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July 13, 2015

Bruce Bochy

Tony Clark

Brian Giles

Zack Greinke

Dallas Keuchel

Robert Manfred

Frank Robinson

Ned Yost


THE MODERATOR: Welcome everybody to the historic baseball city of Cincinnati for the 86th annual Midsummer Classic. This, as you know, is the fifth time that Cincinnati has played host, joining 1938 and '53 at Crosley Field - a couple of us remember that one - 1970 and 1988 at Riverfront. Tomorrow night, the Reds beautiful home since 2003, Great American Ballpark will showcase the Midsummer Classic to a worldwide audience for the first time. We're all really excited. The All-Star Game itself has long been a format to celebrate the game's present and to remember its past. This year, MLB and its players have come together to focus on its future. To make a special joint announcement, it's a pleasure to welcome to the stage Commissioner of Baseball Rob Manfred and the Executive Director of the Players Association, Tony Clark (applause).

ROB MANFRED: Good afternoon, everybody. It's really a pleasure to be here in Cincinnati. I really want to begin by thanking the Cincinnati Reds and the Castellini family for being great hosts to what I think is going to be a wonderful Home Run Derby and All-Star Game. It's especially exciting for me to be here today because I'm here to announce that we've reached an agreement with the Major League Baseball Players Association, pursuant to which we will spend $30 million on the development of youth baseball and softball in the United States (applause). This announcement from me combines an important part of my past and what I hope is going to be a huge part of my future. For the better part of two decades, I worked very hard to improve the relationship between baseball, its owners and the Major League Baseball Players Association, and I take it as a real compliment to have this front row of All Stars and Major League players here to support Tony and I as we make this important announcement. In the brief time that I've been Commissioner, I have made youth participation a priority. And I think the key to our participation efforts is creating opportunities for young people to play the game. We have recently embarked on a new initiative, Play Ball. It's a grass roots program designed to get kids playing the game in its simplest form, even if it's Wiffle ball, catch, Home Run Derby, the things we did as kids. We have a great partnership with the U.S. Conference of Mayors to help that program get off the ground. We've got commitments for 120 events already this summer. We're working really hard at growing, reviving baseball in the inner cities, our RBI Program. Mark Teixeira is here. He's been instrumental in the Harlem RBI Program, a real leader. I'd like to acknowledge the contribution that he's made to this effort. Our urban youth academies, I just came back from the Cincinnati academy. I was there about 15 minutes ago. It's a wonderful facility. Of course, the Baseball Tomorrow Fund, an existing partnership with the MLBPA, pursuant to which we've built over $11 million worth of youth fields. The new program that we're debuting today is going to focus on five areas: Training of coaches, really crucial in terms of encouraging youths to play is quality coaching. We will make grants to build additional academies. I hope they're all as good as the one that Cincinnati has built here in this market. Really important, opportunities for people to play in underserved areas. It's part of baseball's legacy and part of baseball's obligation going forward. Fourth, the utilization of a great resource, former Major League players. There's nobody better to teach the game than former Major League players. Last, a topic a number of our players have talked about, defraying the cost of elite play. Elite play is important, but it's also costly and we need to do a better job of making sure that all kids have an opportunity to participate in that type of play. Next week, in historic Dodgertown, we're going to debut the Elite Development Initiative, along with USA Baseball. We're going to give some of the best high school players in the country an opportunity to play under really professional, high-quality conditions, and we're really looking forward to that initiative. I want to thank the MLBPA for getting on board with this initiative on a really short notice period, right, Tony? Not what you deserve, but you did it nonetheless. We also are establishing, in conjunction with this effort, a new 501(c)(3). We're hoping that our fans ultimately decide that they'd like to contribute to the effort that we're undertaking here. So in closing, I just want to thank everyone that's been involved in effort: Dan Halem and Tony Petitti from my staff in particular, most important, Tony Clark and his entire staff at the MLBPA. The commitment we're making today to our young people is really important to the future of the game. So thanks, Tony. (Applause).

