2011 MLB All-Star Game: The Big Event Is Finally Here

A closer look at this year's All-Star festivities taking place in Phoenix, Arizona.

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The Big Event Set For Tonight

We’re in Day Two of the All-Star Break, with no Astros baseball to comfort us. But, we do have an Astros player who will be in action tonight. Hunter Pence will take the field as a reserve for the National League.

We’ll have to see when/if Pence actually gets into the game. Last season, Michael Bourn was Houston’s lone representative, and he finished the game in the outfield while getting one late at-bat. Pence also got an at-bat in his only All-Star appearance in 2009.

We do know who the starting pitchers will be as Philadelphia’s Roy Halladay will face off with Los Angeles’ Jered Weaver. While Weaver is certainly a worthy pitcher to star the game for the American League, many were disappointed that Justin Verlander wasn’t able to start against Halladay. Verlander has arguably been as dominant as Doc this season, but since he pitched on Sunday, Verlander was ineligible to pitch in the All-Star Game.

The other thing that struck me last night as I was watching the Home Run Derby is a graphic ESPN showed about the number of All-Stars selected. In 2003, there were 70 players picked for the game, while this year, there were 84. That’s a huge increase in the number of players who can claim that they were an “All-Star,” which then devalues the status of it even more.

Still, you can bet I’ll be watching and hoping for Pence to get in the game. Maybe he’ll tweet from the dugout…

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Hunter Pence To Live Tweet 2011 Home Run Derby

How can you make the Home Run Derby more exciting? Well, more exciting if your team (the Astros) doesn’t have a player actually competing in the event?

How about following Hunter Pence on Twitter? The Astros slugger will be one of a number of players who are going to be tweeting from the field at Monday’s Home Run Derby. It’s a first for Major League Baseball, and that’s saying something. After all, the NFL and NBA got more press for players Twittering when they weren’t supposed to than for actually doing something to connect with fans. Another example of Bud Selig doing something good in an event he messed up so badly (the All-Star Game proper).

What will Hunter say? Who knows, but it’s a fun experiment that I’ll certainly be looking in on as the Derby is going on. I’ve always been a bigger fan of the Derby than the All-Star Game itself, but this makes me even more interested.

The complete list of players who will be tweeting from the field can be found at this link, but if you want the list in an easier form, look below:

David Ortiz (davidortiz), Jose Bautista (JoeyBats19) and Matt Kemp (TheRealMattKemp) will be tweeting on their accounts during the course of the event as participants, and so will other gathered All-Stars including Heath Bell (HeathBell21), Gio Gonzalez (GioGonzalez47), Brandon Phillips (DatDudeBP), Gaby Sanchez (GabySanchez215), Justin Upton (RealJustinUpton), C.J. Wilson (str8edgeracer), Howie Kendrick (HKendrick47) and Joel Hanrahan (@hanrahan4457).

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