Wire Taps: Washington Nationals President Obama's 2nd Favorite Team, Media Darlings At 2012 MLB All-Star Game.

July 9, 2012; Kansas City, MO, USA; American League outfielder Mike Trout (left) of the Los Angeles Angels talks with National League outfielder Bryce Harper (right) of the Washington Nationals during practice for the 2012 All Star Game at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: H. Darr Beiser-USA TODAY Sports via US PRESSWIRE

• KANSAS CITY, MO: What did we learn from day one at the 2012 mid-summer classic in Kansas City? Bryce Harper deflects clown questions with unmatched dexterity. Chipper Jones likes Mike Trout, but he has a "man-crush" on Harper. Harper thinks it's weird that some random tv guy likes Vampire Weekend. Stephen Strasburg's increased confidence on the mic is shocking to some folks. Gio Gonzalez, who's already the best-dressed pitcher in NatsTown, might also be the funniest. [Gio even makes Strasburg laugh, though I bet he doesn't try on days Stras starts...] President Obama has a new second-favorite team. Prince Fielder has some pop in his bat. Stephen Strasburg's dog plays dead on command. For the first time in a long time there are three good reasons for Washington Nationals fans to watch the 2012 MLB All-Star Game. When will Strasburg pitch? Who's gonna get Gio benders dropped on 'em. Will Bryce Harper finally come through in an All-Star game now that he's at the highest level of the game? Coverage from Kansas City starts at 7:30 (aka just after 8:00 pm EDT)...until then, it's the links and lots of them... RIGHT NOW!!!!:

• THE BIG STORY!!!:

• "President Obama hasn't had a change of heart on his favorite baseball team, but he's been influenced by his years in Washington when it comes to his second favorite." - "Obama jumps on Nationals' bandwagon" - Jennifer Epstein, POLITICO.com

• The interview:

• NATS BEAT:

"'Obviously I feel a little better this year than I did last year,' [Adam Dunn] said. 'The good news is, last year is still over, and this year we've still got a whole half to go.'" -"Nats Obama's second favorite team" - Chase Hughes, CSNWashington.com

• "'With Gio all you have to do is grin and he’s gonna be grinning at you,' said Nationals manager Davey Johnson. 'And he’s gonna be hacked off at you if you’re not grinning back at him.'" - "Strasburg, Gonzalez like night and day" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "'I love Mike Trout,' [Chipper] Jones says. 'But I have a man-crush on Bryce Harper.'" - "Mike Trout vs. Bryce Harper: Fellow All-Stars are asked to choose their preferred rookie phenom" - Jeff Passan, Yahoo! Sports

• "The Nationals are hoping to bring the All-Star Game to Washington soon, and it makes sense for both them and baseball on many, many levels." - "Nationals making push to host All-Star Game in near future" - Adam Kilgore, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• "Nationals fans dreaming of the postseason need to get their arms around the [Stephen] Strasburg thing right now. Like it or not, he will be shut down." - "HARRIS: Rental shouldn't replace Strasburg; try Lannan" - Mike Harris, Washington Times

• "Given where the Nationals are at the All-Star break, holding the best record in the National League and sitting four games clear of the Braves for the lead in the division, it's easy to forget the type of issues that they've dealt with this season." - "Nationals Pastime: Looking back on an eventful and successful first half" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "'Being able to be around the guys that are the best players in baseball, it's pretty impressive coming in here.'" - "Highlights from Harper, Stras and Gio" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com


• "The image we have of [Stephen] Strasburg is that he's one of the most exciting young pitchers in baseball . . . and one of the least comfortable having people ask him questions." - "Strasburg on Trout, music and sweat (really)" - Danny Knobler, CBSSports.com

• "The Nationals so far have savored their all-star experience — even Harper, who had been looking forward to four days with his family in Las Vegas." - "Stephen Strasburg: ‘It’s fun to be a National right now’" - Adam Kilgore, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• "Nats shortstop Ian Desmond was at a career crossroads this spring. Either he proved he was an everyday shortstop in the big leagues or he could find himself as a super-utility player." - "Nationals finding a way to Kansas City" - Brian McNally, WashingtonExaminer.com

