DENVER -- Asking Davey Johnson to give his favorite All-Star memory requires the 69-year-old Nationals manager to sort through his 13 years of playing, including four All-Star invitations, and his 16 years of managing in the Majors. Johnson managed the 1987 All-Star Game for the National League after his Mets won the World Series in 1986.
So it takes some time, but then Johnson remembers the one thing he wishes he could forget.
"I took an All-Star squad to Oakland, the game went 12 or 13 innings and I did something I feel bad about today: I had Lee Smith, the Cubs' closer, pitch three innings for us."
Smith's career lasted 10 more years after that All-Star Game and the Cubs were never in contention in '87, anyways, so it's unlikely Smith pitching a few extra innings had any negative ramifications.
Johnson's Nationals, who lead the National League East, have a vested interest in this year's All-Star Game. Back when Johnson was playing, there was no bonus for the winners of the game. Nowadays, the stakes are much higher, with the winning league securing home-field advantage for its World Series participant.
"It's really important for the National League to win this," Johnson said.
The 2012 All-Star Game will be played at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City on Tuesday, July 10. Come to MLB.com for extensive online coverage of the All-Star Week festivities.
The 83rd All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 200 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network and Sirius XM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com