TONY CLARK: Good afternoon, everyone. I'm going to be brief. I know it's a little warm in here. I'm excited. We're excited. This is the first time, having an opportunity to engage baseball in an area that is very personal to all of us, particularly as players. Speaking with players, whether active or inactive, being involved while you're playing, being involved when you're done playing, with youth, with youth development, youth instruction is something that we've all been a part of, enjoyed being a part of. Rob mentioned the active players here today. As most of you know, the schedule for the All-Star Game is pretty hectic. But rest assured, when I reached out to guys and asked them if they had an interest in being a part of this particular press conference, guys jumped at it. So from Anthony Rizzo here in front, Lorenzo Cain, Mark Teixeira -- I know nicknames, so you have to bear with me. I've got to remember first and last names. Andrew McCutchen, Max Scherzer -- unbelievable, Arch. I want to say "Arch". I want to say "Arch". I want to say "Arch" -- Chris Archer, Sonny Gray, David Price. So these guys jumped at the opportunity, have been engaged all along and are excited about what we've got going on here. Rob had mentioned some of his staff. Dave Winfield, Jeffrey Hammonds, Kevin McGuiness, Leonor Barua, a number of folks on our staff as well have been engaged throughout. As I mentioned, this is personal. This is personal. Growing up, we had a lot of people breathe into us, share with us their experiences, their talents in an effort to try to offer us an opportunity to realize our dreams. So when we talk about youth and youth development, coast to coast, we're talking about an opportunity for guys to give back in a fashion that is natural for them, that is normal for them. I was fortunate enough to help start an academy myself with Damion Easley and Kimera Bartee, the Warriors Academy in Arizona. That's what we did when we were winding down our careers. It's something that was personal to us. I have a 13-year-old son. My 13-year-old son plays ball. I didn't push him into it, but he started playing at 8 years old, and I can tell you now that he's 13, I don't enjoy watching him play any other sport more than I watch him play baseball. So rest assured, when we're talking about everything that's going on here with this youth initiative going forward, although it's in its infancy and although we are pushing this thing forward to affect positively as many young people as we can, both on and off the field with it, we're excited about where it's going. We're excited about what it can do both domestically and internationally as the things that we've already started there continue to grow as well. So thank you, Rob. Thank you Tony. Thank you, Major League Baseball for the opportunity to engage in this fashion and rest assured, all of you out there who are interested in being a part of what we have going on, I'm sure your phone is going to ring at one time or another to move this thing forward. So thank you everybody (applause).

THE MODERATOR: All right. Rob and Tony, thank you. Moving onto tomorrow. As you know, it's long been a tradition here on Monday afternoon to introduce tomorrow night's starting pitchers and starting lineups. And we'll start with the National League. So to introduce the Senior Circuit, we welcome a man whose baseball family is not only synonymous with the Philadelphia Phillies, but dates back all the way to the Cincinnati roots. Phillies Chairman Emeritus and Honorary National League President, Mr. Bill Giles (applause).

BRIAN GILES: I moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, 79 years ago, when my dad became general manager of the Cincinnati Reds. And then from there, kept going and moving. But I got my first job in baseball at age 14 with the Cincinnati Reds. And I saw Frank Robinson on Opening Day in 1956 play his first Major League game. And I want to remind you that in the All-Star Game record, the National League has won 43 games, American League 39, and there was two ties. But the most amazing thing I think in baseball recently has been the San Francisco Giants and Bruce Bochy. They have won world championships in three of the last five years. And Bruce led them in two of the last three years. Bruce managed 21 years in the big leagues; 12 with San Diego, nine with San Francisco. It's my real honor to introduce one of the great managers of all time, Bruce Bochy.

