Bosox, Cubs turn All-Star game into private party - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Bosox, Cubs turn All-Star game into private party

NEW YORK (AP) - Lou Piniella settled into the same seat David Ortiz occupied an hour earlier, ready to hold court.

No place for anyone else in this corner of a hotel ballroom on All-Star media day. Sort of like the game itself - there's a bunch of Boston Red Sox, a cluster of Chicago Cubs, and a few stragglers.

Seems that way, anyhow.

"You feel kind of bad. There are some guys here who don't have any teammates here," Cubs closer Kerry Wood said, glancing in the direction of Pittsburgh outfielder Nate McLouth. "I have seven of them."

A National League record-tying eight Cubs players will be at Yankee Stadium for Tuesday night's game. Add in their manager, with Piniella serving as an NL coach.

Ortiz was among seven Red Sox players on the AL side. Throw in AL manager Terry Francona and a half-dozen Boston coaches.

"We're honored, as a staff and as the players, to represent not only the Red Sox but the American League," Francona said.

At this rate, maybe the Cubs and Red Sox should just hold their own game. They're tied, along with the Los Angeles Angels, for the most wins in the majors.

There are other links between them, too.

"Two lovable franchises that have been around a long time. Two old ballparks. A big fan base that follows them around. Really, there are a lot similarities between us," Piniella said.       "There's only one thing that's not similar: They've won a couple of championships in the last few years and we're still searching," he said.

They haven't seen each other much, either.

Since the advent of interleague play 10 years ago, they've met for only one series, in 2005 at Wrigley Field. The Cubs haven't visited Fenway Park since Babe Ruth and Boston beat them in the 1918 World Series.

"That's a place I'd like to see," Wood said. "I'm not sure how they set up the interleague schedules, but maybe they could flip-flop so we got to go there. It'd be huge, us and the Red Sox."

The Red Sox drew a rough reception when they took batting practice Monday night. Boston's J.D. Drew, Jason Varitek and Dustin Pedroia heard plenty of boos from the rival Yankees fans. So did the Red Sox mascot.

Mostly what they expected.

"I don't think it's going to be real positive," Drew predicted earlier.

Making themselves at home in the Yankees' home clubhouse, that was the odd part for the Bosox.

Ortiz moved into Jorge Posada's locker, Varitek got Kyle Farnsworth's cubicle, Jonathan Papelbon took over Brian Bruney's space and Dustin Pedroia dressed in Wilson Betemit's spot.

Manny Ramirez? He got the locker used by former Yankees batting practice pitcher Charlie Wonsowicz, now the team's director of video operations.

While Red Sox first baseman Kevin Youkilis predicted it would be weird walking into the Yankees turf, Varitek said it wasn't so strange.

"I think it would be different if it were a clubhouse full of Yankees," Varitek said. "It was really nice."

Ortiz will merely be a spectator come gametime. The big DH is out with a bad wrist, even though he connected for eight straight home runs during BP on Monday night.

Wood and Chicago teammate Alfonso Soriano also are sidelined with injuries. That still leaves lots of room for other Cubs - outfielder Kosuke Fukudome and catcher Geovany Soto will start, and the NL roster includes pitchers Carlos Zambrano, Ryan Dempster and Carlos Marmol and third baseman Aramis Ramirez.

The 1958 New York Yankees hold the All-Star record with nine representatives.

Without much crossover between the teams, Wood said he didn't know any of the Red Sox very well. He'd like a chance to see that classic "B" hat again - in person, in October.

Same for Piniella.

"It'd really be something," he said. "But it'd be great to get to the World Series against anyone."

 

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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