Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays' Moore awed by first All-Star experience

NEW YORK — Actually, it was the shoes.

Rays LHP Matt Moore was impressed and awed by a lot of things during the first day of his first All-Star experience, from how well he was treated to the treats in his locker, including a dark blue pair of Nike spikes with a gold hologram.

"Everybody's really happy to be here, really happy for everybody. There's just tons of excitement," Moore said. "The cleats that were sitting in my locker were the stuff you see on TV, but I had never really envisioned myself receiving these or possibly putting them on my feet one day.

"I feel more than lucky to be here, to be honest with you. It really is something that as soon as we start to suit up and get closer to game time and get on the field, it's going to hit me even more as far as what's actually going on around me. I try to be aware of my surroundings. This is definitely one of the coolest surroundings I've ever had."

Moore said he got all kinds of advice on handling the All-Star experience, from Rays first-base coach George Hendrick telling him to get all the ball- and bat-signing out of the way first to LHP David Price advising him to take his time and not rush through any of the events.

Also, fashion tips. "He also told me you don't have to wear a suit, you don't have to try to impress on your first day,'' Moore said.

AL manager Jim Leyland told the Times that Moore, who has 13 wins and will be on full rest, would be used. "That's why he's here,'' he said. There was word late Monday he is tentatively slated for the fifth and/or sixth innings.

Moore has his parents, brother, sister-in-law and girlfriend to share the experience.

MORE RAYS: The Rays are also represented by head athletic trainer Ron Porterfield, strength and conditioning coordinator Kevin Barr and assistant home clubhouse manager Jose Fernandez.

SUNSHINE BUD: Commissioner Bud Selig, speaking Monday at a Politico-sponsored event, said he remains hopeful the Rays, and Marlins, can become successful franchises.

"Tampa, we have a stadium problem there, there's no question about it. It is what it is. There's no secret. They've got a wonderful team. I think they're 2½, 3 games out this morning at the break and not drawing well. But I really think it's the stadium and its location," he said. "And then the Miami thing, we've had some things happen that need to be corrected. But I certainly haven't given up on Florida. The demographics are too good."

LOCAL YOKELS: Two players from Tampa Bay area high schools are making their first All-Star appearances as part of the NL team.

Tampa Alonso High product Jose Fernandez's selection is the latest achievement in a dizzying rookie season for the 20-year-old Marlins pitcher. "It is a dream to be an All-Star," he said. "I wasn't expecting it to be this soon, but it happened this time. I'm incredibly blessed for the chance to be here around these players, the best in the game."

Pasco High product OF Domonic Brown was rewarded for his breakout season with the Phillies, elected by the players. "That was unbelievable," he said. "The fans are great but to get it from the players is even better."

MISCELLANY: NL manager Bruce Bochy chose Mets ace Matt Harvey to start in his home park, but he said it "really wouldn't have mattered what city we were playing in with the year he's had." … Leyland said Scherzer's 13-1 record for the Tigers made him an equally obvious choice: "I don't think I have to explain anything more than that." …The rosters include a record 39 first-time All-Stars.

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