BRUCE BOCHY: Thanks, Bill. Is this working? All right, good. Well, first of all, good afternoon. It's an honor to be here. This is my seventh year. I've been fortunate to be at an All-Star Game seven times. And I've got to tell you, it never gets old. From a manager's perspective, it's kind of mind-blowing to have the chance to work with and manage so much talent in one place. I will say the years that I've had a chance to pick the players for the team, this has been the most difficult. It really was. A lot of the guys that had strong cases and as usual, though, there just wasn't room. But great pitchers out there, starting pitchers and relievers, especially on that end. But when it was all picked over very, very excited and proud of the 34 guys that we brought here for the 2015 All-Star Game. With that said now, I'd like to announce my starting lineup. Leading off will be playing center field, and that's Andrew McCutchen. Playing third base, hitting second, is Todd Frazier. Playing right field, hitting third is Bryce Harper. Hitting cleanup, playing first base is Paul Goldschmidt. Hitting fifth and catching is Buster Posey. Our DH, hitting sixth is Anthony Rizzo. Hitting seventh and playing shortstop is Jhonny Peralta. Hitting eighth and playing left field is Joc Pederson. Hitting ninth and playing second base is D.J. LeMahieu. Our starting pitcher, sitting beside me, is Zack Greinke. Again, had some great starters that were candidates, but these numbers he's putting up are really, really unbelievable: Last five games, he has not given up a run. He's 8-2, has a 1.39 ERA, which leads the Major Leagues. 17 quality starts; that leads the Major Leagues. I think since mid-August last year, he's 13-2 with a 1.70. So really, really amazing what Zack has been doing. So that's why he's our starting pitcher tomorrow. Thank you.

THE MODERATOR: Bochy, thank you. Moving forward, Zack, do you want to say a few words? Anything?


THE MODERATOR: All right. Thought I'd put it out there. Moving forward to introduce the Honorary President of the American League, a legend in the game, of course, and in particular here in Cincinnati, the only MVP in both the American and National Leagues still to this day. Here to announce the American League and introduce its lineup, its manager first, may I present Frank Robinson.

FRANK ROBINSON: Well, Bochy, we're not going to be intimidated by you naming all those guys. They're great players, good lineup. We're going to show up. First of all, I'd just like to take this time to introduce the American League manager. He's a baseball man. He's a baseball person. He's spent an awful lot of time on and off the field in the front office and throughout. He knows baseball inside and out. He's spent six years as a player. He's in his 12th year as a manager; six years with Milwaukee and six years with the Kansas City Royals. Last year, they brought a championship to Kansas City for the first time since the '80s. Did a tremendous job there and he's continuing to do a good job, an outstanding job this year. And I'm sure that he will really do a good job as far as the All-Star Game is concerned. He's going to be giving a lineup that I feel like can't lose. I'm not going to put any pressure on you, Ned. I'll be looking over your shoulder (laughter). But it gives me a great deal of pleasure to introduce the world champions of 2014 champions, the manager, and the manager of the All-Star Game this year, Ned Yost.

NED YOST: Thank you, Frank. Thank you. You know, like Bochy says, this is my sixth All-Star Game, but this is my first one to manage. I can remember Bobby Cox, when we were going through all those runs in Atlanta, having to pick All-Star teams. Back then, the manager had to pick all the reserves and he'd start looking at stats the first of May and had to pick that whole reserve team. Luckily for me, I had two picks player-wise and five pitchers. I'm thinking that's going to be easy, right? Boch was right, there's nothing easy about that. There's so many quality players out there that you wished you could give an opportunity to, to make the All-Star team. But with 34 spots, it's tough. I mean, it was really hard decisions. For me, I think that what got me over the edge was we have so many first-time All-Stars. I just think that this is such a wonderful experience. For me, if you become a Major League player, that's special. You're in an elite group. You're in even more of an elite group if you're an All-Star. An All-Star sticks with you for the rest of your life. Everybody from here on out is going to know you as a Major League All-Star. And the next highest level is the Hall of Fame, and we've got a bunch of those in both locker rooms, too. So it's a phenomenal accomplishment to become an All-Star. And trying to pick a starting pitcher was really, really tough, because we had great candidates. Sonny Gray, who made it easy on me; he pitched yesterday, so I didn't have to worry about him. But Chris Archer, David Price, Felix Hernandez, Chris Sale, Dallas Keuchel, all these guys. It was a tough decision. I kind of looked at numbers and studied numbers. I looked at the players' votes. I settled on Dallas Keuchel. That was a tough decision, too, looking at all these guys. I kind of set forth a criteria for him when he pitched against us the other day. About two weeks ago, maybe. I'm thinking to myself, okay, if he can just go out and show me what he's got for five good innings and then give it up, he can probably be my starter (laughter). He kind of threw a wrench into that deal, because he shoved it for eight innings. I don't think we even got a man in scoring position. So it was a tough decision, but his numbers came back. I mean, what a phenomenal year that he's having. So Dallas is going to start the All-Star Game for us tomorrow. The rest of the lineup goes like this. We've got Mike Trout playing center field, leading off. Josh Donaldson hitting second, playing third. Albert Pujols playing first. Nelson Cruz, our DH, will hit fourth. Lorenzo Cain will hit fifth. Adam Jones will play left field. Sorry, Adam, I got three center fielders starting the game. Adam is going to play left field. Salvador Perez will catch. Jose Altuve will play second base and Alcides Escobar at shortstop.

