Hunter Pence, All-Star.
Hunter Pence received more than a few hugs and handshakes from his teammates as word filtered through the clubhouse Sunday morning that the Astros star outfielder had just been named to his first All-Star team.
Pence played it cool as he talked to reporters about the selection, saying it was a huge honor while pointing out that there were a lot of players also deserving of the recognition.
But Pence, who along with Miguel Tejada will represent the Astros in St. Louis, can only mask his unbridled enthusiasm for so long. As we boarded the plane Sunday, Jim Deshaies congratulated Pence again, and asked how Pence had reacted to the news. Pence said, “This has been the best day of my life. I can’t even explain it.” He went on to say how exciting it was to call his family members and tell them first, and that he had no plans for the All-Star break other than to just “chill, relax.”
Pence seems truly overwhelmed by the All-Star nod, which he was not at all expecting. It’s refreshing to see someone with so much appreciation for the game of baseball, and so humbled by the All-Star selection.
Hopefully Pence isn’t looking to chill or relax when he gets to St. Louis, because almost every minute of his day will be occupied. He’s going to have an absolute blast.
Moving on to another former All-Star — three-timer Roy Oswalt. He hasn’t had the greatest year but he’s been as dependable as any pitcher in the league lately. Including his eight-inning, three-hit performance against the Giants Sunday — not a “must-win” by any stretch but still a “much-needed win” — Oswalt has had three extremely effecxtive outings, allowing three runs over a combined 23 innings.
Pence chats with MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart about his All-Star nod:
A shot of the dugout, from my seat in the press box:
Puma bats in the ninth:
LaTroy Hawkins warms up as Oswalt wraps up his stellar eight-inning performance:
After the win…a shot from the tunnel that connects the dugout with the clubhouse. That’s Puma and bench coach Ed Romero.
Hunter Pence…I think I surprised him.
Hitting coach Sean Berry and assistant athletic trainer Rex Jones.
Catcher Humberto Quintero.
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