• "Bryce Harper, the youngest all-star everyday player ever, commands a great deal of attention a day before the game. That’s not by accident." - "2012 MLB All-Star Game: Young Bryce Harper is the center of attention" - Thomas Boswell, The Washington Post

• "'If the first two guys get on,' [Bryce] Harper said, 'I'm going to drop a bomb and walk off this field and tell 'em, 'We own this place.'" - "Justice: Young stars reflect on Bryce Harper's called shot" - Richard Justice, nationals.com: News

• "'I know folks are really proud of him, he's doing great. And the Washington Nationals are my second favorite team now after Chicago the White Sox.'" - President Barack Obama - "All-Star Dunn enjoying baseball again" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

• "'It shows the character he has,' Hamels added. 'That's awesome to see from a 19-year-old because at 19, I didn't know what type of qualities I had...'" - "Cole Hamels praises Bryce Harper for the way he plays the game" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "[Bryce] Harper, 19, and [Mike] Trout, 20, still send each other text messages. They congratulate each other after good games and when they’re swinging the bat well." - "All-Star Game: Bryce Harper, Mike Trout reunited after Arizona Fall League team struggled" - Adam Kilgore, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• "[Drew] Storen needed just six pitches to get through a scoreless inning of work, striking out a batter and getting a double play ball." - "Nationals Pastime: Who's your first-half Nationals MVP?" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "Midterms: Grading the Nationals pitching staff" - WTOP.com

• "The Major League Baseball commissioner treats the nation's capital like some small-market outpost like Kansas City. Oh wait, the Royals are hosting Tuesday's All-Star Game." - "District is deserving host" - Rick Snider, WashingtonExaminer.com

• "As Bryce Harper readied to step for batting practice, Frank Robinson approached him. They chatted for several moments..." - "Bryce Harper, Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez wrap up day one at the All-Star Game" - Adam Kilgore, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• "Tapping [Jordan] Zimmermann to start the first game after the All-Star break was about the only easy decision for Johnson when it came to his pitching plans going forward." - "Washington Nationals at Miami Marlins - July 13, 2012" - James Walker, MLB.com Preview

• "On the days Stephen Strasburg starts, he arrives later than most teammates and glowers in almost total silence, rarely leaving the small circumference around his locker." - "Nationals all-star pitchers Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez couldn’t be more different" - Adam Kilgore, The Washington Post

• "Regardless, it was Grade A media fodder when both [Bryce] Harper and [Mike] Trout, the parallel phenoms from the National League and the American League..." - "A few notes as the Nationals took in Day 1 of the All-Star festivities" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "Why would a top high school pitcher, who has touched 100 mph but has also had minor arm issues, sign with the Nats, rather than go to a good college, if he saw the Nats pushed Strasburg back and didn't follow best medical practices with him?" - Boswell on Lucas Giolito - "Ask Boswell about all things Washington sports" - Thomas Boswell, The Washington Post

• "Obviously we have a lot of talent, but we've got a lot of room to grow and get better. I think 'Rizz' [general manager Mike Rizzo] has done an awesome job..." - "Young Nationals All-Stars in it for the long haul" - Matthew Leach, nationals.com: News

• "Then reality dawned with a jolt: My God, that’s Willie Mays! … I always thought Willie Mays was 10 feet tall! My first All-Star Game was the erstwhile Say Hey Kid’s 24th and last." - "HELLER: Remember when the All-Star Game was a big deal?" - Dick Heller, Washington Times

• "There will likely be more for all these Washington Nationals, but they still have a way to go to catch their manager, Davey Johnson, who was named to four All-Star teams during his 13-year playing career -- three AL and one NL." - "Johnson manages to leave mark on All-Star Game" - Thom Loverro, WashingtonExaminer.com

• "'You’re looking at Trout and Harper as being the faces of baseball in their respective leagues,' [Chipper] Jones said. 'For a long, long time.'" - "2012 MLB All-Star Game: Bryce Harper and Mike Trout rise through ranks together" - Adam Kilgore, The Washington Post

• "'That [steal of home] was probably the most impressive thing I’ve seen,' [Cole] Hamels said. 'Unfortunately, I had to be on the bitter end of the stick on that...'" - Hamels on Bryce Harper -"All-Star Notes: Harper can talk a good game, too" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

Your Daily Message From The Dalai Lama On Twitter (@DalaiLama): "A good way to work for a more peaceful world is to develop concern for others."

