SAN DIEGO -- The All-Star Game is a national event every year and it's for the fans. On that latter point, I do firmly believe that while, yes, it's for all fans, I still maintain it's mostly for the home city fans. That's why it's great that Wil Myers is in the Home Run Derby and starting as the NL cleanup hitter on Tuesday and it's also great that Drew Pomeranz was a late addition to the NL pitching staff.
Both are deserving, of course. Myers is hitting .286/.351/.522 with 19 doubles, 19 homers, 60 RBI and 15 steals while transitioning to first base. Pomeranz has an excellent 2.47 ERA and 115 strikeouts in 102 innings. He's even 8-7 for a team well under .500.
Both are first-time All-Stars, too. In conversations with each, words like "surreal" would pop up. The word most said -- notably by Myers -- though, was fun.
"Just go out there and have a good time," Myers said multiple times, regarding both the Home Run Derby and the All-Star Game, when he's batting behind a 2-3 NL combo of Bryce Harper and Kris Bryant.
"It's gonna be pretty awesome," said Pomeranz. "Especially after seeing people's reactions when I initially didn't get picked. Then the overwhelming support when I did get chosen."
"Sometimes you can work this hard and not get recognition for it, so this is really cool."
This seems a key point on both. Pomeranz had been through plenty of struggles as a starter before being traded to San Diego this past offseason. Myers had played only 147 games combined in 2014-15 due to injuries. That each is now here as a first-time All-Star has to make it that much more special.
I asked Pomeranz about taking the hill to a huge ovation on Tuesday and if he'd need to step off for a second.
"I really might have to."
The newbies do have a built-in advantage, though.
"It's less overwhelming at home," Pomeranz said. "You already understand the lay of the land. We know the park, the people, the city. It's easier to navigate.
And it certainly makes for a fun experience for the local fans as well, and that's really what this week is all about.