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July 13, 2009
ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI
BUD SELIG: Good morning. I want to thank all of you who have joined us in St. Louis. I also want to take this opportunity to thank the St. Louis Cardinals, City of St. Louis, for hosting the 80th Major League Baseball All-Star Game. It goes without saying that this is truly one of the great baseball cities in America.
As we were planning for this year's All-Star Game, the country was and is in the midst of the greatest economic downturn since the Great Depression. Those facts are clearly inescapable. Given that and given the fact that baseball is a social institution, with, I believe, very important social responsibilities, we decided it was very important for Major League Baseball to focus efforts on community service and our charitable initiatives.
At the center of this effort is the All-Stars Amongst Us Program. We created this initiative with People Magazine to celebrate 30 people who are making a difference in their communities by honoring them at the All-Star Game. And I want to say to all of you and to those people this morning, they are pillars of their community. They help the under privileged, fighting disease, supporting our troops. The All-Stars Among Us have sacrificed their time and energy to help others. And that's what we are here today to celebrate.
We are grateful to have them here with us. We would like to ask now all of the All-Stars Among Us to stand up so we can applaud your truly outstanding and wonderful efforts. (Applause).
We are planning a very special pregame ceremony that will pay tribute to thes individuals, and the deeds they have done and continue to do.
I'm also very proud that all five of the United States presidents have participated in a video discussing the importance of community service, and honoring the All-Stars Among Us. Their involvement in the ceremony emphasizes the importance of the message of service to the community.
To put the exclamation point on the pregame ceremonies, President Obama, as you well know, will be with us tomorrow night to throw out the first pitch. So I thank all of you for coming, enjoy the next 36 hours and it's a pleasure to have all of you here today. Thank you.
BOB COSTAS: Thank you. Paul Caine is the president of People Incorporated Style and Entertainment Group, and he would like to make some short remarks.
PAUL CAINE: Thank you so much, Bob. First and foremost I would like to thank Major League Baseball for being an incredible partner for us throughout this entire campaign. Most importantly, though, I want to draw your attention again to these 30 important people, these All-Stars. We are so honored to have you represent the very best of humanity. I am so excited to be here for the All-Star festivities personally. I'm a huge baseball fan, but above all else, I'm just impressed with how above and beyond Major League Baseball has gone with this year in particular, by highlighting community service and also charity initiative, and both of which are essential and central to the People brand.
President Obama has made community service a top priority and he will be here tomorrow night.
Commissioner Selig has mentioned and I'm so thrilled that he and all of the presidents are going to be here to honor all of you. With two iconic organizations like People and Major League Baseball, we anticipated the campaign was going to get a huge response but we had no idea the level of response it was going to get. Thousands of people entered to become one of you. 750,000 people voted to make sure you would be sitting here today and all of this happened online, which is incredible considering what's going on around us today.
We are thrilled to be partners with the campaign and with Major League Baseball and we would like it to salute not only you but all of the people out here doing incredible community service work. Thank you for being here and congratulations to all of you, and you thank you Major League Baseball for everything you have done on our behalf.
BOB COSTAS: Peter Castro is the deputy managing editor of People Magazine. Thank you, Bob. I'll be brief. I know you all have other business to attend to. I would like to reiterate Paul's gratitude to everyone for being here today and especially Major League Baseball. Last night I got to spend some time with the honorees and it was truly inspiring to hear firsthand how they have dedicated their lives to others and what modest people they are.
Celebrating heroes has been part of our DNA since we were founded in 1974 and every week in the magazine we feature a new hero among us. 43 million readers look at these stories of every day individuals who dedicate their lives to making a difference. We can't live on Jennifer Aniston stories alone; unfortunately our readers could not live with that. On that level alone, I thank you. The All-Stars Among Us campaign extends us the Heroes Among Us franchise campaign which has been very successful dedicated to the receive the courage of individuals dedicating their lives to making a difference. On behalf of People Magazine, I thank you very much.
BOB COSTAS: Thank you, Peter, Paul, and Commissioner Selig. Now to move into the baseball portion of the press conference, let's bring up the honorary president of the National League.
COMMISSIONER SELIG: Thank you, Bob. I don't want to put any pressure on my good friend, Charlie, here, but I have been president of the National League for seven years, and I have yet to win an All-Star Game. (Laughter.)
And as Charlie is a very special man, in Japan they call him Aka Oni; the Philadelphia players call him Charlie, but the players call him Big Chuck. Charlie has never finished below second place in his eight years managing, has a winning percentage over .540 and has been to the playoffs three times. If you study his life story, he's overcome a whole lot of adversity in his life, and here he is today. So it's my honor to introduce the manager of the National League All-Star Team, Charlie Manuel.
