Gil Meche has been to an All-Star Game before -- just not the Major League Baseball version.
07/09/2007 10:08 PM ET
Gil Meche is star struck
In 1998, Meche was selected to pitch in the Midwest League All-Star Game, but he knows that when he joins the rest of the American League All-Stars in the dugout on Tuesday night in San Francisco, it's going to be an experience he won't forget.
"I'm nervous a little bit just to see all the things that are going to happen," the Royals starter told MLB.com. "I mean, I'm going to have a blast, but I'm just trying to get as much out of it as I can."
Because he pitched on Saturday -- not Sunday -- there's a good chance that Meche will get in the game.
"I'd hate to go to the All-Star Game and not have at least a chance to pitch," he said. "I'll be off Sunday and Monday, and I'll be easily able to throw an inning on Tuesday. If not, no hard feelings, at least I got a chance to go and enjoy it. But, obviously, I'd like to go out and face some of these best hitters."
His parents, Fred and Linda Meche, are excited for him as well. They will make the trip from Lafayette, La., to watch.
"My parents are coming out with my dad's good buddy and his wife, and they're excited that they're going to be able to be there with me for this," Meche said.
Getting the invitation to the game was something that Meche and his father, who coached Gil as a kid, had been discussing of late.
"With my numbers, my dad said, 'You know, you could have a chance.' And I said, 'Yeah, I think I do. I kind of stack up with a lot of these guys in the league. And they have to pick somebody from each team. I've got a lot of innings, but I haven't won a lot of games, but they can't really hold that against me,'" Meche said.
"So he said, 'Yeah, I think you'll make it.' So a week later I called him up and said, 'Yeah, I'm going to go.' He said, 'I'm going to be there, so make sure you can get me four tickets.'"
Holliday's reputation grows: Matt Holliday is only in his fourth full season with the Colorado Rockies, yet he is quickly becoming the face of the franchise. The outfielder will make his second straight All-Star game appearance.
He leads the National League in batting average and ranks among the league leaders in RBIs and total bases. While maybe not a household name among baseball fans, those in the game know who Holliday, 27, is. In fact, no National League player received more votes from fellow players than Holliday.
"The first exposure to him is that every time you look on the scoreboard, he's among the league leaders in all categories," Yankees manager Joe Torre told Newsday. "Then you see him on TV. But you don't realize how big is he until he steps into that batter's box. Or, frankly, how good he is."
"The biggest thing that hurts him is that he plays in Colorado. They know him here, but I don't think the rest of the country has any idea how good he really is," New York Mets pitcher Tom Glavine said. "I think you are going to see the word spread more and more. Pretty soon he's going to be a guy that teams aren't going to let beat them."
While Holliday is quickly gaining attention in Colorado and around baseball, he isn't in a hurry to become the "official" face of the franchise.
"(First baseman) Todd (Helton) is the face of the franchise and as long as he's here, he should be. He deserves it and I don't necessarily want it," Holliday said. "Sooner or later all those questions about my future will have to be answered. Right now, I don't think there's any urgency from the team or on my part. I just want to play baseball."
Webb joins NL All-Stars: Reigning National League Cy Young Award winner Brandon Webb will be in San Francisco for the All-Star game Tuesday after all. Webb was named to the team Saturday, replacing injured Colorado reliever Brian Fuentes on the roster.
"I'm definitely excited about that," Webb told the Arizona Republic. "I had to cancel plans, but that's a good thing."
The players elected Fuentes to the team, and since Webb had the next highest number of votes of any pitcher not already on the team, he earned the spot. Webb had planned to take his family to San Diego along with reliever Brandon Lyon.
"Anyway you can get in, that's all that I care about," he said. "I'm in there and thankful to be there."
Webb is 8-6 with a 3.37 ERA and leads the NL with 131 innings pitched.
A-Rod won't let injury keep him from All-Star Game: Despite a strained left hamstring, New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez will start for the American League in Tuesday night's All-Star game in San Francisco. Rodriguez had considered sitting out but came to his decision Saturday.
"I'm going to play," he told Newsday. "Three-point-nine million votes, you feel like you have a responsibility to the fans."
Rodriguez missed only one game due to the hamstring injury, but it has been nagging him for much of the week. However, he did play all 13 innings of Saturday's game against the Angels and hit his 30th home run of the season Sunday.
