Street doesn't pitch, but enjoys first All-Star trip
Barry M. Bloom
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SAS CITY -- As National League manager Tony La Russa went to reliever after reliever in the waning innings of Tuesday night's 8-0 victory over the American League in MLB's 83rd All-Star Game, Padres closer Huston Street remained planted on the bench in the Kauffman Stadium bullpen.
Street, making his first All-Star appearance, was one of two NL pitchers who didn't get in. The other was Cardinals 11-game winner Lance Lynn.
With Lynn, the former St. Louis skipper might have had an ulterior motive.
"You're nice and rested," La Russa told Lynn as he left the clubhouse. "Tell [Cards manager] Mike [Matheny] he owes me one."
Lynn took it well. Street, who has 13 saves and a 1.13 ERA for the Padres, seemed a tad disappointed.
"Everyone wants to pitch," Street said afterward. "But it wasn't my decision. It was my first time here. It just gives me the incentive to work hard, come back and make it again."
It was a long night for Street out in the 'pen, and at no point was he even asked to warm up.
"I'm not used to being down there for nine innings," he said. "What was it like down there? Very determined. We took this game very seriously. The early 5-0 lead made it a little more comfortable, but there was no laughing or joking down there."
The rest of the two-day experience was a good one, Street said, even if it didn't involve pitching in the game.
"This was a blast," he said. "First time All-Star dream come true. It's why we play the game: to be the best we can be. At the All-Star break this is representative of that, and it means a lot to me just to be included in this group."
The one constant through Padres history has been the long lineage of great closers to which Street's name is now attached. That list includes Hall of Famers Rollie Fingers and Rich "Goose" Gossage, Cy Young Award winner Mark Davis, and All-Stars Heath Bell and Trevor Hoffman -- No. 2 all-time with 602 saves.
"Traditions are special for a reason," Street said. "It's important to me to contribute to all that and to be joined on the Padres with all of those names. They were dominant at their job. They were fantastic at their job. There are Cy Youngs, All-Stars and Hall of Famers in that group. To be included in that group is very special."
As the second half of the season begins, the Padres are on a little bit of a roll, and Street would like to remain with them. The club is for sale, and the ownership situation is currently in flux. Street will be a free agent at the end of the season, and he hears the trade rumor mill spin his name. But in San Diego he'd like to remain.
"I want to stay," he said. "You have to want to stay. You should be loyal to your team. You should be loyal to whatever team you play for. So I'm going to be loyal to the Padres. At the same time, it's a business. I can't control if they move me or they don't move me. They don't owe me any explanations, and I don't expect any explanations.
"My first loyalty is to baseball. I'll play the best I can -- wherever I'm at, whatever uniform they put across my chest, I'll play as hard as I can play."