Marlins first baseman Gaby Sanchez is experiencing his first All-Star Game and who better to describe it than his wife, Judy who is along for the trip and has agreed to share her observations:
I woke up at 7 a.m. on Monday with butterflies in my stomach. Not quite sure why since my sole responsibility here is just to have an amazing time. I jumped up and had to get out of the room because I had too much energy to just lay in bed. Plus, Gaby needs his beauty sleep. That kid can sleep for 10 hours if you let him. I needed a map to get to the gym, that's how massive this resort is. Got in a good workout (something I promised Gaby I wouldn't be doing on this trip). I saw one familiar face; Dan Patrick was getting in his cardio on the elliptical machine just a few feet away. I'm not easily starstruck, so it wasn't a distraction. Gaby was shocked a few months ago when I walked right up to Larry Bird at a Miami Heat game and took a picture with him. I'm still waiting on someone to leave me speechless and awestruck, but it hasn't happened yet. Maybe tonight.
We saw all of the All-Stars, dressed up nice and spiffy. Jacoby Ellsbury passes right by people, flying under the radar. That kinda upsets me since he's one of my favorite players. There's some old-timers here, too. We saw Ernie Banks, took a picture with him, and chatted with him for a while.
In the afternoon, we headed out to Chase Field to watch the players take batting practice. We made bets on who we thought Gaby would be shagging balls with. We were surprised to learn he was hanging out with Andre Ethier, Lance Berkman and Andrew McCutchen. We were all wrong with our guesses. The best part of the day came next, the Home Run Derby.
Rem -- Gaby's brother -- and I got to go on the field. We sat with Gaby and Ryan Braun and had a blast. Those guys can hit! Robinson Cano was unbelievable! It was fun hanging out there and just hearing all of the guys cheering for one another. I don't think I'd ever be somewhere where Prince Fielder, Cole Hamels and Roy Halladay are all right next to each other. Everyone was so relaxed and nice, and it was refreshing to see that all these athletes are down-to-earth-guys and not the egomaniacs that they are sometimes portrayed as. Along with all the National League All-Stars, several other baseball guys made their way past us. Rem was excited to see Reggie Jackson, while Gaby was stoked to see Cal Ripken, Jr., Gaby's favorite baseball player growing up. He got a pic with him that I know will be framed in our house by week's end. Gaby has now met him twice, but is still too shy to tell him that he was his hero as a kid. Gaby picked Matt Holliday to win, saying that the times he's seen him take batting practice that he's "just absolutely ridiculous." But the National League couldn't match Cano's power. Hopefully, tonight's game has a different outcome.
There was a major logistics issue involving transportatoin and, post-Derby, there were no taxis or cars for the players to take back to the hotel. After 30 minutes of waiting out in the scorching heat, we were all shuffled onto a bus. So, Cliff Lee, Joey Votto, Jared Weaver and a bunch of other guys are all riding on his hot bus like they're on an elementary school field trip. Still, no complaints. Everyone is still all smiles and just seems very happy to be involved in the festivities.
We got back to the hotel, quickly changed, and then headed out to a dinner at Mastro's City Hall Steakhouse. It was a big group of 20 people, with Gaby, Tim LIncecum and Hunter Pence in the mix. By the time we got done at midnight, Gaby was yawning and ready to get back to the hotel. It was a fun day, but tonight is the day he's been looking forward to. It starts with a brunch, where we will receive his ring, followed by the red carpet, and then, finally, the All-Star Game. Can't wait to see him out there on that field.
(Pictured (seated left to right) Ryan Braun, Gaby Sanchez, Judy Sanchez and Rem Sanchez).
-- Judy Sanchez