Giants' unlikely All-Stars thrilled for opportunity
Romo proud of overcoming odds; Scutaro impresses with passion for game
NEW YORK -- There have been a few moments over Marco Scutaro's career when he figured he would never see an All-Star Game in person. More than a few, actually.
"All the time," Scutaro said Monday.
But there were Scutaro and Romo on Monday, sitting alongside Buster Posey and Madison Bumgarner in the Jackie Robinson Rotunda at Citi Field as the Giants' representatives on the National League All-Star team. San Francisco's unlikely first-time All-Stars will take the field at some point Tuesday night for manager Bruce Bochy, but neither needed to be under the lights in order to appreciate the experience.
"Everything about the road that I've taken to get where I'm at, I'm very proud of myself," Romo said. "I came out of left field. Everything that has happened in my life -- the bumps, the ups and downs -- it's all been a learning curve for me.
"I appreciate everything to the max because I understand how blessed and privileged I really am. I've worked very hard to get to this point, but at the same time, I've had to have some luck on my side. I've had to have some faith on my side."
Romo, 30, made it to New York with his father, Francisco, and son, Rilen. He only made it on this year's roster because two initially selected pitchers, Jeff Locke and Jordan Zimmermann, were ruled inactive for the Midsummer Classic. Yet Romo had a hard time believing it when Bochy called him into the manager's office to share the news.
"He closed the door behind me, and I'm like, 'Man, did I just get traded?'" Romo said.
Romo said he broke into an ear-to-ear grin that "really hasn't gone away since then." Even Monday, he couldn't hide his excitement about the possibility of getting to pitch in his first All-Star Game.
"I definitely hope [Bochy] gives me the ball, no matter what situation. I'll pitch the first. I'll start the thing if he asks me to," Romo said. "Just to be here is a huge honor."
If you ask his fellow Giants All-Stars, it's an honor Romo has earned. They'll praise his incredible work in the 2012 postseason, including three scoreless innings and three saves in San Francisco's World Series sweep over Detroit. They'll say what he's meant to the Giants this year, with 21 saves in 24 chances and a 2.86 ERA.
But more than anything, they'll talk about everything he's overcome to get to this point.
"He's a guy that's constantly proved people wrong his whole career," Posey said. "I think he's used that to propel himself upward."
"We were actually talking about it earlier today, what he's able to do. It's pretty unbelievable," added Bumgarner. "He goes out there, he's tough and he competes. There's no secret what he's going to do, and he just continues to get guys out. It's pretty special."
The same could be said for Scutaro, the 37-year-old veteran who has impressed the Giants with his passion for the game -- and, obviously, his penchant for coming through in the clutch -- since coming to San Francisco from Colorado last July.
Scutaro hit .362 and drove in 44 runs in 61 games for the Giants last year. He was named the NL Championship Series MVP after batting .500 against the Cardinals. This season has been more difficult, mostly due to various nagging injuries, but he's still batting .316. And thanks to Bochy, Scutaro is an All-Star.
"I'm really happy for him," Bumgarner said. "I hope he's excited. I'm sure he is, to get to be here. He deserves it, definitely."
As grateful as Scutaro was to finally reach the Midsummer Classic, his fellow Giants were even more happy for him. Posey called Scutaro "one of my favorite teammates that I've ever played with." After spending nearly 20 years in professional baseball, Posey said, Scutaro still hasn't lost his love for the game -- something that's rubbed off on the younger players.
"I'm just very blessed to have this opportunity at this point in my life and my career," Scutaro said. "And very, very thankful."
If anyone could understand the emotions Scutaro was feeling Monday, and what Tuesday will mean to him, it was the man sitting two tables away, the Giants' other unlikely All-Star.
"You look at everything he's done, it's amazing. For him to get his due respect, it's huge," Romo said. "You never know. This could be my only All-Star Game. So for him to be able to come in here and watch how he's already enjoying it and he's just soaking it in, I'm kind of like the little kid in a candy store right next to him."
The final phase of All-Star Game voting will again have fans participating in the official voting for the Ted Williams All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet. During the Midsummer Classic, fans will vote exclusively online at MLB.com via the 2013 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote, and their voice will represent 20 percent of the official vote determining the recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.
The 2013 All-Star Game will be played at Citi Field on Tuesday. Come to MLB.com for extensive online coverage of the All-Star Week festivities.
The 84th 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 SiriusXM also will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.