Midsummer Classic features many new All-Stars

Photo by Jordan Megenhardt

By Greg Dillard

There’s nothing quite like your first All-Star Game.

The 2011 MLB All-Star Game featured a record 35 players who headed to their first Midsummer Classic. The previous mark was established last season when 33 first-timers were selected for the Anaheim game.

Of this year’s first time All-Stars, 19 were on the American League squad, while there were 16 representing the National League.

Being selected to an All-Star roster means much more than just playing in the actual All-Star Game. There are wide variety of pregame events ranging from the Home Run Derby, FanFest, media day and much more.

There was always something to do and a place to be for the players.

Among the first-time All-Stars was Blue Jays ace Ricky Romero. The southpaw is 7-8 this season with a 3.09 ERA in 18 starts. He’s posted back-to-back seasons of 13-or-more wins.

Throughout the week’s events, Romero just tried to keep up and enjoy everything that had come his way.

I’m just happy to be here and soaking it all in,” Romero said. “This is my first one, and I’m kind of walking around. I keep texting my PR guy. I keep texting Jose Bautista. I’m like ‘Where do we go? What do I do? Make sure you don’t leave me.’ I just don’t want to miss out on anything. It’s an exciting moment for me and for my whole family.”

Like many of his fellow All-Stars, Romero had family and his girlfriend in Phoenix to help celebrate and enjoy the festivities.

Atlanta pitcher Craig Kimbrel also partook in his first All-Star game. He was a late addition to the National League roster to replace the Giants’ Matt Cain. The right-hander has been lights out on the mound for the Braves this season, tallying an impressive 28 saves to go with a 2.35 ERA.

Although he was honored to be chosen, the Braves hurler had mixed feelings when he initially heard the news.

“It was bittersweet,” Kimbrel said. “I was honored to get the chance to come out here. But then I felt bad for my teammate, Tommy Hanson. I felt like he’s just as deserving to be here as anybody. I’d say I was happy and disappointed at the same time.”




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