• NATS MINORS:

Class-A Short Season Auburn: "The Auburn Doubledays (14-7) only managed five hits on Monday night, as they fell in the rubber match of a three game series, 4-1, to the Hudson Valley Renegades (12-10) in front of 1,072 at Falcon Park." - "Doubledays lose rubber match to Renegades, 4-1" - Auburn Doubledays News

Class-A Short Season Auburn: "After going down early, the Auburn Doubledays' normally potent offense struggled again, losing to the Hudson Valley Renegades 4-1 at Falcon Park Monday." - "Doubledays fall in finale" - Jeremy Houghtaling, The Auburn Citizen

Class-A Potomac: "Nathan Karns pitched seven strong innings for the Potomac Nationals as they took the rubber match in wild fashion over the Carolina Mudcats 2-1 at Pfitzner Stadium." - "P-Nats Take Wild Rubber Match Over Carolina" - Potomac Nationals News

Double-A Harrisburg: SeaWolves 4, Senators 1 - Zach Walters - 2 for 4, 1 2B; Daniel Rosenbaum - 6.0 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 3 K's - Harrisburg Senators Scoreboard

Double-A Harrisburg: "The move of Ryan Perry from reliever to starter continues to progress in a positive direction." - "Harrisburg's Perry notches first win as a starter, more homers in Hagerstown" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

Double-A Harrisburg: "At Double-A Harrisburg, it's been a nice splash for shortstop Zach Walters, who in 20 games is hitting .338 with a slugging percentage of .623." - "Harrisburg surging as second half begins" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

Triple-A Syracuse: "The Syracuse Chiefs are pleased to announce that infielder Jim Negrych has been added to the 2012 International League All-Star team." - "Negrych becomes Chiefs' fourth All-Star" - Syracuse Chiefs News

• "Last Night In Woodbridge" - Luke Erickson, NationalsProspects.com

• NATSTOWN:

• "And it came about that if there was a walk off situation, we’ll have a couple of ‘deers’ running around and you get to shoot your favorite ones." - "Gio Gonzalez explains the deer pose celebration" - Sarah Kogod, DC Sports Bog - The Washington Post

• "So many years have passed since the nation’s capital last hosted baseball’s All-Star game that most people have forgotten the unique, unforgettable events that took place before and during the 1969 midsummer classic..." - "When the Stars (and so Much Else) Came to Washington" - Steve Walker, D.C. Baseball History

• "Nats Talk On The Go: Episode 26" - Joe Drugan, The Nats Blog

• "Major League baseball hosted an all star mascot relay race at Monday night’s Home Run Derby in Kansas City." - "Video: Teddy Roosevelt races at All Star Game Home Run Derby, clobbers Milwaukee sausage" - Presidents Race Fan, Let Teddy Win!

• "And now the Washington Nationals bandwagon has a Commander in Chief." - "President Obama endorses Bryce Harper, says Nationals now his second favorite team." - Nats Enquirer

• "Photos: Bryce Harper gets his All-Star jersey" - Cheryl Nichols, District Sports Page

• "The Nationals Review Podcast Episode 9" - The Nationals Review

• "Recapping the 2012 Futures Game" - Ryan Sullivan, NatsGM

• NL EAST UPDATES:

Mets: "A teammate said the issue was believed to be blood-related in Gee's shoulder. Another member of the organization said Gee was admitted to the hospital Monday and underwent an MRI." - "New York Mets pitcher Dillon Gee hospitalized" - Adam Rubin, ESPN New York

Braves: "The Braves placed Andrelton Simmons on the 15-day disabled list Monday, a day after the rookie shortstop injured his right hand on a head-first slide." - "Braves place Andrelton Simmons on 15-day disabled list" - Atlanta Braves

Phillies: "Cole Hamels has said all the right things, no matter how loud the trade speculation." - "Cole Hamels says he wants to remain with Phillies" - Matt Gelb, Philly.com

Marlins: "In its relatively short history, the Marlins have had only a few notableAll-Star Game moments." - "Marlins short on All-Star memories" - South Florida Sun-Sentinel.com

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