Harrison, Watson revel in All-Star experience
MINNEAPOLIS — It's not overly surprising that a college baseball veteran such as Pirates reliever Tony Watson would view perhaps the most notable accomplishment of his career as a learning experience.
Watson, who grew up in Iowa and played baseball at Nebraska, returned to his Midwestern roots Monday. He met media at a downtown hotel prior to his turn as a member of the National League All-Star team determined to learn as much as he can from his teammates.
“I'm just trying to meet as many of these guys as I can,” Watson said. “They're all very talented, so I've picked their brains and honestly just enjoy it. You don't know how many of these you're going to be able to get to, and it might be the last one ever, so we try to just have as much fun with it as you can.”
Immediately, it was a kind of Cornhuskers reunion for Watson. A decade ago, he played in Lincoln, Neb., alongside Royals outfielder Alex Gordon. On Monday, they reconnected and shared a few stories of their days in red.
“It's great for Nebraska baseball,” the Pirates left-hander said. “It's crazy to think that we were on the same team in college almost 10 years ago, but to be still doing what we're doing and to be at the All-Star Game in the major leagues is pretty special.”
A few feet away, smothered by dozens of media members, Pirates star Andrew McCutchen took in a scene he has become familiar with as he prepared to play in his fourth consecutive All-Star Game. He said he was happy to offer friendly advice, and some fashion advice, to Watson and fellow first-timer Josh Harrison.
“I told them it can sometimes be a little overwhelming, but for the most part, try to take it all in and make of the most of it,” said McCutchen, who will start in center field and lead off for the National League. “They were more worried about what do you wear. That's kind of what every guy asks for this, ‘What do I have to wear?' So I let them know. They're having a good time.”
For Harrison, being at an All-Star Game isn't totally new. He was named to All-Star teams in two Single-A leagues, at Double-A and at Triple-A. But he admitted this experience is something different entirely.
“It's been a blessing. You always dream of stuff like this, and to finally get here, the past week I didn't know how things were going to go,” Harrison said. “Now my family's here, and they got here smooth, it's been a fun transition. There's a lot of things going on so you just want to take it all in.”
Watson needed 15 tickets for friends and family, and he said several other friends and old coaches said they would be in Minneapolis for the game. Cognizant of the World Series home-field advantage at stake, Watson's primary goal is winning the game. For Harrison, who brought two outfield gloves and two infield gloves to Target Field, the goals are simpler — just get on the field at some point.
“I'm not starting but ready to get in there, double switch, pinch hit. I'm looking to get in there in any way I can,” Harrison said. “I'm ready to roll wherever they put me. I bring all my gloves for a reason.”
Jess Myers is a freelance writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pirates say goodbye to veteran leaders Burnett, Ramirez
- Pirates notebook: Fastball command issues hurt Cole against Cubs
- A field day on social media as Pirates’ Rodriguez attacks Gatorade cooler
- Rossi: Cole is simply not good enough for Pirates
- Pirates no match for Cubs, Arrieta in wild-card loss
- Starkey: Pirates gaining bad big-game rep
- Managers opt for different strategies in wild-card contest
- Cubs’ Fowler, Schwarber deliver to sink Pirates
- Pirates notebook: Tempers boil after Arrieta beaned
- Gameday: Pirates vs. Cubs, Sept. 16, 2015
- Cubs’ youth movement pays dividends, leads to postseason berth