I was not at last year's game. I was taking part in a rehab assignment. I didn't get to watch the whole game, but I did get to see some of it. When you are down in Florida and it is summer and you are rehabbing, you lose a bit of what else is going on. But I got to watch some of the game and, obviously, it was disappointing not to be there. Still, though, I have been very fortunate. It pushes you a little when you don't go. You work that much harder to try and get back to something like an All-Star Game.
During the first half of the season it is hard to block out the voting aspect of it. You get texts from friends and family and that sort of keeps me updated. Of course, it is special and, of course, you want to go. But you can't get caught up in it too much because you need to focus on baseball and where your team is and not where you are at in the voting.
It is a great honor when you go. You try and go out there and provide entertainment, while playing the game hard and playing the game the right way. When the fans see that and vote you in, it is extra special.
My first All-Star Game was in Pittsburgh, and I participated in the Home Run Derby. Still, it was surreal to be around guys who, at the time, I idolized growing up. I was suddenly right there with guys who will be in the Hall of Fame and guys who were perennial All-Stars. I remember sitting around in that clubhouse, and it was a tremendous feeling.
That first time was also a whirlwind. You aren't really sure what to do and where you are supposed to be at times. Again, I have been fortunate to go to five games, and as you get more experience, you do get to sit back and embrace things a little more, enjoy things a little more. You aren't overly worried about your schedule and about what you have to do and where you have to be because it is so new. You stop rushing and you take a deep breath, and you enjoy it that much more.
And while you do your best job to enjoy it, you have to remember that the outcome of the game does mean something. The camaraderie is fantastic, but you have to prepare yourself to play the game like any other game. Still, you want to take the opportunity to get to know guys who you don't already know well. You can chat and talk baseball with them and that is special.
David Wright was hitting a robust .354 with 11 home runs and 59 RBIs for the Mets. He has been named a reserve for this year's All-Star Game, which takes place on July 10 in Kansas City. Wright was also an All-Star in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010.