Anytime you get voted to an All-Star team, it's a pretty big honor.
For Nats third baseman Ryan Zimmerman, knowing his peers had a hand in his selection made it even more special for the first time All-Star.
Virginia is for All-Stars
Growing up in Virginia, Ryan Zimmerman played on a traveling team made up of mostly local All-Stars including the Mets' David Wright and Arizona's Justin Upton and Mark Reynolds.
Wright is the starting third baseman at the Midsummer Classic and Upton will be there as well. Reynolds is on the ballot to be voted in, so there could be four major leaguers meeting up in St. Louis who all played together in Virginia.
Bard's Brother a Big Influence
Josh Bard's older brother Mike convinced the Nats catcher to become a switch hitter when he was a youngster growing up in Colorado.
Mike, who is nine years older than Josh, new it would benefit him to be a switch hitter. Mike was an assistant hitting coach for the 2007 Rockies team that fell to the Red Sox in the World Series two years ago. He still gives private hitting lessons in the Denver area.
He told me yesterday that Rick Eckstein, the Nats hitting coach, deserves a lot of credit for Josh's success at the plate this season. Bard has been one of the Nats most consistent hitters recently.
Mile High Mania!
Craig Stammen's ability to pitch seven innings of one-run baseball in the series opener on Monday should send a message to Jordan Zimmermann and Ross Detwiler that pitching in this high altitude can be a breeze if you keep the ball down. Despite the notion that the ball flies here, Stammen was able to get nine groundball outs, and his counterpart Jason Marquis got 14 groundball outs.