Yount feels Selig's pain after difficult decisionPosted: Tuesday July 09, 2002 8:29 PM
Updated: Wednesday July 10, 2002 6:00 AM
MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Thirty minutes after Bud Selig made his most painful decision since announcing the 1994 World Series would not take place, he found a shoulder to lean on.
Hall of Famer Robin Yount was the friendly face leaving the Milwaukee Brewers' clubhouse when Selig came through the door.
"What a way to end, huh?" Selig said.
Almost in a whisper, Selig explained there weren't any pitchers left, and he felt terrible at having to call off the 73rd All-Star Game after 11 innings.
This was the night Selig had looked forward to ever since he convinced Wisconsin lawmakers in 1995 to build the $400 million Miller Park to keep baseball in his hometown.
Yount said he understood a tie was the last thing Selig wanted to see and he tried to comfort him by saying in time everybody else would realize that, too.
Selig shrugged. He knew that although there weren't any winners, there were plenty of losers on this night.
Then he thanked Yount for serving as the American League's honorary captain and said he'd see him again soon.
"You did what you had to do, chief," Yount shouted as the door shut.
Yount said he felt bad for Selig, whose family still runs the Brewers.
"This is Bud's back yard," Yount said. "No one wanted it to end that way, especially not him."
This was the last thing Selig or baseball needed, Yount said. A labor war looms, and what was supposed to be a reprieve from talk of steroids and strikes instead turned into one more black eye for baseball.
"When it rains, it pours, doesn't it?" Yount said.
Like crying, there's not supposed to be any tying in baseball, but the bizarre ending couldn't dampen Damian Miller's night.
The Arizona Diamondbacks' catcher who grew up in West Bend, Wis., and still lives there in the offseason, tied an All-Star record with two doubles Tuesday night in front of 17 relatives.
Would they be disappointed?
"I hope not. I probably would have felt the same way, but they'll wake up tomorrow and look back and know they got a chance to see an All-Star Game in Milwaukee and they got a chance to see Curt Schilling pitch and Sammy Sosa play. These are the best players in the world," Miller said.
"They'll realize it was a pretty good game and they'll be glad they went even though it ended up in a tie."
Benito Santiago, playing in his first All-Star Game in a decade, called it the weirdest moment he's ever had in baseball.
The crowd at Miller Park was booing after it was announced that unless the National League scored in the bottom of the 11th, the game would end in a tie.
Santiago came up with two outs and a runner at second, the chance to be the hero.
"You don't know how many things went through my mind right there," Santiago said. "I was thinking, 'My God. It's been 10 years. I can get a hit and maybe be the MVP of the game."
But Freddy Garcia struck him out with a wicked cutter.
"That pitch started in the other dugout and finished right behind me at home plate," Santiago said. "He's one of the tough guys out there. He gave me a fastball to hit and I missed it and after that the guy did his job."
That's when the booing really got loud and bottles and other items were thrown onto the field by angry fans.
The answer man
Atlanta's Tom Glavine, who didn't play in the All-Star Game because of a blister on the index finger of his pitching hand, tried to lighten the mood.
"They kept asking me to go out there and pitch," he said. "I didn't change my mind."
But Glavine sure had a lot to say about the tie that gave baseball another black eye on a night that started as a vacation from the sport's troubles.
"It was unfortunate, but it would have been a far worse decision to let somebody go out there and get hurt," Glavine said. "That's not what we're here for. And that's not what anybody wanted the game to be remembered for."
But it will be remembered as one of baseball's biggest letdowns.
Glavine sympathized with the fans -- to a point.
"They came here to see a game and they came to see an outcome. They got to see a well-played game up that that point," Glavine said. "You feel obviously somewhat empty because you don't have a decision. But ... the worse decision would have been to carry on and have Freddy Garcia or Vicente Padilla get hurt, and I think that would have been the wrong thing to do."
His suggestion: "Maybe add two or three players to the roster, so if something like this happens again, we've got some guys you can go to."
The youngest person on the field before Tuesday night's All-Star Game was 2 1/2-year-old Jorge Posada IV, who trotted out ahead of his father when the American League starting catcher's name was announced.
With eye black under his eyes, young Jorge lined up with the other AL starters, then was held by his father during the U.S. and Canadian national anthems. Manny Ramirez actually caught the youngster and prevented him from running too far into the field.
Born in November 1999, the youngster has undergone a series of operations because of craniosynostosis, which occurs when the bones in a baby's skull fuse before the brain has stopped growing.
Another guest in the AL dugout was former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani. He came out onto the field after the AL batted in the first inning to receive a warm ovation from the crowd.
Bob Uecker was juuuuust a little bit outside the All-Star festivities this week.
The baseball comic and Brewers broadcaster missed the Home Run Derby on Monday night because he was out on his boat on Lake Michigan.
Aside from a cameo appearance Tuesday night, the slapstick star of TV shows, beer commercials and the Major League movies spent the All-Star break in his hometown the way he spent them during his playing career: with a little R&R.
You couldn't get away from his presence at Miller Park, however.
His signature home run call -- "Get Up! Get Up! Get Outta Here! Gone!" -- was in lights in the left field seats, ready to sparkle with every home run, and in the upper deck were the 'Uecker Seats' -- 106 obstructed view chairs that normally sell for a buck but went for $175 Tuesday night.
Aaron gets medal of Freedom
Hank Aaron, baseball's career home run king, was among 12 people honored Tuesday with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
President Bush presented the nation's highest civilian honor to leaders from the arts, sports, entertainment, politics and journalism in the East Room of the White House.
Bush said Aaron "overcame poverty and racism to become one of the most accomplished baseball players of all time."
Aaron hit 755 home runs in his 23-year career with the Milwaukee and Atlanta Braves.
He passed Babe Ruth as baseball's all-time home run leader on April 8, 1974 when he hit No. 715.
Aaron retired in 1976 and was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982.
Among the others receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Tuesday were Bill Cosby, Placido Domingo, Nelson Mandela, Nancy Reagan and Fred Rogers, whose Mister Rogers' Neighborhood spanned more than three decades of public television.
Speaking of awards ...
There will be a Cy Young and MVP award given even if a work stoppage cuts this season short.
The Baseball Writers Association of America voted 33-13 Tuesday to give its annual awards out no matter what happens with baseball's troubled labor situation.
The BBWAA gives the MVP, Cy Young, Rookie of the Year and Manager of the Year awards in each league. The BBWAA handed out awards following the strike-shortened 1994 season, as well.
The BBWAA also nominated three writers for the J.G. Taylor Spink Award to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. The nominees are Hal McCoy of the Dayton Daily News, Peter Gammons, formerly of The Boston Globe, and Murray Chass of The New York Times.