CHARLIE MANUEL: Thank you, Bill. I'm very excited about being here today, and actually this room kind of puts me to the mind of when I first arrived in Japan, I was in Japan six years, I was a pitcher for the Major Leagues and once I got there and got off the plane, it was a long trip over there, and the room was a little bit darker than this, but this puts me in the mind of it, how we have a lot of people in here with a lot of cameras, and I wasn't used to that. It was kind of petrifying to me but I learned over the years to start liking it, okay.
So anyway, it's my pleasure to be here. I'm really excited about managing the All-Star Team this year, my first time, of course, and I look forward to it. We've got a great team and every one of our team are, of course and making out my lineup in, some ways it's hard and some ways it's very easy, I don't see how I can go wrong, really. I thank you for having me here today.
Do I announce my lineup now? My lineup is Hanley Ramirez leading off, Chase Utley in second, Albert Pujols hitting third playing first base, Ryan Braun hitting fourth playing right field, Raul Ibanez hitting fifth playing left field, David Wright hitting sixth playing third base, chain victory know hitting seventh playing centerfield, Yadier Molina catching hitting eighth and Tim Lincecum pitching hitting ninth.
BOB COSTAS: Tim Lincecum, as you can plainly see seated alongside Charlie Manuel. Some quick remarks about the honor of being starting pitcher?
TIM LINCECUM: First off, this is a great accomplishment for me. I think tomorrow, the big thing is just going to be getting on the field, just excited to be in the game, the experience, the Home Run Derby.
BOB COSTAS: The honorary president of the American League is Jackie Autry, as you all know, she and her husband, Gene, once were the owners of the Angels. Perhaps they should take deed to the Yankees, as well, based on recent results. Here is Jackie Autry.
JACKIE AUTRY: Introducing the gentleman to my right, is a true pleasure. This man spent 31 years in the Angels organization until he was appointed manager of the Rays in 2005 and he spent 12 years on our Major League Club and did an excellent job when he was with us. When he was appointed manager of the Rays, he had a 224-check 461 winning percentage. He led the Rays to a 31-game improvement over their 2007 record and is the largest improvement American League in history.
He was named in 2008 American League Manager of the Year by the Baseball Writer's Association of America; thank you, ladies and gentlemen, the Sporting News and USA Today. For the past three winners between Thanksgiving and Christmas, he has hosted thankness for 80 individuals in the Tampa area and I have to tell you, ladies, he also got married in the off-season. (Laughter.)
It's now my pleasure to introduce my dear friend who this will be his first managing job in the All-Star Game, Joe Maddon.
JOE MADDON: First of all, I really am grateful for this opportunity to manage the American League All-Stars. Coming off of our season last year is quite a year, as you described, a wonderful group of young athletes getting to the World Series for the first time, and for me, as an inexperienced manager was a great experience. So from the Tampa Bay Ray Organization, I want to mention the entire group, because I would not be sitting here without all of those individuals. Really an incredible season. Let's go to the starting lineups. I'm going to go down one through nine obviously.
Batting first and playing right field will be Ichiro. Batting second and playing shortstop will be Derek. (Laughter.) Batting third and catching will be Joe. Batting fourth and playing first base will be Mark. Batting fifth and playing left field will be Jason. Batting sixth and playing centerfield will be Josh. Batting seventh and playing third base will be Evan. Batting eighth and playing second base will be Aaron. And batting ninth, possibly, we'll see how it all works out, starting pitcher Doc.
What happened is when you go play the Seattle Mariners, they always send the lineup over in advance and they will have the leadoff hitter listed at Ichiro, and when I was with the Angels we would send it back with Darren or David and with the Rays, we accepted it back as B.J. I just wanted to introduce on a first-name basis this year. But again, it's quite an honor and privilege to be here. I'm looking forward to this experience a lot, and hopefully we'll bring back the World Series first game and possibly seventh game to the American League. Thank you.
BOB COSTAS: The starting pitcher obviously for the American League, representing at least for the moment, the Toronto Blue Jays. (Laughter.)
ROY HALLADAY: Not looking forward to this part of it. (Laughter.)
I'm obviously very honored. I've had a chance to be here a few times, and you know, never really thought about starting, but once it was announced, it is a big difference, and it is a special experience. It's something I'll always remember. I'm just glad that I wasn't the one trying to decide who was going to start based on some of the other available guys we had. I don't know if it's because Hampton beat me five or six times in the last year, maybe that led to it. Thank you anyway.
