I think the premise has never wavered, and it has not changed at all in the idea of putting the best baseball players in the world in one place for one game, now for a few days, is just a spectacular thing, and it's going to be a spectacular event. New York City is buzzing. You have to do an awful lot to get New York City's attention, but we have it, and the baseball showcase, the Midsummer Classic, is back, in New York City for the ninth time.
Only the second time for the Mets as hosts. The first time they had the All‑Star Game was 1964 when they showed off their brand new Shea Stadium. I know a lot of you have spent a lot of time at Shea Stadium, as have I, as well, mostly in a little league uniform in the upper deck, but now we get to see this beautiful facility in Citi Field and the Mets get to show it off to the world.
I would also like to point out another component of this year's All‑Star Game is a focus on our real heros, the United States veterans and military service members, and this year Major League Baseball has undertaken a new initiative that recognizes the brave men and women who serve the United States and Canada.
As part of the Tribute for Heroes Program developed by Major League Baseball and PEOPLE Magazine, 30 honorees, one representing each Major League club will be elected by the fans from around the country based on their unique stories of bravery and self sacrifice. Those 30 extraordinary individuals participated in the All‑Star week events and they will also be honored in a ceremony before the All‑Star Game tomorrow night.
The national pastime, of course, takes particular pride with the initiatives that support all military personal, including the women comeback veterans program which has received extraordinary support from the New York Mets and their Chairman, Fred Wilpon, and the Commissioner of Baseball, Bud Selig.
Right now we are ready, maybe if you have not looked too closely, there's still some suspense, but there is suspense and there's excitement with the naming of the starting pitchers.
Let me introduce right now the honorary president of the National League, the chairman of the Philadelphia Phillies, Bill Giles.
BILL GILES: Thank you, Brian. I would like to remind my good friend, Jackie Autry here today, that the National League is on a bit of a roll. The National League has won three straight All‑Star Games, we have won three straight World Series and four of the last five World Series. So the plan to have the home‑field advantage for the World Series for the winner of the All‑Star Game seems to become meaningful.
It's my pleasure today to introduce one of the great guys in baseball, a great manager. He's managed 19 years in the big leagues, seven with the San Francisco Giants. He took his 1998 Padres to the World Series and then lost to the Yankees, but he's the world champ in 2010 and 2012. It's my honor, Bruce Bochy.
BRUCE BOCHY: Thank you, Bill, and it an honor for me to be here, here in New York, for this tremendous event and also to name my starting pitcher, who happens to be one of yours here in New York. Just what a tremendous year he's had, and really wouldn't have mattered what city we were playing in with the year that he's had, the impressive numbers that he's put up. He would have been the starting pitcher.
But the fact that it is here, it's an honor for me to name Matt Harvey as the starting pitcher tomorrow night and I look forward to the game.
This is such an honor for all of us to be here and I know as a kid growing up, this is what I waited for. To be managing this game and to be with the greatest players in the world, I couldn't be more excited right now, so, thank you, Bill.
Leading off will be Brandon Phillips at second base. Carlos Beltrán will be in right field and Joey Votto will be hitting third for me. I just talked to David Wright; and if you're the captain of the Home Run Derby, you need to hit clean‑up, so I'm going to add a bit more pressure to him and hit him clean‑up. Carlos Gonzalez will hit fifth. Yadier Molina will follow him catching, hitting sixth. Tulowitzki will hit seventh. My DH will be Michael Cuddyer; great year he's having, great numbers, great hitting streak he's putting up. He's going to DH for me. Bryce Harper will be hitting ninth playing center field.
BRIAN KENNY: Matt, being named National League starter, what does this honor mean to you?
MATT HARVEY: It's a huge honor. I appreciate it, both picking me to start and it's obviously here in New York, so you know, the fans have been great here all year, and you know, hopefully make them proud and start the All‑Star Game. It's definitely a huge honor and something I'm very excited about.
BRIAN KENNY: The honorary president of the American League, long‑time member of the Angels family, Jackie Autry.
JACKIE AUTRY: Thank you, Brian. As my friend, Bill Giles pointed out, and despite all the poo‑poos that went on when the commissioner decided to give home‑field advantage to the winner of the All‑Star Game, I think he's correct; they have won three All‑Star Games and they have won three World Series.
He forgets, though, that the American League owned the National League for 13 years in the All‑Star Game, and we are going to take over that ownership again with our manager of the American League.
Anyway, Jim Leyland has led the Tigers to post‑season for the third time in his tenure with the club, including a World Series appearance. He also led the Pirates to three consecutive playoff appearances between 1990 and 1992 and guided the Florida Marlins to a World Series.
He's an extraordinary manager, and I'm very proud to call him my friend and I know that he is going to stop the bleeding because this is not acceptable to the American League. I'd like to introduce you to the manager, Jim Leyland, who will manage for the American League this year in the All‑Star Game.
JIM LEYLAND: Thank you very much, Jackie.
Like Bruce said, I'm very thrilled to be here. Obviously I didn't want it to be the runner‑up, but that's the way it goes, so congratulations once again to Bruce and the Giants for their accomplishments last year. It's a wonderful, wonderful time.
