“I don’t know, man, it’s hard to say. Each single one.” Max Scherzer was asked on Saturday afternoon for All-Star moments that stick out, when his selection to an eighth MLB All-Star Game was announced, as a list of replacements for the players on the original roster who bowed out was released.
“Even from my first one, where — getting to start it. Starting those All-Star games are amazing, the one in D.C. is amazing, getting to play with some — Mariano Rivera’s last All-Star game. Derek Jeter’s. Big Papi’s. Just been a part of really cool experiences over the years, of different players and playing with them, and like I said, each All-Star Game is its own story. It’s hard to ever take one something away from all of them, because each year there’s always something there to it.”
Scherzer’s story, if he got to write it, is about a pitcher whose violent delivery and 3⁄4 arm slot scared scouts, who worried about his durability, leading to an early-career trade after he was selected in the first round of the 2006 Draft.
“That’s why I take pride in this,” Scherzer said of the eighth All-Star nod, “is that it’s hard to be in this position. It’s hard to be at the All-Star level, and to be able to be recognized by this. It takes other people to vote you in, I get it, and to have that type of recognition, and to be able to do that year in and year out, I take a lot of pride in the fact that I’ve been consistent, I’ve been durable and because that was a major talking point against me, that I was going to be an injury risk and durability was going to be my issue, and yet, I feel like I’ve flipped the script and made durability my strength. I take a lot of pride in that, that sometimes when the narrative is written against you, you don’t have to follow it, you can make your own narrative.”
After pitching in his first All-Star Game as a 27-going-on-28-year-old in 2013, as he said, in Mariano Rivera’s 13th, and final, Midsummer Classic, Scherzer did acknowledge that he really is the old guy at the party now. And also he likes parties.
“I’ll never put myself on Rivera’s level,” he said. “It is kind of — it’s fun now to be kind of the old guy. Old guy here, still able to do it. And have that experience and have done it and be able to see the next generation of players that are coming through that are playing at an unbelievable level. So, to continue to see the game and how it continues to evolve.
“You see it through the All-Stars and at the top of the game, the top players in the league, and what they’re able to bring to the game and go out there and showcase all that.
“It makes for a great couple days of baseball and really a great way to demonstrate the game.”
Also, it’s a lot of fun. And it’s a party.
“It’s 48 hours of just chaos. It’s a party, and I love parties,” Scherzer told reporters.
Scherzer said he was also excited to meet the next generation of stars that he doesn’t know already.
“It’s just cool to meet guys across the league, get a feel for what they’re like over a couple of days,” he explained. “Everybody’s got a smile on their face, there’s no hostility whatsoever, you get to put the competitive juices away and be on the same team for once. So just to get to know guys. It’s a whole different perspective, and just to be able to go out there and be on the same field with the best players in the game.
“I think that puts a smile on everybody’s face. And to be able to compete against everybody and share some stories, share what’s been going on in the game, we all have a good chuckle over all the different plays and things that have happened throughout the [season].
“It’s a really fun 48 hours.”
On Monday afternoon, National League manager Dave Roberts of the Dodgers named the Nationals’ ace the NL starter, so for the fourth time in eight All-Star appearances, Scherzer will start the Midsummer Classic tonight.
“It’s an incredible feeling to be named to my eighth All-Star Game, and now my fourth chance, fourth time to start it. It’s an incredible honor.
“When you step into a room with a room full of All-Stars and then you get the ball, that’s a special feeling, it’s really hard to put into words, so for Dave to select me again, to give that honor to me with the quality of arms that are in the National League this year, I’m very blessed and very thankful for that opportunity.”
Must-see TV. Max on the mound to start the All-Star Game.