2011 MLB All-Star Game Pre-Game Comments

The following are answers to my questions, and my questions only, asked in the clubhouse prior to the 2011 Major League Baseball All-Star Game.

CLAYTON KERSHAW

“It’s awesome.  This is something that you don’t really think about getting the opportunity to do, and now that you’re here with this group of guys, your peers, it’s a pretty big deal and I’m pretty pumped up about it.”

“It’s been great.  It’s non-stop.  You just try to remember everything so you have some memories, you don’t want to let it pass by too fast.  But it’s been a lot of fun.”

“Individual goals, I don’t really have too many of them.  But personally, it’s definitely something that I don’t take for granted.  I just never really thought it would be possible, so it’s pretty cool.”

“(The nerves) are OK right now.  I’ll probably get some adrenaline going once I get on the mound, but right now it’s been pretty cool.”

ANDREW MCCUTCHEN

“You set your goals.  Me being in the minors, the only thing I really ever focused on was getting to the big leagues.  Once you’re in the big leagues, you start to think about this.  So, you dream big, but even when you feel like you’ve dreamed everything, you still continue to dream about other things that you want to accomplish in the majors.”

“Things have been going great.  I was moving around (in the lineup) in the beginning of the season, third and first, and they kept me at third.  I’m kind of in the four hole now and been doing a pretty good job.  I’m getting opportunities to come in and drive in runs this year, and I’ve been doing a good job of it so far.  I’ve been feeling real good, but I’m trying not to do too much.  You think four hitters, you think big guys.  For me to be put in that role, it’s different.  But I just need to learn to stay within myself and just play my game.”

(On the national reaction to his initial omission from the roster) “It was good, it was real good to hear that from others and see that people were behind me in saying that.  It showed me that I was doing something good.  After all, I did get here, and a lot of people are satisifed with me getting here.  It was a real good feeling.”

HUNTER PENCE

“It’s a great honor.  Everything’s exciting.  It’s a thrill, I’m overjoyed.  I’m just looking forward to the opportunity to go play in the game.”

“It’s been incredible.  I love baseball and I’m very grateful to be able to be a part of this.  I stayed out and enjoyed watching the home run derby and I enjoyed all the little events with the fans.  I’m just happy to be playing this game and to get recognized the All-Star Game.  I’m looking forward to having a chance to play in it.”

“It’s a big pill to swallow to think, when you sit back and look at it, that I’ve been able to be in two big league All-Star Games now.  I don’t think it’s something where you sit there and think, ‘Oh, I’m definitely going to be there.’  No one knows that.  A lot of things have to happen.  You have to a little bit of luck involved, and you have to stay healthy.  It’s just one of those things where if you happen to run into it, just be grateful and enjoy it.” 

“I haven’t really thought about (the nerves).  Hopefully none, I’ll just go out there.  I’ve played the game long enough to understand that baseball’s a funny game.  Just do your thing and let it happen.  I think any time you add nerves, it doesn’t really help you out that much.”

PAUL KONERKO

“This is my fifth one, and any time you make an All-Star team, no matter how long you’ve been around or what you’ve done, it’s always a special thing.  I respect the history of the game and I respect the All-Star game itself.  It’s something, when you go to one of these things, you can always say 20 years from now I was at that game.  It’s a nice reward for a good first half, but our goal as players is to have good, solid productive seasons for our teams, so that’s still on the table.  It’s nice, but at the same time, it’ll be back to work here in a couple days.”

GIO GONZALEZ

(On dreaming about MLB All-Star Games while in the minors) “Absolutely.  There’s no better place to be, especially in the big leagues.  I always make a joke: A glass of water up here tastes better than it does in the minor leagues.  It’s a tough journey for us, and it’s a struggle down in the minor leagues when you’ve got to constantly try to get mentally prepared.  Especially if you struggle down there, it’s tough to get up.  I just did my best to keep my head down and keep a positive attitude and continue to strive to do better.”

“It means a lot.  It means that I represent the city of Oakland, it means I represent the city of Hialeah (Florida, where he was born) and I represent the Gonzalez family.  To be a proud member of the American League All-Star team is an honor.”

(On if he was expecting this) “Absolutely not.  I just figured I’d do my job and try to win some ballgames for the Oakland A’s.  It just ended up being where I just had a lucky little pass and I ran with it, and that was it.”

“It’s been amazing, non-stop fun and excitement.  It’s even better when I’m just around my family and having a good time.”

JAY BRUCE

“It’s humbling man, it’s a great experience.  I hope to be here a lot more times representing the Reds and my family.  This is great.”

“This has been unbelievable.  It’s been everything I imagined, plus more.  You get to meet all the guys, you get to know them a little bit better and just enjoy it.”