People ask me, what is your favorite memories of All‑Star Games, and my favorite memory of the All‑Star Game is not necessarily being with all the great players that you are with and you get to manage for a day, but I think the best thing I like about the All‑Star Game is to see a dad with his kid for the first time at an All‑Star Game. When you see them in the stands and we are taking batting practice in the game, and you can see that smile on that face, it's an unbelievable feeling and I'm sure a great moment for father and son. That's my favorite memory of the All‑Star Game.
I'm here today to introduce my starting lineup. I'll give you my starting lineup and then I will name my pitcher (Laughter.).
Leading off for the American League will be Mike Trout. Hitting second will be Robinson Cano. Hitting third will be Miguel Cabrera. Fourth will be Chris Davis. Fifth will be Jose Bautista. Next will be David Ortiz, followed by Adam Jones, Joe Mauer and J.J. Hardy.
And I'm proud to announce that this year's starting pitcher for the American League for the 2013 All‑Star Game is our own Max Scherzer of the Detroit Tigers, 13‑1, Max Scherzer, and I don't think I need to explain anything more than that. Thank you very much.
MAX SCHERZER: It means so much, especially for being my first All‑Star Game, you know, to finally be in this position and this is what you dream for, to be in this game. And to get the nod and to get the ball over some of your great pitchers; we go throughout the season and we see guys who absolutely deal, and for Skipper to give me the nod over those guys just means so much to me. I'm excited to pitch my first game.
BRIAN KENNY: Max and Matt are two of the top three in swinging‑strike percentage so I look at that as a victory for Sabermetrics, so that's just me, the way I see it.
Q. Matt, you've talked since you got here last year about not just wanting to stick in the Major Leagues, but to be the best and get better and better; how much of this is a vindication of the hard work you've put in since you got here last July?
MATT HARVEY: It adds more drive. I came up and obviously wanted to do everything I could to fill in for R.A. Dickey, who had a tremendous season last year, and we knew him not being with us, it was going to take a lot and someone needed to step in.
You know, it was a role I wanted to take, and something I took pride in, and you know, having this opportunity and getting the nod is one step closer.
You know, like I said, it's something I'm very proud of and obviously it's more drive to keep going and hopefully make this not my last All‑Star Game.
Q. Matt, you're the third Mets pitcher to ever start an All‑Star Game; just Gooden and Seaver. What about the honor in that regard?
MATT HARVEY: The support that Doc has been giving me all year, it's pretty special. To be named with those guys, they are two of the best, and you know, like I said, the support that he's given me is amazing, and hopefully making him proud and obviously it's fun having him on my back and it's going to be a good experience.
Q. For both managers, I think we've got 39 first‑time All‑Stars, some big names not here. Bruce and Jim, do you feel having been here before that we are seeing a new wave of stars, a new wave of young talent hitting the All‑Star Game?
BRUCE BOCHY: I do. I think, well, the pitcher I've just named, these guys are coming up now with incredible talent, these young players.
So I think we are seeing a rash or influx of tremendous young talent that really is changing our game. I think they are just getting better, faster, bigger, stronger still, and it's impressive to watch these guys.
You play a game now, and I see more pitchers throwing in the mid 90s than I've ever seen, so I do think we are getting some great talent coming up from all over the world to play baseball.
Q. Max, in your last start, you were struck by a batted ball. Where did it get you, and is there any discomfort and did you have to receive any special treatment since that start?
MAX SCHERZER: Yeah, the ball struck me in my left wrist. It hurt throughout the game but I was always able to pitch through it. I've been able to ice it and treat it, and it's doing a lot better. I really doubt it's going to affect me on Tuesday.
Q. How important is home‑field advantage for you, and how much pressure do you feel to win, considering that you get home‑field advantage in the World Series?
JIM LEYLAND: Well, I think it was seven out of nine is the last ‑‑ the way the last nine World Series have gone, home‑field advantage won seven out of nine times. Obviously that doesn't mean it's the seventh game; last year, we only played four so, I don't know what that means exactly (Laughter.)
I think it's a nice touch. I mean, I think that it's a nice touch. You win this game, you do get that. I think you do live by the old saying, there's no place like home. I think that pretty much sums that up. It statistically says that it does give you an advantage.
You know, this is a tremendous game and we are going to do our best to win this game. I think it's a combination of things. I think you want to see these great players showcase their talent. Yes, you're trying to win the game because of what's at stake now. And I think there's a lot of things involved in this game and I want to try to make it the total package for the American League.
Q. You talked about the honor of starting this game. What's it going to be like for you to take the mound in front of your home fans, the same fans that have stuck by you and this team, despite some of the losses this year?
MATT HARVEY: They have been behind me and the team all year. I think it kind of shows, with all the rain delays that we have had and the amount of times I've had to sit through an hour or two hours and they are still there and still cheering.
Having the opportunity to take the ball is something I'll never forget and very thankful for, especially at home. It's my first All‑Star Game and it being at home, it's extremely special and I'm very, very thankful.