"I'm grateful," he said. "I thank the good Lord for being able to play the game of baseball. I think the game is about the fans, and with that many votes, you feel a responsibility to go out and play."
Braun is fastest Brewer to 10 homers: Milwaukee rookie third baseman Ryan Braun set a club record Friday night with the second of his two home runs. However, it was a record hardly anyone knew about.
The home run was the 10th of the season at the time for Braun in only his 38th career game, meaning Braun reached the 10-home run plateau faster than anyone in club history. The previous record was 61 games, held by current Milwaukee television analyst Bill Schroeder.
"That's pretty cool, I guess," Braun told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "I actually didn't know that."
The record was so obscure, Schroeder himself didn't know he held it.
"It didn't even know that it existed," Schroeder said of the record. "It's one of those stats that's pretty obscure.
"It's actually pretty bad that I was the first to 10 with 61 games. Oddly enough, it took me 61 games and I ended up with 61 homers in the big leagues. There's something about 61."
Bedard too tough again: Baltimore Orioles pitcher Erik Bedard was magnificent on Saturday against the Texas Rangers, tossing a complete-game, two-hitter in the Orioles' 3-0 win.
Bedard, who faced the minimum of 27 batters and did not walk anyone, tied an Orioles record with 15 strikeouts -- including 10 of 12 hitters during one stretch. Now 7-4 on the year with an ERA of 3.40, Bedard impressed everyone that witnessed his 109-pitch effort -- an incredibly low pitch count considering he recorded 15 strikeouts.
"I haven't seen anything like that," interim manager Dave Trembley told the Baltimore Sun. "It was just strike one, one right after another. He just kept repeating. He didn't walk anybody. I don't know how many three-ball counts he had, maybe one. By the fifth inning, you obviously felt one [run] was going to be enough. That's all he needed.
"I don't know how anybody could ever criticize Erik Bedard if you know what Erik Bedard is all about," Trembley continued. "I just think he's underappreciated, if anything because a lot of people misread his aloofness as not caring. That's the furthest thing from the truth. The guy is not like that. This guy has a chance to rank right up there with all the great left-handed pitchers that the Orioles have run out there over the years."
After the game, Bedard was humble, as has become the norm. When asked if he could have pitched any better, Bedard said that he thinks it's possible that he could have.
"Uh, perfect game. No-hitter. I just battled out there," he said. "We won. That's the bottom line. If I throw a complete game, I throw a complete game. If I don't, I don't. Today we won, and that's all that counts."
Pitching coach Leo Mazzone was clearly impressed with what he witnessed.
"That's with some of the all-time great ones I've had the privilege of witnessing," said Mazzone. "Twenty seven up, 27 down. That's a two-hit perfect game."
Outfielder Jay Payton didn't get much action, but he enjoyed watching the hitters struggle against Bedard.
"One of the base hits came to me, but for the most part, I was useless out there in the outfield," he said. "It's a matter of trying to sit there and watch it. It's like, man, these guys don't have much of a chance. I don't care who was hitting tonight, it wouldn't have mattered much."
Deal done, Buehrle can relax: "Attention fans. We have important news to announce."
Those were the words of Chicago White Sox public address announcer Gene Honda prior to the game between the Chicago White Sox and Minnesota Twins in Chicago on Sunday, which were followed by the much-anticipated news that Mark Buehrle had signed an extension to keep him with the White Sox another four years.
"What a great day," White Sox designated hitter Jim Thome told MLB.com. "To get this, knowing that he's going to be here, it takes a lot of the load off everyone. What a happy day."
After the game, Buehrle was clearly excited that the contract was done.
"There were a lot of people who had to be involved in working to get this done," said Buehrle. "My agent [Jeff Berry], he works for me and listened to us. Me and my wife [Jamie] realized how much we wanted to stay here.
"Obviously, it came from the White Sox side, too. [General manager] Kenny [Williams], [chairman] Jerry [Reinsdorf], [assistant general manager] Rick [Hahn], all those guys. It takes two sides to get something done."
And the timing of it could not be better.
"Just to get it out there, and I can go home these three days and not worry about my phone ringing and saying I've been traded, or anything like that," said Buehrle. "It's a definite relief. I can go home and kind of relax these three days and get away from everything and forget about baseball for three days."
You can add teammate Jon Garland to those that are glad that Buehrle is staying.
"He deserves it," said Garland. "This was the place he needed to stay."
-- Red Line Editorial