Saturday, June 23, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

David Price a relaxed spectator at All-Star Game

MINNEAPOLIS — Turns out not playing in an All-Star Game might be more enjoyable than playing in one.

Rays ace LHP David Price said that knowing he was not eligible to pitch Tuesday allowed him to have a much better time leading up to the game.

"It's been awesome," Price said in the American League clubhouse. "It's a lot less stressful.

"I get to be a fan, and that's probably my favorite part of baseball. I might even enjoy being in the dugout more than I enjoy being out on the field. I put too much pressure on myself out on the field; in the dugout, I can just cheer for people. It's cool."

Price, replaced on the active roster because he pitched Sunday for the Rays, had plenty of fun. He was eager to show off his custom cleats — "Jordan Retro 6s, one of one" — featuring what he called chrome bottoms. He put on Twitter a photo of his All-Star ring. He brought his 10-year-old nephew, Corey, along to ride in the red carpet parade, along with him and girlfriend Tiffany Smith. He spent the early innings tweeting from the "Social Media Concierge Room." He posed for photos with his Vanderbilt baseball national championship cap.

And all that after spending the morning at the Mall of America in suburban Bloomington riding the SpongeBob Square Pants Rock Bottom Plunge roller coaster and competing in the mall's carnival games in taping a segment with Todd the Intern for the Late Show with David Letterman set to air Thursday.

"It was the best TV thing I've done," Price said. "It was awesome. I can't wait to see it."

Heartfelt Moment: During pregame introductions, Price patted the ZIM logo on the left front of his jersey in acknowledgement of senior adviser Don Zimmer, who died last month.

Florida flavor: Four All-Stars are natives of typically football-rich Central Florida: Pirates CF Andrew McCutchen from Fort Meade, White Sox LHP Chris Sale from Lakeland, Dodgers RHP Zack Greinke from Orlando/Apopka and Dodgers SS Dee Gordon from Windermere/Avon Park. "We have baseball there, too," McCutchen said. … Alison Kearney, from Bonita Springs Charter School, was honored pregame as the Rays' rep for the All-Star teachers campaign.

Commish chatter: Commissioner Bud Selig said he is "very pleased" with the new instant replay system, though he expects tweaks going forward, such as finding a way (though not with an NFL-style flag) to speed up the time it takes managers to decide whether to challenge. In other topics covered in remarks to the Baseball Writers Association of America before his last All-Star Game, the retiring Selig said he would like to "accelerate the pace" of games, feels confident in a drug testing system he calls the best in sports, hopes to see players stop using smokeless tobacco (but won't ban it) and is pleased with the work of the committee seeking his replacement. Also, MLB vice president Joe Torre said the experimental rule aimed at reducing catcher collisions will continue.

Star stuff: Detroit's Max Scherzer got the win and Glenn Perkins of the hometown Twins the save, with teammate Kurt Suzuki catching. … Nats RHP Tyler Clippard, the Mitchell High product, had a memorable moment, air-mailing his second pitch over the catcher's head and to the backstop. ... It was the first of the 85 All-Star Games in which no pitcher worked more than one inning. … The 62 players used were a record for a nine-inning game. … The NL leads 43-40-2. … It was the third game in Minnesota, one at each Twins stadium. The others were at Metropolitan Stadium in 1965, the Metrodome in '85. … Tony Award winner Idina Menzel sang the national anthem, country singer Joe Nichols God Bless America. … Twins Hall of Famer Rod Carew threw out the first pitch. … It was the first time both managers, AL/Boston's John Farrell and NL/St. Louis' Mike Matheny, made their All-Star debuts since the Rays' Joe Maddon and Phillies' Charlie Manuel in 2009. …There were five Cuban native All-Stars: Jose Abreu (White Sox), Yoenis Cespedes (A's), Aroldis Chapman (Reds), Yasiel Puig (Dodgers), Alexei Ramirez (White Sox).

Rays note: The Twins made a slight change in their rotation for the weekend series against the Rays, so the matchups are now Alex Cobb-Kyle Gibson on Friday, Price-Phil Hughes on Saturday and Chris Archer-Kevin Correia on Sunday.

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