I’m here at the Westin St. Francis, which is the hub for most of what’s going on this week at the All-Star Game. We had the press conference a little where they announced the starting pitcher and it’s Jake Peavy. Brad is fine with that, of course, but he was certainly deserving, too. It seems like Tony LaRussa also wanted Jake to experience the same things Brad did last year, which is fair. They’re both worthy of the honor.
There was also an hour-long media availability for all the other players here so our three guys got to talk to probably 500 media members in a giant room. Just picture a huge ballroom with tables around the outside of it and each player from the NL (32 of them) sitting at each table that’s perched up on a platform with media surrounding them. The two biggest media contingents for the NL were Barry Bonds (shocker!) and Takashi Saito (SHOCKER!). There is a ton of Japanese media here and many of them already cover Ichiro or Okajima, but never get to see Sammy. So today, since the AL and NL are separate, Saito must’ve had 50 reporters around him the entire time. Hard to imagine what that’s like when you usually only have about five or six following you around each day.
After the media availability, the players, families and schmoes like me were upstairs in a private area and Ichiro and Saito got a chance to catch up. I didn’t understand a word they were saying, but it was obvious when they ran into each other the mutual respect they show for one another, which is an incredible thing about the Japanese culture.
Russell also has a lot of media from his home country, Canada. It’s certainly not like Japan, but at least four TV stations and reporters from around the U.S. were catching up with him and Brad. This truly is a global game, that’s for sure.
On a sad note, one reporter actually had a seizure during all of this and while I don’t know him personally, I certainly hope he gets better quickly.
Now it’s off to the ballpark for NL batting practice and other types of media availability. It will be a little weird being in the Giants home clubhouse, which is the NL’s home for this week. It’s a lot bigger than the visitor’s clubhouse and the last time I was in there was the 2002 World Series when I covered the Giants for one season for MLB.com.
Be sure to catch the home run derby tonight and keep checking in at dodgers.com, as there will be plenty of stories that are specific to our players, including Chin-lung Hu, who won the MVP of the Future’s Game yesterday.