THE MODERATOR: Ned, thank you. Dallas, anything for us?

DALLAS KEUCHEL: Definitely not as seasoned as these guys up here, but I'm extremely excited for the opportunity. If it were up to me, Mr. Yost, I would probably pick one of these two fellas right here. But thank you.

THE MODERATOR: We're going to take some questions from the media. We do have some time for that. We ask that you put your hand up if you have a question for anybody here on the dais. We'll get a microphone to you. We'll try to coordinate this so we can hear what you're saying. If you'd exercise a little patience, we'll get a microphone to you.

Q. Mr. Yost, wanted to know why you picked Russell Martin as a reserve catcher for the game tomorrow.
NED YOST: Well, I had two position-player picks, and one I had to use to pick a representative from Boston because they weren't represented. And we picked Brock Holt from that. I knew going in the whole time that I'd probably want a third catcher. Again, it was a couple of sleepless nights, trying to decide between Russell Martin and Brian McCann of New York, as they both had tremendous years. But I've always admired the way Russell Martin handles the game, his toughness behind the plate, his ability to block and throw, and the way that he just calls a game. For me, he was the right choice.

Q. Coming from Montreal, there's a big buzz around town. People want to see their Expos back in town. I want to know your opinion about that. Do you think Montreal can have a team back in the near future?
FRANK ROBINSON: Well, that's a good question. I'm not a politician, so I'm going to straddle the line and tell you that Montreal is a good baseball town. It really is. I was part of it when they moved the team to DC. And then I was torn between DC, going to DC and staying in Montreal. And I would say this: I don't know when they may get another team. They certainly deserve to get another one and they have good baseball fans. That's what we're looking for and that's what Major League Baseball is looking for, good baseball cities.

Q. Mr. Robinson, since we're testing your political skills, Pete Rose is in town. He'll play a role this week. Not your opinion, but your take on his reentering the stage, for at least a couple of days, in this city where he is such a beloved star.
FRANK ROBINSON: That's up to Major League Baseball and the Commissioner's office. I have no say in it, and you didn't want my personal opinion, although I gave it to you very quietly. I have nothing else to say on that subject.

THE MODERATOR: Coming in hot, right, with Pete Rose and baseball in Montreal (laughter). Any other Canadians have questions today?

FRANK ROBINSON: Favorite city in Canada?

THE MODERATOR: I'll go Calgary.

Q. My question is for Zack. Obviously, you've been on a great roll here. It might be obvious, but is this the best roll you've ever been on in your career? If so, what have you been doing so well lately?
ZACK GREINKE: It's been pretty good. I thought the best was in Kansas City. Hitting was a little -- I guess they scored more runs back in 2009. So that was more impressive then. But no, just making good pitches and the last two games, I think it was the last two, I've been kind of lucky. Stanton got hurt right before facing Miami, and in Philly Utley wasn't there. And it's not the same team it was a couple years ago. So been kind of getting some breaks and just making a lot of good pitches.