“You know what man, I haven’t had too many nerves yet to be honest with you.  It’s been great so far.  Everybody’s pretty cool and they all kind of make you feel at home.  These guys here have all done a great job as far as making you feel like this is your home clubhouse.”

RICKIE WEEKS

“It feels great.  This All-Star experience, it’s my first one obviously, and to come out here with the guys who you face every day, it’s a great experience.  Of course, a lot of people don’t get the chance to have this happen, so I finally got the chance.  I’m definitely honored.”

“It’s been great.  I had the Home Run Derby yesterday.  It was fun hanging out and clowning with the guys, all that stuff.  It’s just one of those things where you really get a chance to sit down, relax and actually have fun with all your peers that you go up against every day.”

“I think sometimes where you kind of get to that point where you might crack the big leagues…I don’t think you dream that far as to being an All-Star, but you definitely dream to get to the big leagues one day, stay there and have a prolonged career hopefully.”

“I’m not a guy who usually gets nervous or gets anxious or anything like that.  I just take it for what it is and keep going.”

LANCE BERKMAN

“I felt like I could come back and have a much better performance this year than I did last year.  Being in St. Louis is a great place for me and I’m just happy to have the opportunity to play every day again.  It’s been great, it couldn’t have worked out any better.”

“I can’t say that I have (exceeded my own expectations).  I felt like if I was healthy and I got my swing right, I’ve had seasons similar to this before and felt like I could possibly do it again.”

(On last season) “It was the down part of the roller coaster.  It was a rough year.  There were a lot of trying situations, but looking back it was a great experience, the whole thing.  Even as statisticly poor as the season turned out to be and as difficult as it was at times personally, it was something that I’m glad happened.”

JON LESTER

“It’s an honor to be here.  It was something that when I found out, Tito gave me the option of coming or staying in Boston, and like I said it’s one of those deals where you don’t know how many of these things you’ll get to go to, so you’d might as well come and enjoy it while you can.”

“This has been great, I’ve had a good time.  (The derby) was good, it was a good time.  It was a little bit better than last year I thought, just the format.  It was easier to see, they had better seats and stuff like that, so I thought this year they did a really good job.”

ADRIAN GONZALEZ

“It’s a great feeling.  It’s definitely an honor, and I’m really happy to be here.”

“(The derby) was a great experience, I had a lot of fun with it.”

(On if he thought he’d win) “Honestly, no.  With the 11 home runs, I didn’t.  I think everybody knows (Cano’s) was an incredible performance and he deserved to win.”

JORDAN WALDEN

“It means a lot.  It’s a very big honor, I’m just thankful to be here.”

“At the start of the year, I was just hoping to be a part of the team.  So this right here, it’s just awesome to be a part of this.”

“It really hadn’t soaked in until I got here, but I was just excited.  It’s a big honor, so I was very excited.”

“This has been awesome.  The Home Run Derby last night was awesome to watch in person, so it was good.”

“Everybody’s dream and goal in the minors is to get to the big leagues and be an All-Star and win the World Series.  So you always think about it, but until it happens it’s kind of not real.”

JOEY BAUTISTA

“It’s a great honor to be selected by the fans.  I feel very appreciated that they took their time to vote for me, and that’s why I’m thankful to the fans.  It takes time and effort to sit down in front of the computer and vote all those times and fill out the ballots at the stadium.  It’s awesome to get the support and the following that I’ve been getting.  It’s nice that people are recognizing the fact that I’m playing well.  I feel very good about that.”

“(The derby) was awesome, it was really fun.  It’s an event that I loved being a part of.  I followed it when I was growing up, so as a professional, it was a real thrill to be a part of the Home Run Derby.  Any time you can take part in events like that and raise money for charities, it’s a great feeling.”

“You always feel confident in your abilities, and with a lot of hard work and dedication and perserverance, you can get places.  It’s hard to set goals in (the minors), but you kind of leave that up in the air to reach as far as you can and get to wherever you can get.”

MATT CAIN

“It’s great, it’s an honor.  I’m excited about being here and getting to do everything.  I’m excited about the game tonight too, so it’s fun.”

“This has been really good.  I’ve been able to relax and kind of soak it all in.”

“I think that’s what you have to do (in the minors).  I think you have to let your mind wander and dream to be a big league player and a big league All-Star.  I think that’s what you have to do.”

BRANDON PHILLIPS

“It means a lot (to be here), especially with the way I got voted in.  It’s the best thing that ever happened, getting voted in by the players.  For them to vote for me like they did, it’s an honor.  It’s a privilege for me to be here.  I’m just excited to be on the field with the best players in Major League Baseball.”

“It’s been cool man.  This has been totally different than my first experience.  It’s just nice to see the guys I’m in here with, everybody’s cool and I’m having a good time.  I think the best thing that happened was Robinson Cano winning the Home Run Derby and having his dad pitching.  That’s the best thing that’s happened so far.”

