STREET. PETERSBURG — The best part of yandy diaz‘s first trip to the All-Star Game came right after the trip home.
Sure, Diaz started at first base in the American League last week and smashed a home run to cap off an excellent first half defined by his greater home run power. But when he finished his speedy round trip from Tampa to Seattle and back, he ran straight to the hospital to be with his wife, Mayisleidis. They welcomed their first child, a healthy boy named Yandy Jared Díaz who was born around 8 am last Wednesday.
“There really isn’t much to say,” Diaz told reporters through interpreter Manny Navarro in Arlington on Monday, when he was reinstated from the paternity list. “The most important part of my life right now is my son.”
Was a whirlwind week for Diaz, from the Monday night flight to Seattle to the game itself, the quick start Tuesday night and the emotional moment he had been waiting for Wednesday morning. What is the best way to describe it all?
“Simple,” he said through Navarro. “I have not slept at all”.
His All-Star teammates were certainly more rested when they returned to action over the weekend, and they praised their experience in Seattle.
A friend gifted Arozarena custom cowboy boots half an hour before the Derby. The boots bore his name and characteristic folded arms pose, and thought it was good luck to wear them during Derby player introductions. He thought he could have won in the final round if he had the extra 30 seconds of overtime that Vladimir Guerrero Jr. got for hitting enough long home runs, but he was still pleased with his effort.
So was Arozarena’s home run Derby pitcher, Rays field coordinator Tomás Francisco, whose initial nerves eased once they got into a rhythm.
“Just a great experience, to be in that environment with all the star players,” Francisco said. “It was great.”
roam frank he was pleased with his ninth-inning at-bat in the All-Star Game, even if he got a little bogged down and didn’t hit a big home run. But he said his favorite part was pregame practice with all of his fellow superstars.
Another great moment for the 22-year-old shortstop? Having Ken Griffey Jr. sit and chat with him during the Derby. Franco smiled when asked if Griffey said he was a fan of his.
“He didn’t say that, but I’m definitely a fan of his,” Franco said through Navarro. “It was really good to talk to a legend.”
Start Shane McClanahan, meanwhile, enjoyed a much more relaxing All-Star experience his second time around, because he was injured at the time and couldn’t shoot. Last year he was the exact opposite as the American League starting pitcher, an honor that came with several obligations, not to mention a major spotlight once he started the game.
“It was great,” he said. “It was definitely a little less stressful than last year, but I had a great time.”