07/06/2004 5:37 PM ET
One week and counting
This is the second installment in a series of reports on the 2004 All-Star Game from Michael McHugh, a 12-year-old sports reporter from Friendswood, Texas. McHugh is a regular contributor to The Reporter News, serving Friendswood and Pearland, Texas. He also writes a column for the official web site of the American Hockey League's Houston Aeros. He was recently featured in SIKIDS Sports Radio.
By Michael McHugh / Special to MLB.com
The roster is set, the bags are being packed, and it's time to head to Houston.
One week away, and the big day will soon be here.
With the excitement of the coming game, I thought I would ask some former All-Star players what it felt like when they were selected to an All-Star Team.
Here is what they had to say.
Jeff Bagwell: "It's a tremendous thrill to play with the greatest players in the game at that particular time. To be told when I got voted in, that was a big moment for me. It's something that I will never forget."
Andy Pettitte: "Well, obviously it makes you feel good because it means you're having a good year. It's always great to be able to go out and play with the best players in the league. It makes you feel really good."
Craig Biggio: "The All-Star Game is great. I've played in seven of them and I've got seven different memories in all of them. They're a lot of fun and it was a huge honor to go and represent the National League."
Moises Alou: "I was honored when I found out that I was selected. I was a little nervous and I was very excited to be among the very best players in the same locker room and in the same dugout. When I got in the game, I hit a game-winning double, so that was awesome."
Kerry Wood: "Any time you get chosen to go to an All-Star Game and play with the best in your profession and your business, it's an honor."
Brad Ausmus: "It's an experience that I wish every major leaguer had the opportunity to experience during their career."
Dusty Baker: "I tell you one thing, being a coach of an All-Star team, you realize how good some of these guys are. Not only are they guys with outstanding ability, they are also guys that were pretty smart. You could tell by the questions they asked, the adjustments they made, and by the scouting reports on certain pitchers they hadn't seen and then how they can put it into action. Being around the All-Stars, you sometimes forget just how good these guys are and how easy they make things look."
Orel Hershiser: "My time at the All-Star Game was awesome. The most fun for me was not playing the game but getting to know the other All-Stars in the league, because they're normally your competitors, but here you are now on the same team and it's just awesome to get to know the guys and to be around them."
I bet that the guys who were selected for this year's team will feel the same way when they leave Houston at the end of the 2004 game.
Their words made me think about what an All-Star meant to me. Besides being the best at what they do, to a kid it's also about who they are too. It's an important job, being a role model, because so many kids want to be just like them.
As time gets closer, more exciting events are being announced. Like, FanFest, for instance. "Rocket" Roger Clemens and his four kids Kacy, Kody, Kory and Koby will be conducting a baseball fundamentals clinic on The Diamond at John Hancock All-Star FanFest for children from a local Boys and Girls Club.
Fans attending FanFest on Sunday, July 11 will be able to pack The Diamond bleachers and listen to the future Hall of Famer give pointers on America's favorite pastime. Anyone wanting to learn from one of the best pitchers in baseball surely will not want to miss this.
Opening ceremonies for FanFest take place on Friday. I will be there and let you know all about it. Stay tuned for more updates!
Michael McHugh is a student at Friendswood (Texas) Junior High and is a special contributor to MLB.com. He will provide special coverage of the 2004 All-Star Game in Houston. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.