Matt Capps cherishes the all-star experience
The coolest part for Matt Capps came before he saw his name next to "WP" in the box score of the 2010 All-Star Game. It came before he realized he had a chance to be the winning pitcher, which was as soon as his front-hip sinker zipped past David Ortiz's state. It came before he actually entered the game. That was pretty cool -- "I got to come in and pitch the same frame as Roy Halladay," Capps said -- but it wasn't as memorable as what happened before the game.
The coolest part was when Capps stood on the foul line at Angels Stadium and heard his name mentioned with all the other all-stars, with Pujols and Lincecum and Halladay and Rodriguez and Jeter. That's what he was looking for to most. One opening day, when he still pitched for the Pirates, he lined up and heard his name announced. He turned to Matt Morris, a veteran starting pitcher, and said, "I don't think that will ever get old."
"Wait 'til you hear your name announced at an all-star game for the first time," Morris said.
Those words stuck with Capps. "And then when it happened, he was right," Capps said. "It didn't let me down."
During the week, Capps met fellow major leaguers he hadn't known well, especially Tim Lincecum. They chatted a while in the outfield during batting practice, and not a lick about baseball. He caught up with Brian McCann, with whom he had played on a Georgia all-star team as a 17-year-old. Capps bragged today that the MVP (McCann), winning pitcher (himself), the player who made the game's biggest defensive play (Marlon Byrd) and the pitcher who got the save (Jonathan Broxton) all hailed from Georgia.
When the whirlwind ended -- "just things to do constantly from 9 in the morning 'til midnight" -- Capps hauled back more than memories. He had a jersey signed by every member of the National League team. He kept the jersey he wore during batting practice, his hat, his spikes, a game ball.
Capps took a 6 a.m. flight from Tampa to get to the park today, but he couldn't wipe the smile off his face.
"As tiring and exhausting as it was, I had an absolute blast," Capps said. "I wouldn't change a bit of it. We had a ton of fun."
July 16, 2010; 6:41 PM ET
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