then Papi sent them into delirium. Nothing can compare to the CENTURY 21 Home Run Derby. Everyone’s having a blast. The scene on the Allegheny is incredible. Powerboats are required to stay on the outer half of the river while the yellow kayakers battle it out for Papi/Howard longballs. D-Wright just benefited from the Abreu Rule. Only needed a couple, he’s almost surely good for advancing.
1:29 a.m. — Shuttle back from PNC, think I was last one out. Full and incredible day, and it was just a warmup for Tuesday. Fun to see Ryan Howard at the dais in his victory press conference. After I’d done my interviews with him and Century 21 exec for story now on mlb.com, I chatted with Ryan and his Mom in the hallway outside his clubhouse. Here’s why this was a magical day personally. It began in the morning when I looked on the St. Louis Post-Dispatch website and found out my son was just named All-State baseball in Missouri. It ended at night when a player from my son’s alma mater won the Home Run Derby. Ryan said he was happy to hear about Matt and remember his name, as they had met before because the school is a pro assembly line and I guess the alumni stay close. His Mom could appreciate it; her son was All-State in Missouri, too. Anyway, I’ve blogged about my dude before…it just made the day especially interesting on one level. Howard holds that school’s single-season home run record with eight; he got that many in the first round.
Night from da burgh.