Q. Back to the home‑field advantage. How much do you think having the first two games in San Francisco in both 2010 and last year meant to the success of the club and the World Series?
BRUCE BOCHY: Well, I mean, I think it did play a part in our success. Like Jimmy said, there's no place like home. We got off to a good start because of having home‑field advantage. There's just a sense of comfort for the players. Particularly when you're in the playoffs and you have the pressure of performing like these players do to start at home does give them, I think a bit more confidence and the ability to relax a little bit.
So I do think that it plays a part. It's hard to quantify how much. Brian could probably help me with that, but I'm not sure ‑‑ you look at the numbers, and it does give I think the club a huge advantage.
BRIAN KENNY: 54 percent I think is what it is, yes.
Q. Did Terry Collins speak with you last week about Matt's workload ‑‑ inaudible ‑‑ so much talk about the blister.
BRUCE BOCHY: Naturally I talked to Terry a few times and we just played them in our town and our city and he let me know exactly where he's at. He's only limited to 100, 120 pitches tomorrow (Laughter.) Not going to try and go too hard. But Terry, he's sitting beside me in the dugout and it's great to have Terry here with me.
He's fine; he's healthy. The one thing that Jimmy and I both will do, hopefully take care of these players and send him back in the same type of shape they came in.
Q. With all the power hitters you guys have in this lineup, is it tough to put a lineup together, specifically the middle of the order?
JIM LEYLAND: Well even I can't mess that one up, I don't think. You just sit down, we put speed up front and a bunch of power guys together, a little lefty/righty. I don't think that makes a lot of difference in that game but you don't know how it's going to play out. You have to put them somewhere and I feel comfortable with the lineup that I made out and I feel very comfortable with it, as I'm sure Bruce does his. Like I said, it's pretty hard to mess that one up.
Q. Starting with Bruce, the ongoing Biogenesis scandal, we hear once the Midsummer Classic is out of the way, as many as 20 players could be suspended. What does that unhealthy situation do to impact what is supposed to be traditionally as you mentioned off the top, a celebration of baseball?
BRUCE BOCHY: Yeah, you know, I'll just say this. I totally ‑‑ and baseball, the players, coaches, managers, we all are 100 percent behind MLB and cleaning up this game and just try to eliminate any kind of drugs that these players get involved with. And so we're behind this, and hopefully when this investigation is over, we can move on, move forward, and it's a shame we are having to deal with this now. And to be honest, I'm not thinking about that. This is where my focus is now. But to answer your question, I'm behind MLB; let's clean this up.
JIM LEYLAND: I think we all support MLB's efforts to get this behind us once and for all and I think you leave it for people who are a lot smarter than me to make sure it gets done. I think it's a tremendous effort on MLB and I don't think there's any question that we support it totally.
Q. You've got a number of relievers on your roster; have you decided how you're going to use your other starting pitchers and are you going to hold someone back for the very end?
JIM LEYLAND: Well, it's more or less a rule now. I don't think if it's a written rule or unwritten rule that you have so. I will be meeting with somebody later today to discuss somebody that I will be holding back, and I've been told that you have to actually kind of tell that pitcher that he's the guy that might go.
We don't want any embarrassing situations here with a shortened game running out of pitchers. So I will designate somebody today, I'm not going to give you that information right now, but I will designate somebody. Obviously it would probably be one of the guys that's more rested, so I will do that. And you know, we'll just see how the game plays out as far as how the relievers are used.
I think I've gone on record, I think it would be probable the most beautiful touch in the world if we could somehow get a lead on the National League and play the ninth inning with the greatest closer of all time coming out of the bullpen; I assure you that would happen, but we need to get that lead first. So a lot of scenarios that could be nice, but that's why you play the game.
Q. Following up on what you just said, if you don't have a lead in the eighth, let's say, are you planning on pitching Rivera to make sure he gets into the game?
JIM LEYLAND: Mariano Rivera I assume is going to come in very healthy and you can rest assured, he will be on the mound at some point and you will see him pitch, whether it to be a hitter, an inning, depending on how the game goes, obviously if something happens, but you will see No. 42 pitch.
Q. I know you have an impossible task choosing this team, but Hiroki Kuroda has the second lowest ERA in the American League ‑‑
JIM LEYLAND: I didn't understand the question.
Q. Hiroki Kuroda has the second lowest ERA in the American League; that must have been a tough decision.
JIM LEYLAND: That's true. That's a very good point. I guess you guys know, but you don't know the name; I had some names together, about five names, which he was one of them, within the last day or so to replace a guy that I knew was going to be replaced and he was on that list and I looked at it very thoroughly.
And at the end of the day, I added Tillman because I just felt like the guy, I would almost be embarrassed not to take a guy that's 11‑3 to the All‑Star Game. I thought he deserves it. I think when you get 11 wins by the All‑Star Break, I think that's pretty hard to keep a guy off.
BRIAN KENNY: All right, our thanks to Bill Giles, to Jackie Autry, Jim Leyland, Max Scherzer, Matt Harvey, Bruce Bochy.