Michael Bourn is looking forward to playing in his first All-Star Game. But what the Houston center fielder is anticipating most is sharing the field with childhood friend Carl Crawford.
07/07/2010 3:36 PM ET
Bourn anxious to join Crawford
Childhood friends go from Little League to All-Star Game
"To be on the same Little League team and then become All-Stars in the big leagues doesn't happen too much," Bourn told the Houston Chronicle.
Although Bourn and Crawford went to different high schools in Houston -- Bourn to Nimitz and Crawford to Davis --- they were childhood friends and have remained close over the years.
"It's going to be special because we were on the same Little League team, and he's somebody that I've seen play before I was coming up," Bourn said.
LaRoche always willing to lend a hand to kids: Andy LaRoche enjoys spending time with physically and developmentally disabled children.
Last week, LaRoche hosted several children with Down syndrome and their families in the Pirates' dugout. He also spends time at Miracle Field in Cranberry Township, helping handicapped children enjoy and learn the game.
"I tell Melissa [Brozeski, of the team's community and public affairs department], bring in as many as you can bring in, as often as you can, because I enjoy them," LaRoche told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "I enjoy it as much as the kids do."
Yadier Molina appreciative of NL starting spot: Yadier Molina says getting voted to the NL All-Star team makes him feel appreciated.
"Every time you think that people want to see you play, that makes you feel good," Molina told the St. Louis Globe-Democrat. "That's the way I look at it. It makes me feel good. My family is proud of me. That's important. They voted for me. There had to be a reason for it. I'm glad they did because I'm hungry to play, and I hope we can win the game, too."
Byrd took winding road to All-Star nod: Being selected to play in the All-Star Game is always an honor, but being selected by his peers was a particularly special feeling for Marlon Byrd.
"Being voted in by your peers, there's no better way," Byrd told the Chicago Tribune. "It's been a long road for me, from a guy up and down in the Minor Leagues, coming in and doing well, and then back and forth in the Minors and then to finally solidify yourself and be in this position is wonderful."
Chris Young completes turnaround with All-Star bid: Chris Young's turnaround season got better on Sunday when he learned he was named to the NL All-Star team. Young, who was hitting only .196 with six homers and 25 RBIs at this point last season, is hitting .264 with 15 home runs and 57 RBIs to go along with 14 stolen bases.
"It's a funny game," teammate Justin Upton, a close friend of Young's, told the Arizona Republic. "Everybody in Arizona wanted to write him off last year. But being beside him every day and knowing how hard he works, this makes me feel good, too. Because I know what it's like to be in that situation. Early last year everybody wanted to send me to Triple-A, and then I ended up making the All-Star team. I love when things that like that happen."
Adrian Gonzalez back for third straight All-Star Game: For the third consecutive season, Adrian Gonzalez is headed to the All-Star Game. The slugging left-hander is hitting .295 with 16 home runs and 51 RBIs to pace the Padres. Gonzalez, also a two-time Gold Glove winner, was voted onto the team by the players, coaches and managers in the NL.
"I told him that it's one thing to be recognized nationally through a fan ballot, and that's a great honor. But I think equally, if not more important, is how your peers perceive you," Padres manager Bud Black told MLB.com. "I'm very happy for Gonzo, and deservedly so. He is an All-Star. He's proven it at the plate and he's proven it in the field, and I'm glad that was recognized again by the guys in the league."
Reyes finds satisfaction with All-Star selection: Jose Reyes will be headed to the All-Star Game in place of the injured Troy Tulowitzki. For Reyes, the trip to Anaheim means a lot after missing most of last season with a variety of injuries.
"All the things I've been through the past year and a half, and now I'm selected to the All-Star Game one more time, that's huge for me," Reyes told the New York Daily News. "That's a big step for me, so I really appreciate that. I'm going to enjoy it."
Wainwright didn't get caught up in the hype: Even with 12 wins on the season, Adam Wainwright never assumed what was obvious to just about everyone -- he will be going to the All-Star Game.
"It's a pretty big deal," Wainwright told MLB.com. "I didn't get my hopes up about it. Guys kept asking me what were my thoughts on the All-Star Game. And I kept telling them, 'I'm not getting my hopes up,' because I've seen how tough it is to make it. Kyle Lohse was 11-2 a couple years ago and didn't make it, and I think I was 10-4 last year [actually 10-5] and didn't make it. I thought I might make it, but I really tried not to think about it. I didn't want to get my hopes up. But to be voted in by my peers is really special."