JOE MADDON: 3-2.
ROY HALLADAY: Just a great honor for me. I'm extremely excited, and another kind of highlight moment for me in my career, so thank you.
Q. You talked about the difference, just this experience as a starter compared to not starting an All-Star Game. Can you elaborate on that and what it means?
ROY HALLADAY: I think every year you go in, you're just honored just to be in the group of guys that you're around. You look through the clubhouse, and I've always found myself wondering what I was doing there.
I think that when you do get that chance to be the first one out, it's special, because you realize the guys that are around you, the guys who are in the clubhouse and the guys who are across the field, you know, it's something that doesn't happen very often.
You know, I think just from that aspect of being amongst that type of group of guys, it's just a special feeling.
Q. Can you walk us through the decision process on pitching?
JOE MADDON: Like Roy was just talking about, it's very difficult to actually pick that one guy. There's so many qualified pitchers among the group; but, based on the body of work, also, I think Doc, over the last several years has demonstrated to be possibly maybe the best pitcher in the American League.
And once again, this year, I get to see him way too often. He's still at the very pinnacle of his pitching ability. So it's not an easy decision to make, and of course Cain was definitely considered,just based on this season and the body of work, I thought that he deserved the nod.
Q. You asked Don Wakamatsu, a rookie manager to be a coach; what was your thought process?
JOE MADDON: I first met him in the early 80s when he was a young catcher at Arizona State University. I was a scout in Arizona at the time, and I had a chance to work with him as a player. Actually, Jim Brock, the manager at that time of Arizona State brought him to practice got to work with the players and I got to know him at that time. As he moved along, I got to work with him in different baseball camps and eventually side-by-side in the Angels organization;
Getting an opportunity to manage at the Major League level, I believe he's very talented and I thought it was important to get him out and really maybe create a little bit more exposure for him right now at the onset of his career. And part of it is friendship and part of it is the fact that I think that he is very good at what he does. He and I go way back, and I think that he is redeserving of this moment.
Q. In the last week everybody seems to be speculating about where you might or might not be heading. As a guy who is pretty private by nature, has it been hard listening to this stuff?
ROY HALLADAY: Yeah, it's tough. Obviously I'm somewhere that I enjoy being and spent my entire career, so there's a lot I think that goes into it.
But you know, I think as a player, there's that will to win and there's that will to do it in October, and basically that's all this has been about is I would like to chance. And I'm not saying it won't be Toronto. It's just what's going to be best for the organization, are we going to be able to do that, and how do we move forward.
But it has been tough because I do enjoy Toronto so much, and you would like to be, you know, three games up in first place and not have to deal with this. You know, hopefully that's -- you know, tough division, but that would be the ideally think.
Q. Joe, not so often players listed at utility players are not in the All-Star program, can you talk about Ben Zobrist and how he helps you in the game tomorrow?
JOE MADDON: If you look at his numbers they are quite spectacular actually. Turns out he started the year as an NCU guy. He's been hunkered down at second base, but if you look at his numbers compared to the rest of the league, I could not overlook that in spite of the fact that he played for us, I did not want to turn away from that for that reason, either. But I also believe that the SU player is a very important player in today's game.
When you are going to carry 12 pitchers on a pitching staff, when you have one guy that has this ability, he makes it easy to carry 12 men on a pitching staff. Right now he is playing second base at a high level, and yesterday he tagged on a perfect throw and played left field on the last two innings in yesterday's game. So for me, I just think that as we move this thing further along, and as this position becomes more prominent, which I think it will, I think at some point you are going to see an SU position on the ballot at some point, because again, we are trying to win this game. It's not just an exhibition, and as this game is going to be in progress, having a guy like that on your bench permits you to do other things so for a lot of reasons, but for no other reason, just based on what he had done this season.
Q. When you put together the National League team with the outfield, how did you end up putting that outfield together and did you need Victorino, because he is someone that could obviously play centerfield in Belcher's absence?
CHARLIE MANUEL: We have seven outfielders on our team, and I saw Hawpe play centerfield and since he's had an injury he's been playing all right field and I looked at it and Victorino, I wanted a guy that had played centerfield and was a true center fielder to put out there. And that is how I made my decision. Hawpe is a great player and I like everything about him, and I'm sure I'll work him into the game.
Q. What will your strategy be as far as getting as many players into the game for the fans, but making sure you avoid getting hamstrung in ways that some managers have been in the past?
