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Harvey digs All-Star frenzy
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07/12/2004  5:34 PM ET
Harvey digs All-Star frenzy
Looks forward to meeting home run king Aaron
tickets for any Major League Baseball game
Ken Harvey hit .305 with 10 homers and 34 RBIs during the season's first half. (Ed Zurga/AP)
HOUSTON -- Ken Harvey, the Royals' only All-Star player, was perhaps the least-recognized, least-interviewed subject at the American League media gathering Monday.

"It doesn't bother me at all," he said, looking across the room where reporters were swarming such players as Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez.

"I'm the new guy on the totem pole," Harvey said.

Harvey was seated at a table next to Royals manager Tony Pena, who is an All-Star Game coach. Pena drew a lot of interest, Harvey not very much.

Kansas City reporters came calling, of course. There was a guy who wanted an inspirational message for kids. The odd radio or TV station would stop by, taking advantage of the open space.

Harvey was voted onto the team by the players. For much of the season, he ranked high among the AL leaders. However, his average has slipped to .305. He has 10 homers, 13 doubles and 34 RBIs.

2004 All-Star Game

"I still believe that Ken Harvey has a ways to go and that he's going to show more than he has so far this year," Pena said.

The interview interlude was just a light warmup for Harvey. He was looking forward to schmoozing in the AL clubhouse and meeting some of the 500-homer club who are being honored in Houston.

He especially wanted to meet Hank Aaron.

"As an African-American, he has done a lot to pave the way for me," Harvey said. "I just want to shake his hand and say thank you. Maybe get an autograph, too."

Earlier in the day, former Royals center fielder Carlos Beltran was a much-sought subject by the media. Elected by the AL players, he was traded to the Astros and was to be only a participant in the festivities, not play in the game.

But when Ken Griffey Jr. suffered a partial hamstring tear, he was added by the NL as an active player.

"He definitely deserves to be here," Harvey said. "You don't want to see Griffey go down like that but I'm glad for Carlos."

Beltran was informed of the decision by Astros manager Jimy Williams.

"I was happy when he told me I was going to be on the roster," Beltran said. "I wasn't 100 percent happy. I was happy but not 100 percent."

As Beltran was answering questions, he moved back a bit and the legs of his chair toppled off the six-inch podium. Beltran fell backward into a black curtain, suspended there for a few seconds before reporters pulled him back.

Beltran barely batted an eye. He merely went on answering the questions. He was an All-Star, after all. Nothing would stop him now.

Dick Kaegel is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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