Votto still in the hunt thanks to Final Vote: There could be a four-day vacation, or there could be a trip to the All-Star Game ahead. Thanks to the Final Vote, Joey Votto still has a chance for a trip to Anaheim.
"If I get picked, that would be great," Votto told MLB.com. "I would appreciate the opportunity to play in an All-Star Game. If I don't, four days [off] in the middle of summer wouldn't be bad."
Bautista, Wells, Buck heading to All-Star Game: Jose Bautista, Vernon Wells and John Buck will represent the Blue Jays at the All-Star Game. While this will be Wells' third time as an All-Star, Buck and Bautista are first-time selections. Wells currently ranks fourth in the AL with 19 home runs, trailing league-leader Bautista, who has 21. Despite leading the league in homers, Bautista is not sure if he will participate in the Home Run Derby.
"It will be a lot of pressure on you. It's a big stage," he told the Toronto Star. "Plus, I'm not really a home run hitter during batting practice. I hit more line drives than anything."
Buck, who never hit better than .247 or hit more than 18 home runs in his career, is hitting .271 with 13 homers to lead all Major League catchers and has 40 RBIs. The only bad news to being named to the All-Star team for Buck is that he had to cancel a trip to Niagara Falls with his wife.
"Hopefully, she forgives me," he said.
Swisher campaigning for final spot: Nick Swisher is known for his outgoing personality. That is why it comes as no surprise that he is doing all he can to get himself onto the AL All-Star team in the Final Vote by using his Twitter account.
"I think Swish is probably the perfect guy for campaigning for himself," manager Joe Girardi told the New York Daily News. "Swish has a personality that loves to have fun and is not afraid to do anything on a video board, no matter what they ask him to do."
Pettitte earns first All-Star spot since 2001: Andy Pettitte will be headed to the All-Star Game after being named as a replacement for Clay Buchholz, who was placed on the disabled list. Buchholz was named to the team by the players, coaches and managers, and Pettitte was right behind Buchholz in the voting, meaning he was the automatic replacement.
"My kids are excited and looking forward to it," Pettitte, who will be making his third All-Star appearance and first since 2001, told the New York Post.
Hamilton joins four teammates on AL team: Josh Hamilton and Vladimir Guerrero will be starters for the AL in the All-Star Game and will be joined by teammates Neftali Feliz, Elvis Andrus and Ian Kinsler.
"It's always exciting and always an honor to be voted in, especially by the fans," Hamilton told MLB.com. "It's nice to know your hard work has paid off. I love spending time with fans and making them feel special when I can."
Andrus and Feliz will be making their first All-Star appearance.
"We got like the whole team going, man. It's pretty exciting," Hamilton said. "It says a lot about the organization. It says a lot about the team. And it's not just one or two guys, we've got a lot of guys playing good baseball."
Stanton gets meeting with Winfield: Dave Winfield was drafted in three sports but chose baseball. He ended up with 3,110 hits and 465 home runs in his career. Now an executive with the San Diego Padres and an analyst with ESPN, Winfield made it a point to meet Mike Stanton, the Marlins' outfielder who some have compared to the Hall of Famer.
"I have local friends who know him really well, and they told me a couple of years ago, 'Man, Mike reminds me so much of you,'" Winfield told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
"I just wanted to know what was in his mind right now as a 20-year-old, a few weeks in the big leagues, some ups, some downs," Winfield said. "I won't share that with you. It was nothing profound, but I think he'll be around a long time if he stays healthy and humble and works hard. I know we'll talk many times in the future. I just wanted to meet him."
Healthy Bernadina making strides: Roger Bernadina is trying to make up for lost time. Last year the Nationals' outfielder was called up to the Majors and promptly broke his ankle and missed the remainder of the season. Healthy again, Bernadina opened 2010 in the Minors but has worked his way back to the Majors and is now the team's starting right fielder.
"He's about a season behind his developmental curve because he's missed so much time, but he's a little bit ahead of schedule in my mind of where we think he should be," general manager Mike Rizzo told the The Washington Post.
-- Red Line Editorial