07/09/12 8:33 PM ET
Street soaking in first trip to Midsummer Classic
By Vinnie Duber / MLB.com
"It's fun, it's crazy, it's hectic, just like everybody said it would be. I find that to be enjoyable," Street said Monday. "I've wanted to be here for eight years and looking forward every year for the announcement -- finally to hear your name called and to be here and see what it really is. Just sitting across from David Wright, [Clayton] Kershaw to my right, these are the best players in the world. You want to be considered a part of that group, and to now be an All-Star means that."
The Padres' closer said he is honored to finally be selected as an All-Star, and you could easily tell how much he was enjoying his first taste of the experience. When a familiar face said hello and asked him how he was doing, Street's response said it all.
"I'm doing great," he said, with a grin from ear to ear. "I'm loving this!"
Street's path to the Midsummer Classic has been both likely and unlikely. The numbers are outstanding. He's converted all 13 of his save chances and boasts a razor-thin 1.13 ERA, but his selection was hard to predict, given the fact that he missed 29 games with a strained right lat.
"Any time you get injured, you kind of uncheck that box. 'I can't make the All-Star team this year,' because frankly I start every season with that goal in mind," Street said. "I came back and started pitching well. I really hadn't considered it, so when [manager Bud Black] called me in the office and said, 'You made it,' total surprise. Honor, though. I feel honored."
The 83rd Major League Baseball All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 200 countries via MLB International's independent feed. Pregame ceremonies begin at 4:30 p.m. PT. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive national radio coverage. MLB Network, MLB.com and Sirius XM also will provide comprehensive All-Star Game coverage.
Fans will also have the opportunity to participate in the official voting for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player presented by Chevrolet via the 2012 MLB.com All-Star Game MVP Vote during the All-Star Game on MLB.com
Street said he was completely surprised when he learned he'd be heading to Kansas City.
"It's the first time as an adult I've ever been really surprised in a long time, other than finding out the sex of your child when it gets born. It's a gift, it really was. It felt like a Christmas gift," Street said. "You're told you're an All-Star and you get to stick that by your name for the rest of your life. It's something that I've worked for. It means a lot to me, I've cared about it. Every year I haven't made the All-Star team, I've watched the All-Star Game. I've watched the Home Run Derby, because this game means a lot to me."
Then again, maybe Street's selection shouldn't have come as a big surprise. For six of the past seven seasons, a Padres closer has been named to the National League All-Star team, with Trevor Hoffman accomplishing the feat in 2006-07 and Heath Bell following him from 2009-11. Street called it a good tradition to be a part of, and he was hoping to honor it.
Street has actually worked with Hoffman this season, and he's said that it's fitting his first All-Star selection comes in the year that he's spent time with the all-time saves leader and Padres special assistant.
"It is fitting, and I mean that. I told him that. He sent me an incredible text right after I made the team, congratulating me, and I sent him a text right back saying, 'I meant every word.' I really do," Street said. "I had some great moments with him. It's oftentimes not the baseball moments, but the [off-the-field] moments where you can pick up just a little bit of strength. He impresses people for a reason both on the field and off the field. I feel like he made me better as a baseball player and as a person. I'm here, and I have to give him some of that credit."
Hopefully for Street the tradition has somewhat loose guidelines. Bell was not so successful in his first appearance, allowing the game-winning run and taking the loss in the 2009 All-Star Game. Hoffman's career All-Star ERA is 8.53, thanks mostly to a three-run inning in '00 and a two-run frame in '06.
Still, for Street, he's all about enjoying the experience with his family.
"I'm just going to have my little boy right next to me. As long as I get to share it with him, keep him out of the way from some line drives. I'm definitely going to have a video camera down there [during the Home Run Derby]," Street said. "We're all fans. I think everybody -- it doesn't matter if you've been here six times or 12 times or 13 if you're Derek Jeter or one time like myself -- everybody's a fan, and you want to embrace these moments, because you won't get to play baseball forever and I'll look back and these will be some of the most fun times."
Vinnie Duber is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.