CHARLIE MANUEL: Go ahead, Joe. (Laughter.)
JOE MADDON: Well, I've been thinking about it a lot obviously. The fact that it's a National League game makes it more difficult, I believe in. An American League game, you can pretty much choreograph the game before it begin and have an understanding of who you can get in.
Being it's a National League game, it's going to represent a bunch of different problems as the game is in progress, you go from theory and reality hits you in the face. From my perspective, again, I want to get as many guys in the game as possible, but however, as the game is tied and it's late, you have to keep some contingency plans in the back, not only pitching-wise, but position player-wise because you don't want pitchers to have to hit later in the game.
I've been thinking about that a lot, and it's definitely going to be a balancing act. And listen, it's going to be my first time doing it, too, and I'm not saying I'm the sharpest stick in the pile, either. I'm just going to try to play along properly, with the help obviously of our crack coaching staff and see if we can do this thing in the right way, but you're going to have to prepare contingencies, also, which may preclude you from using everybody in the game.
CHARLIE MANUEL: I think probably one of the hardest parts about it is trying to get as many people in the game as possible, and the way that you've got to set up your pitching and basically win, and get guys in the game. Sometimes if you start making moves real early, you might run out of players. Depends on how the game is going, of course, and I think that I've got to use my coaching staff and I've got to use Tony La Russa and Joe Torre, because I think if they have been there and I haven't, it's going to be a lot of movement in the game, more movement than I've ever had to do.
Q. For both Joe and Charlie, can you give us your opinion on the results of the game being tied to the World Series as far as whether this is an appropriate benefit or whether it is overweighted considering the magnitude of the World Series.
JOE MADDON: Well, I mean, that's what we have chosen to do and I'm all for it. Last year, for instance, we did not take advantage of it. Obviously it was great that the American League had won, I'll tell you that, going into the post-season, it was nice to know that we had home-field advantage throughout. We just did not utilize it.
By placing more weight on this game, obviously, we are just talking about the strategical part of it, it definitely takes on a different shape because of all of that. I'm all for it. I think it makes this moment a lot more interesting, I'll tell you that, and a little bit tighter, I'll tell you that, too, because you're playing for the entire league. And for us with the Rays, we believe we have a legitimate chance to get back to the World Series, also and if you check out our home record it's quite different from the road record. You get a chance to play the first game at home which is significant, and possibly the seventh. For me, I like it.
I know our guys here, all of the All-Stars are going to play to win, regardless. However I think by putting this little extra weight on the end of it, believe me, man, when it comes down to that point of the season, you want to play the first game at home, and possibly the seventh.
CHARLIE MANUEL: I look at it a lot the same way. I think that home-field advantage definitely is big. I think that a rule is a rule and that's what I've always played by, and believe me, we want to try to win the game, too.
I know all of our team and all of our players, too, we are out there to win and I can't imagine doing anything where I wouldn't want to win. I will say that to our guys, but at the same time, I might not even have to, because I know they are professionals and I know they are going to play as hard as they possibly can.
And we will try, like I said, to get everybody in the game as much as possible, but at the same time, winning is always a priority for me. That's the No. 1 thing. Any time I give a talk to my team about anything, it's winning. I'm sitting here today because our team won, and they put me here, and I'm going to manage this game just the same way.
But at the same time, it's also a game to relax and have fun, but fun is like having a cake and just having a plain cake out there; and winning would be putting the icing on the cake. That's the way I look at it.
Q. In light of last year, will you take any special steps tonight, like locking yourself in a germ-free room?
TIM LINCECUM: No, just try to load up on a bunch of liquids, stay hydrated. I will have Cain around my neck and keep me in my room (laughter). Other than that, that's all I have planned.
Q. As a guy that's been in the National League a long time now, do you think, does it bother players in that league and people in that league that it's been so long since the National League has won the All-Star Game? I think this is six years in a row where interleague play favored American League teams. Is there any kind of complex of the National League developing?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I hear that a lot and the players hear that, too. That's motivation and something else to play harder for, then I hope it works. Yeah, I hear that, and I think our league definitely wants to win, and we would love to be called the superior league.
I think it is; it's competition, and also, I think the Phillies are looking to get back into the World Series, and I would like nothing better than to see Joe there with me. So therefore, when we play the game, that's how we are going to look at it and that's how it's going to be, and we are going to try to bring all of that attention back to the National League.
BOB COSTAS: I would like to thank everybody up here on the panel. We thank you all for being here. Thanks very much.
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