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Tejada very happy right now
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07/14/2004 2:22 AM ET
Tejada very happy right now
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Miguel Tejada takes his position during the All-Star Game at Minute Maid Park on Tuesday. (Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
HOUSTON -- A long 48-hour experience just ended for Miguel Tejada, yet he strolled around the American League clubhouse at Minute Maid Park as if he didn't want to leave.

Tejada was one of the final players out of the shower on Tuesday. While some of his American League teammates were already on the plane back to their next city, Tejada wanted to cherish the final moments of his extraordinary two-day experience at the 75th All-Star Game.

He helped the AL win 9-4, took home the Century 21 Home Run Derby title with a record-setting performance and met some of the game's greatest players and legends.

"It was a great time, a great time," he said with a big smile while preparing to meet the Orioles in Tampa Bay. "I did a lot of great things, met great people, and won the Home Run Derby. I can't say enough."

Tejada did not have much of an impact on the game. He relieved the Yankees' Derek Jeter in the bottom of the seventh inning and grounded to second base in the eighth against Milwaukee's Ben Sheets. The most exciting event of the game was hitting the dirt to duck a Sheets curveball.

2004 All-Star Game

But by then the All-Star journey had been already completed. Tejada, already considered one of the game's top shortstops, established himself as a splendid power hitter with his Derby performance. Just moments before the Derby began, Tejada got a chance to meet many of the 10 retired members of the 500 Home Run Club in an on-field ceremony.

On Tuesday, Tejada was among the All-Stars who posed for a picture with the legendary Muhammad Ali, who participated in a pregame ceremony.

"Man it was great seeing Muhammad Ali," he said. "But I get a chance to see a lot of legends. I don't think things could have gone any better for me here."

Tejada will now try to help the Orioles turn things around after a disappointing first half. They start with four games against upstart Tampa Bay beginning on Thursday and Tejada will be on the field for his 680th consecutive game.

"I am just happy to even be invited to All-Star Games and to be able to have this experience," he said. "You never take these things for granted. You never know if you come back here again so you cherish this. I am very happy right now."

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

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