Q. Dallas, just talk about the excitement of being told that you were the starting pitcher, just the entire process.
DALLAS KEUCHEL: Definitely very exciting. I was able to tell my family, but I couldn't really tell many more. And even my family has loose lips. So I was very thankful for them not telling anybody. But I never expected this. Just to be on the team with some of the best players in the world is truly an honor, and that's the way I'm going to approach it. Just have as much fun as I possibly can.

Q. Dallas, to see another Astro up there on the board there with you in Jose Altuve, what's it like to have a teammate in the dugout and know he's got your back?
DALLAS KEUCHEL: He's more of a seasoned veteran now. So we expect that out of him. But it's definitely going to be nice just to have a fellow teammate in the lineup and on the field behind me and playing.

Q. Ned, being the away team in the World Series last year, I know we talked about how fun this All-Star activity is and everything that's happening. But do you kind of take that, knowing you were the away team last year. What's on the line for this game?
NED YOST: Well, actually, we were the home team --

Q. Sorry.
NED YOST: -- which made a huge difference for us. For us to play four games in our atmosphere and in our park was really beneficial to us. It's important. It's going to be important to somebody in that locker room. You look at the way things go in baseball, I think last year at this time, we were six or seven games out of first place and ended up making it all the way to the World Series as a Wild Card. So everybody in that locker room is going to have a chance to continue to move forward and be playoff bound. So I think it's important for everybody in that locker room to do our best to try to win that game and get home field advantage for the World Series for whoever team gets there.

Q. This is for Bruce Bochy, two questions: First, you've managed All-Star Games before they count obviously for the World Series and home field. How difficult or easy, with all the factors involved and all the players, is it for you to manage this game?
BRUCE BOCHY: Well, the talent that you have to work with, it makes it really, really easy for my staff and myself. I think the game's changed a little bit. I'm talking about the All-Star Game. Your priority is not to get everybody in as much as it used to be. There is a lot at stake, and I think guys are getting the two or three at-bats, so they're getting stretched out a little bit more because there's a lot at stake in it. The tough part, though, is the lineup does change a lot, your lineup card. That's why I'll have my bench coach, Ron Wotus, Donnie and Price will be there to help me out. Of course, with pitching, you have to mapped out before the game starts. You can't shoot from the hip in this game; you've got to have these guys set to go and pretty much know what inning they're pitching in. It's a lot of fun. It is. You just have to be prepared going into the game. Of course, Ned's got all those moves over there. I can't let him get me.

Q. One more question: The All-Star Game is in San Diego next year. Obviously, you've spent a lot of time there, still do. How great would it be to manage an All-Star Game back in San Diego?
BRUCE BOCHY: It's great to ever manage an All-Star Game. That means there's been some good news somewhere along the line (laughter). But I love San Diego. It's a beautiful city, great city, beautiful ballpark. I think it's going to be great for the city of San Diego and I would want nothing more than to manage the All-Star Game next year, too.

Q. Zack, when you had heard the news that you were going to be an All-Star starting pitcher, were you genuinely excited? How big an honor of this for you?
ZACK GREINKE: It was good. I know my family was extra excited. My wife is less than three weeks until having a kid, possibly, so -- and then she found a way to get out here even though she probably shouldn't have. That just shows how excited the family is.

