It was very ugly for Uggla
NEW YORK -- They cheered the legends. They cheered the hometown heroes. They cheered the old owner. They booed the commissioner, booed Terry Francona and Billy Wagner, even booed Sarah Jessica Parker. But towards the merciful end of The All-Star Game That Would Never End, the Yankee Stadium Bleacher Creatures had energy only for one chant: "Hit it to Uggla."
That would be Dan Uggla, who turned in perhaps the worst performance in any All-Star Game. Ugly doesn't begin to describe Uggla's Midsummer Classic debut. An All-Star record three errors -- two in the bottom of the 10th, one in the bottom of the 13th. A strikeout with a man on first in the eighth. A double play groundout in the 10th. A strikeout with the bases loaded in the 12th. Another K in the 15th.
"Man, that was a rough night, I ain't gonna lie," Uggla, standing in front of his locker, said after the game. He smiled, then shrugged. "You just move on."
Uggla entered the game in the sixth as a replacement for the Chase Utley, and actually didn't have a ball hit to him until the 10th inning when he botched a grounder by Michael Young. One pitch later he made another miscue when he mishandled a routine grounder from Carlos Quentin. It was the first time a player had made two errors in an All-Star game since Nomar Garciaparra in 2000, and it happened on consecutive batters in a tie game.
Of course it wasn't supposed to play out like this. On Monday night Uggla -- with his brother sitting a few feet away -- slugged the first pitch he saw in the Home Run Derby, the beginning of an impressive power display. On Tuesday night, Uggla stepped onto the Yankee Stadium field -- with a dozen of his friends and family in the stands -- and was introduced as a member of the National League All-Star team. Tears welled in his eyes as he stood alongside some of the game's all-time greats.
Uggla says he wasn't rattled by the stage. "I wasn't tight or anything," he said. "There was a lot of adrenaline, yeah, but it just wasn't my night." He added, "Look, my reputation is already what it is. One bad night better not change that."
It was a long night for everyone. It was the seventh inning when National League All-Star Lance Berkman -- already showered and dressed, and ready to hit the road -- stood outside the visitor's locker room and said, "Tonight was the first time I felt this was less of an exhibition and more a competitive game that matters, with something on the line." He added, "The National League really doesn't have any ground to stand on when we're saying we're the better league."
Two and a half hours later, long after Kevin Youkilis had cracked open his first can of Red Bull, that hadn't changed, not after the media room erupted in a cheer when Justin Morneau slid into home at 1:37 a.m. ET. Everyone was happy the longest All-Star Game ever was finally over.
And no one was happier than Dan Uggla.