The final installment of Hunterpalooza. What a couple of days.
Sure, the All-Star Game doesn’t affect the regular-season standings, and it’s not the end of the world, obviously, to lose. But that doesn’t mean the players don’t care. They’re competitors by nature, and they care a lot. And the National League team was plenty disappointed when it lost to the American League, again.
The sting of the loss probably wore off quicker than a loss during the regular season. And once players started talking to the media about the pomp and circumstance, the visit from President Obama, the hype and the fun and mingling with fellow Major Leaguers, the mood lightened.
But there was disappointment — from Ryan Howard, for falling short of delivering the big hit in the eighth inning; from Heath Bell, for giving up the winning run; and from Hunter Pence, for watching his NL team lose, and for not playing in the game.
The bigger letdown for Pence was the loss. He wanted to play, but he put that second while itemizing the priorities.
“I still felt like I was part of the team,” he said. “It was great meeting all of the personalities and legendary players and legendary managers. It’s disappointing, but it gives me a reason to fight even harder next year and get a chance to play.
“It was a great experience. It wasn’t everything I hoped, because I wanted to play and I wanted to win. But it was definitely a great experience.”
Earlier that day, Pence and Miguel Tejada participated in the All-Star Red Carpet event, which involved all of the ballplayers piling on to trucks with their families and traveling parade-style from the headquarter hotel to Busch Stadium.
It was a cross between a motorcade (it involved famous people), homecoming (there was waving) and Mardi Gras (players threw beads to fans).
I positioned myself inside the waiting area, where players lined up before heading out to the masses. Here’s Hunter and his mom, Gail:
The Pence clan, minus dad Howard…Hunter’s brother, Howie, his wife Allison, daughter Hayley, son Striker, Hunter and Gail.
Miguel Tejada and his family — wife Alejandra, son Miguel and daughter Alexa — soon join the Pence clan.
The families pile on to the truck and soon, they were off.
Couple of non-Astros shots: left, Prince Fielder, right, Trevor Hoffman.
Ryan Howard with his son.
Nope, not a burglar…it’s the NL starting pitcher, phenom Tim Lincecum.
And finally, it was time for batting practice…
Pence and Justin Upton run to the outfield for the NL team photo.
Miguel Tejada chats with FOXsports.com’s Ken Rosenthal.
Batting practice isn’t just a time to watch ballplayers. There are plenty of interesting people on the sidelines as well…here’s Bob Costas…
…and LL Cool J…
…and two guys I assumed were responsible for the safety of LL Cool J. They do a heck of a job. I know it detered me from going anywhere near LL. (or is it Mr. Cool J?)
And finally, anthem singer and St. Louis native Sheryl Crow.
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