07/13/05 2:20 AM ET
Lopez's All-Star Game a memorable one
Reds' lone representative delivers hit, soaks up experience
By Alyson Footer / MLB.com
OK, so he had only one at-bat during Tuesday's All-Star Game, but it was a good one. The Reds' lone All-Star singled off Joe Nathan in the eighth inning, which moved Moises Alou to third. Alou scored on Miguel Cabrera's grounder, giving the National League their third run in their 7-5 loss to the American League.
Lopez had a couple of reasons for wanting to get a hit in the All-Star Game. Of course, first and foremost, it's a pride thing. But also, getting a hit means he doesn't have anything to worry about when he rejoins his Cincinnati teammates this weekend.
"I wanted to get a hit, and I'm glad I did," he said. "The guys in Cincinnati would have made fun of me. They'll get on me."
As Lopez packed up his belongings after the game, he acknowledged the All-Star experience was everything he hoped it would be, "and more."
"It was a great show," he said. "These guys are the best of the best. It was great to be playing along with them.
"It's amazing. I can't believe I'm on the same field as these All-Stars, it's like a dream come true. It gives me a lot of confidence and motivation to do even better next year."
The 25-year-old Lopez is not unlike many of the young first-timers who are sharing a clubhouse with some of the best players to ever wear a Major League uniform. The Reds shortstop was admittedly awestruck.
"I grew up watching these guys, some of the older guys, on TV," he said. "Now to be in the same clubhouse with them, it's crazy."
Lopez swore he wasn't nervous when he was batting. The only time he ever felt butterflies occurred during the pregame introductions.
"I didn't want to look dumb," he said with a grin. "I tried to stay as calm as I possibly could. It didn't work."
Lopez embraced everything the All-Star experience offered. He had a ball during the Home Run Derby, wrapping himself in the Puerto Rican flag as he rooted for his fellow countryman, Pudge Rodriguez.
He also took plenty of pictures, and obtained a slew of autographs. It's safe to say there won't be a shortage of memorabilia when he wants to look back on this All-Star week.
"I'm trying to get everything I can," he said. "It's special. At the end of my career, I'll have all of that to put in my trophy room."
Alyson Footer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.