area, and there’s never a trip that way when we don’t spend time together.
But in the 1990’s, when the All Star Game was fun and fresh for me, we’d ALWAYS plan to stay together and hang out during the three-day Midsummer Classic. We also did spring training together, mainly because we were both poor and needed to share hotel expenses.
But much like most of my friends in life — if there’s no baseball, there’s no friendship, and ultimately, no fun.
But it was the All Star Games where our friendship blossomed, even though we’d drive to the park together and go in two completely different directions for 12 hours.
At the end of the day, he would show me all of the candid pics he snapped of me that I had no idea he took — shots of me standing around the dugout with guys like Greg Maddux, Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds and Cal Ripken.
In Arlington in 1995, while having a long conversation with Johnny Oates, who was the new manager of the Texas Rangers, George W. Bush walked in to say hello to his then-employee. I spent 15 minutes talking baseball with Johnny Oates and future President of the United States.
In Philadelphia in 1996, I was in the AL dugout when Cal Ripken received an accidental broken nose from White Sox closer Roberto Hernandez during the team picture. I also was the first person to interview Mark McGwire from the dugout after he won the Home Run Derby.
In Cleveland in 1997, I took all of my pals to the game and spent time on the field telling jokes with Drew Carey and got to meet and talk baseball with Joe Walsh, guitarist from The Eagles, one of my favorite bands, and John Ritter, whose Jack Tripper character in Three’s Company became a fixture in my house as a kid.
In Colorado in 1998, I took my best pal Tom Kapp to the game and we ate Rocky Mountain Oysters and watched Tim and Tug McGraw do a duet during the Commissioner’s Gala.
In 1999 — one of the years that I actually have a “baseball” memory — I got to rub up against my Pop’s hero, Ted Williams, and there wasn’t a dry eye in Fenway Park that night as No. 9 took the field. Pedro Martinez didn’t stink that night, either!
As a kid, all I ever dreamed of doing was going to ONE All Star Game. I’ve now been to 10 and I stopped going three years ago.
In 2001, I actually had the treat of doing an entire four-hour gameday broadcast with one of my original mentors, Ken Rosenthal, who was The Sporting News’ baseball insider at the time. We roamed from one side of the field to the other, interviewing everyone from Dusty Baker to Tony Gwynn.
The All Star Game was ALWAYS a fun event for a kid from Dundalk who had a dream, but the best part was figuring out which players would be cool and which ones would be jerks.
There were some guys with less-than-stellar reputations with the media who were extremely kind to me.
I remember having a nice 10-minute conversation with Ken Griffey, Jr. in 1993 here in Baltimore. I remember Gary Sheffield doing my show