Greetings from Petco Park, where the AL is the host team in a game played in an NL park. That's right. Last year's game was in Cincinnati, and the league wanted to continue alternating home teams for the Midsummer Classic but not the location. So it was weird to see the AL in the Padres clubhouse and the NL in the visitors clubhouse.
Eduardo Nunez has had a pretty good time hanging out with friends and family over the last couple of days. The player's association threw a party for their players last night, and today was the red carpet ride to the ballpark.
``It was fun man, I'm really enjoying it,'' Nunez said. ``It's different. You see it on TV, then you see it now in person. It's different.''
His most memorable conversation so far has been with former Twin David Ortiz, and it was a hoot.
``He told me, `Are you happy?' I said yes,'' Nunez said. ``He said, `This is my last one, and I'm glad. I'm like, you're glad? He said. `Yeah, I'm so tired.'
``I'm so happy be here and he's so tired to be here.''
It's a great experience for most players you ask, but I've watched Ortiz be pulled from TV interview to TV interview, then doing separate press conferences in Spanish and English. And he does it with aplomb. But perhaps it has worn him down though the years.
Nunez is just taking it all in. The biggest task for him was autographing the monumental load of memorabilia the All-Stars are asked to sign. He said it took him an hour of straight signing to get everything done.
He still wasn't sure when, or if, he's going to play tonight. He did take ground balls at short during batting practice.
The following are notes from press conference with MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred and player's union chief Tony Clark.
Games take longer
Despite the league's effort, the average time of a game is up to 3 hours and 13 seconds (that's 3:00.13). Last year, the league trumpeted that their games averaged 2:53.04.
The replay system appears to be part of the problem. Batters also have been allowed to step out of the batter's box between pitches when they initially were asked not to dawdle outside the box.
And some pitchers continue to work slowly. During a recent nationally-televised game, the Diamondbacks' Tyler Clippard took more than 20 seconds between pitches when the league wants pitches delivered in around 12 seconds.
``Pace of play, for me, is like having dandelions on your front lawn,'' Manfred said. ``I just can't get rid of them. It's an ongoing problem.''
The league remains focused on shortening games, and Manfred said there are proposals on the table with the union that addresses speeding up games.
Expansion on hold
With the NHL moving to Las Vegas, it will be interesting to see which professional sport will place a team there.
It might not be baseball, as Manfred has other things on his plate to deal with.
His immediate goal is hammer out a new collective bargaining agreement with the union. Then, he wants to solve stadium issues in Oakland and Tampa Bay. He made it clear that his preference is for a franchise to remain in Oakland.
``Until that's resolved, expansion has to stay on the back burner,'' Manfred said.
CBA a work in progress
Both Manfred and player's union chief Tony Clark did not offer any indications that any bumps have popped up on the road to a new collective bargaining agreement. The current agreement expires on Dec. 1.
``A lot has been discussed across a number of areas,'' Clark said. ``All beneficial to the extent that both sides have a pretty good idea of where the other side is. Now we'll see if we can find some common ground.''
That's it for now. Make sure you watch the pre-game presentation. Heard there's a nod to the Twins in it.
Ben Zobrist, 2B, Cubs
Bryce Harper, RF, Nats
Kris Bryant, 3B, Cubs
Wil Myers, DH,Padres
Buster Posey, C, Giants
Anthony Rizzo, 1B, Cubs
Marcell Ozuna, CF, Marlins
Carlos Gonzalez, LF, Rockies
Addison Russell, Cubs
Johnny Cueto, RHP, Giants
Jose Altuve, 2B, Hou
Mike Trout, CF, Angels
Manny Machado, 3B, Orioles
David Ortiz, DH, Red Sox
Xander Bogaerts, SS, Red Sox
Eric Hosmer, 1B, Royals
Mookie Betts, RF, Red Sox
Salvador Perez, C, Royals
Jackie Bradley, Jr., LF, Red Sox
Chris Sale, LHP, White Sox