"It's hard to hit home runs!"
Greetings from the Albert Pujols Show, more commonly referred to as the State Farm Home Run Derby.
It’s the culmination of workout day, as the All-Star Game spectacle kicks into high gear.
Workout day always begins with a series of press conferences and media availability sessions at a local hotel, and this year it was the Hyatt Regency in downtown St. Louis.
Victor Martinez was there, of course. And he was wearing some white dress shirt decorated with what can only be described as psychedelic gerbera daisies.
Ordinarily, an event such as the All-Star game is a good time to have a more broad-based interview with the players you see and cover on a daily basis. The pressure’s off, they’re not in a rush to get into the cage or the trainer’s room, and they’re in a good mood. Alas, having such a conversation with Martinez proved difficult this afternoon, as the Spanish-language reporters were all over V-Mart. So he got to answer questions about the Indians’ record, Eric Wedge’s future and his possibility of being traded in two languages. Good times.
Anyway, you read all about Victor right here.
Now, while the Indians are my prescribed beat, it’s hardly a monogamous relationship. And my duties for MLB.com annually allow me to branch out and cover at least one other team. The opportunity is usually enjoyable, and today was no different. While doing a story for the Astros’ site, I got an up-close view of Miguel Tejada’s diamond-encrusted Rolex. Next time I have a blackout at my house, I’m inviting Tejada’s watch over to light my living room. It’s also worth noting that he flew his private jet to St. Louis. I had never met Tejada, but he seemed like a good dude. And he’s apparently well-compensated for his services.
Other quick thoughts, pre-Derby:
- The amount of people who get behind their Cards and routinely wear red in this city never ceases to impress me
- The elevator to the top of the Gateway Arch is not for the claustrophobic.
- Charlie Gitto’s (once dubbed my favorite Italian restaurant on the road) is not what it used to be.
- The St. Louis staple that is toasted ravioli is unnecessary (ravioli was doing just fine on its own, thank you).
- In general, there is a buzz in this town that is stronger than any I’ve seen in the four All-Star games I’ve covered. And yes, I’m including last year’s Yankee Stadium salute.
- Pre-Derby performer David Cook is the toasted ravioli of rock stars.
All right, time to watch baseball’s premier sluggers (and Brandon Inge) try to poke a few blasts into the Mississippi River. Enjoy, and keep those Mitch Hedberg quotes coming.