Tyler Clippard has been concentrating on the last few games before the All-Star break, so the Nationals’ lone representative in the Midsummer Classic hasn’t had much downtime to pay attention to all the little details surrounding his participation in Tuesday’s American League-National League clash in Phoenix.
“I’m still trying to fit everything in,” he said before Sunday’s Rockies-Nationals game. “It’s been good. I’ve got everything ready to go, but we’ve got a game today so it’s easy to break everything up with focusing on the task at hand. Once the game’s over, I think the ball will start rolling on everything sinking in.”
At least one detail can be crossed off Clippard’s to-do list. He’s flying to Phoenix in style, courtesy of Rockies All-Star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, an opponent today and teammate Tuesday who invited the Nationals right-handed reliever to accompany him on a private flight that will depart Washington after Sunday’s game.
“Troy asked me if I wanted to fly with him, and that was a pretty cool gesture, so I took him up on it,” said Clippard. “I think that’s the cool thing about this game - when you’re in it for a while, that’s the type of things you can do for the younger guys. And right now, I’m still that younger guy. Hopefully, at some point, I can be on the other side of it.”
Clippard’s All-Star entourage will be limited to immediate family - his mother, father and brother - and he’s been picking the brains of his Nats teammates about what to expect once he arrives for the festivities. Former All-Star catcher Ivan Rodriguez, his sometimes battery mate, has been giving Clippard a rundown of what’s in store in terms of media day and other All-Star Game responsibilities.
But Clippard knows what he’s looking forward to most: the camaraderie.
“I’ve always enjoyed meeting the guys around the league, the other players, he said. “Obviously, the All-Star Game brings in another level of people - a lot of future Hall of Famers, a lot of guys that have probably hit home runs off me. ... It’s going to be cool to be able to meet those guys.”