“You can dream about many things (in the minors), but this is really the last thing I ever dreamed about.  My dreams were to become a Major League baseball player and play in the major leagues.  Being an All-Star, that’s just an honor and something I thought could never happen.  It’s just a blessing.”

BRIAN MCCANN

“It’s a great honor to be able to recognized by the fans and start the game.  To be able to share a locker room with these guys, it’s a great feeling.”

“This is first-class all the way around.  This is great.”

“The whole world is watching.  So it’s a little bit different feeling than just playing in a regular season game.  You love playing in games like this.”

“In the minors, it’s your dream to get here.  It’s your goal, it’s your motivation.  To make it happen and to actually be here, it’s great.”

PRINCE FIELDER

“It means a lot.  My family is here, I’ve got my teammates here, my hitting coach from the minor leagues here.  So it’s pretty good.  My kids had a good time, so I’m having a good time.”

“This has been good.  I did the derby yesterday, and it’s a lot of movement.  I’m tired.  But it’s all worth it.  I’m not so much sore from the actual derby, just the overall day.  You’ve got to wake up early, and your day starts right away.  But it’s cool.”

“It’s not so much nervous, it’s the same as any other game.  It’s just an anticipation, you’re excited for what’s about to come.  I wouldn’t call it nervous as far as being afraid goes, just anticipating the game and everything like that.”

(On dreaming about big league All-Star Games while in the minors) “Of course.  You always talk about it a lot to people, but you always daydream to yourself about it.  If you didn’t have those dreams, you probably wouldn’t have made it out of the minor leagues.  You’ve got to have dreams or else you’re just going to stay there forever, I think.”

RYAN BRAUN

“This is awesome man, it’s special.  As a kid, this is one of the highlights of growing up and watching baseball and just being a fan of the game.  I enjoyed watching All-Star Games and home run derbies, and to have an opportunity to play in a game is honestly a dream come true, so it’s a lot of fun.”

(Favorite All-Star memory) “Not really.  I think I always enjoyed watching the home run derbies.  Just watching Griffey compete in the Home Run Derby with a big smile on his face and having a lot of fun.”

“This has been great man, it’s been a little different.  I’m fortunate, this is actually my fourth All-Star Game, but it’s the first one I’m not able to play in.  So it’s a different experience and it’s obviously a little disappointing and frustrating to not be able to be a part of the game.  But it’s been relaxing, and as a fan of the game, it’s cool to be around so many great players and see everybody up close.”

“I don’t think you can ever be afraid of dreaming too big.  If you’re afraid of dreaming too big, I think you cut yourself short.  I think it’s important to set lofty goals and have high expectations and try to accomplish as much as you possibly can while you play this game.”

CARLOS BELTRAN

“It’s a great, great experience.  I’m just so happy, it’s an honor.  Just to be selected to be part of an All-Star Game and be in an event like this, you look around and it’s all the best players in the game.  Being able to share the same clubhouse with them, it makes you feel like you’re doing things right.”

“We’re having fun, we enjoy talking and getting an opportunity to meet some other players and share information with them about the game of baseball.  It’s been good.”

“(The derby) was great, I think it was a great story.  Being able to see Robinson Cano to put on a show the way he did, and his dad was throwing BP, it was unbelievable.  It’s kind of like a movie thing where nobody thought that he was going to be able to win it.  Gonzalez did a great job, and at the end of the day, it was kind of like a rivalry with Boston and the Yankees.  One of the best rivalries in baseball, so it was good.”

“As a ballplayer, that’s your dream when you’re in the minor leagues.  You want to get to the big leagues and be able to have the opportunity to become an All-Star one day.  I think all minor leaguers dream about it.  Being able to make it and being able to do it, sometimes the possibilities are slim.  But once you make it, you really have to thank God for the opportunity for the blessings, for the health and for being able to put up good numbers and play for good teams and being able to be successful.”

JOSE REYES

“It means a lot.  There are a lot of players in the big leagues, and not a lot of guys get the opportunity to be here at the All-Star Game, so it’s a privilege for me to be here.”

“So far, so good man.  I had the opportunity to meet a lot of guys I hadn’t been able to meet before, so that’s good.  A guy like Gaby Sanchez, we play against each other but know we’re in the same clubhouse and I can talk to him.  Victorino from the Phillies, all the guys.  You get to know those guys, so it’s a good experience.”

“When you’re playing professional baseball, nothing’s impossible, but you have to work hard.  Nothing’s easy in baseball.  So if you work hard, good things are going to come your way.”

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

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2 Responses to “2011 MLB All-Star Game Pre-Game Comments”

  1. whiteycat Says:

    Mike, you are nothing short of amazing! Thanks for your fantastic coverage. It’s the absolute BEST!

  2. Dave S. Staten Island Says:

    one word for you Mike ! WOW !!! if that is in fact considered a word !! lol lol

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