CINCINNATI — The Reds started a countdown to the 2015 All-Star Game by breaking out the bunting and bursting into a standing ovation.
A few of them also started to dream about playing in it.
Commissioner Bud Selig awarded the midsummer game to Cincinnati on Wednesday, rewarding years of persistence by owner Bob Castellini. The city hasn't hosted the game since 1988, when the Reds played at Riverfront Stadium.
"I can't imagine what's going to happen, but I think it's going to be beautiful," said second baseman Brandon Phillips, a two-time All-Star under contract through 2017.
It'll be the fifth time the game is played in Cincinnati, the stage for one of the most memorable All-Star moments. Pete Rose bowled over Indians catcher Ray Fosse to win the 1970 game at Riverfront.
The Reds moved into Great American Ball Park in 2003. Castellini became controlling partner in the ownership group after the 2005 season and was determined to bring the game back to his home city.
"I'll say one thing for Bob: Man, he is persistent," Selig said. "I could use a couple other terms to describe him. One starts, 'A pain in … ' But tenacity is a great virtue."
According to some reports, the Marlins were a strong candidate to host the 2015 game but were rejected in the wake of their offseason fire sale.
UPTONS UNITING?: The Braves, who signed former Rays centerfielder B.J. Upton as a free agent this offseason, are in serious talks with the Diamondbacks to acquire Upton's younger brother, rightfielder Justin, espn.com reported. Justin, at 25 three years younger than B.J., finished fourth in NL MVP voting in 2011 but battled injuries and inconsistency last season. On his Twitter account, B.J. wrote, "Please don't tease me like this. … Would be a dream come true if it happens."
Also, Braves All-Star catcher Brian McCann, who had offseason surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder, said he hopes to beat projections and start on opening day.
D'BACKS: Shortstop Chris Pennington avoided an arbitration hearing by agreeing to a two-year, $5 million contract.
PHILLIES: Former Rays outfielder Delmon Young can earn $600,000 based on his weight this season. Young's $750,000, one-year contract allows him to earn $2.75 million in bonuses. The deal calls for him to get on a scale on six occasions to be chosen by the team. He'll receive $100,000 each time he makes weight, according to details obtained by the Associated Press.
RED SOX: First baseman Mike Napoli has two ways to boost his income to $13 million this season: stay on the active roster for at least 165 days or get 625 plate appearances with at least 120 days on the roster.