Q. Question to both managers. Ned Yost, you first, and then Bochy next. The young talent in this game and young talent in baseball at this time, it's off the charts. If you want to start the answer with Harper or Trout or the fact that they're, last time I checked, 19 players in this game under the age of 25. Just your take as an opposing manager and a manager who will be the manager of these players, on this young talent that's dominating baseball in so many positions and I guess the starting point of the question would be from the perspective of Harper and Trout, how they seem to be headlining this young act.
NED YOST: They're special talents. I tried to remember back when I came up, guys played in the minor leagues a lot longer. Just seems like we're bringing the kids that are really especially talented to the big leagues earlier and continuing to develop them at that level. And that's fun. It's fun to develop young players, especially ones that are extremely talented, to watch guys like Lorenzo Cain come to the big leagues and watch him grow into an All-Star. It's been very satisfying for me. We've got a whole team full of guys that do that. Young guys, they have energy, they have life, they have personality. It just makes older guys like me and Boch, it just kind of brightens our day a little bit when we can get involved with these guys every single day and watch them have success.

Q. Ned, you mentioned Chris Archer as a candidate. Can you just speak to what impressed you about him and how seriously you considered him to start and if you'll use all your pitchers?
NED YOST: I'm going to try to use all my pitchers. Just his poise, his numbers. When I watched him pitch against us, his slider knocked my eyes out. I'm like, man, what was that? That's a slider. I told Dale, I said, "That's a slider?" And Dale goes, "Yep. Best one in the league." So tremendous. Chris is going to fill an important role for me. He's a guy that pitched Wednesday. So if I need some length, he's the one guy that I can count on to go two innings. But we're just going to have to wait and see how it goes.

THE MODERATOR: Tony mentioned it earlier, but I want to reiterate, many of us have been involved in this event before and never have had the kind of participation we have from players today. It's great. I want to thank once again, Sonny, Chris, Andrew, Mark, Lorenzo, Anthony and Max for being here. It's really neat to see these guys here today. Appreciate your time, guys. We know how busy you are during All-Star week (applause).

Q. Bruce, I'm wondering what you've seen out of Todd Frazier so far. He was an All-Star last year, 80 RBIs. He comes in with 25 home runs and 57 RBIs. Where have you seen improvement with his at-bats this year?
BRUCE BOCHY: I haven't had a chance to see him a lot. We had one series with them. Incredible numbers he's put up. He's one of those guys, he's got a little different swing. He can look bad on one swing and next pitch, he can hit that ball out. But he's just so strong and he does such a good job at third base. Being in the West, I just don't get a chance to see him every day, but it's nice to see him hit in the two-hole for us. But incredible talent. A guy that just keeps getting better and better. There's not a park that's too big for this guy. Forget Cincinnati. He's got that plus-plus power.

Q. Ned, with your coaching staff and six players here, Alex Gordon not able to make it because of the injury, your thoughts on the rise of the Royals, if you will, and so many Royals in uniform on Tuesday night?
NED YOST: It's going to be special to have that many guys from your organization here enjoying this event. Again, this event is extremely special to me. And to be able to take a lot of my guys and be able to enjoy it with them, watch them enjoy it is going to be special. I mean, you watch the rise of the Royals the last couple years and what we did last year in the playoffs was just fantastic. I think each and every one of our players stepped up to the next level in their play. It just validates it by having that many All-Stars. It's going to be special to spend that time with my boys.

Q. Bruce, congratulations on being manager once again. I wanted to revisit the Pete Rose thing very briefly. I want to know, you played against Pete, you were a contemporary of his during your playing career. Not asking you what you think about Hall of Fame or whether he should be banned from baseball. But Major League Baseball allowing him to have some limited participation in his city where he is from, where he had his greatest fame, your thoughts on that?
BRUCE BOCHY: Well, it's coming from MLB and, hey, he's going to be involved. I don't know how involved, to be honest. I know Pete. I grew up a Reds fan, to be honest. I was a big fan of the Big Red Machine and I was here in Cincinnati and I know how popular Pete is here. So we'll welcome Pete and again, I'm not sure how involved he's going to be. But he's part of the city. He's part of the history of Cincinnati, the Reds. I'll be focused on my game. But again, I'll just wait and see if he's going to be on the field during our festivities.

THE MODERATOR: That's going to conclude our Q&A, folks. We have a couple of photo opportunities. If we could get Ned and Bruce on one side of the podium together and if we could get Zack and Dallas on the other side for a few minutes.
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