07/14/2003 6:38 PM ET
Sluggers excited to be All-Stars
Sexson, Jenkins ready for Midsummer Classic
CHICAGO -- Geoff Jenkins may have been the 32nd and last man selected for the National League All-Star team, but this year that designation also made him a household name, the peoples' choice.
By Mike Bauman / MLB.com
Jenkins received nearly 2.9 million votes to win the etopps All-Star Final Vote. He joins first baseman Richie Sexson as the Milwaukee Brewers' representatives on the NL squad. But it was Jenkins who was the recipient of massive support in the second and final round of fan voting.
"Obviously, it was great," Jenkins said Monday. "The fans in Milwaukee really rallied around. Everybody, for that matter, around the country. Obviously, people could vote more than once. But it was cool. I didn't even know about the whole voting thing when the All-Star team was being picked, so it was neat to see that I actually had a chance to still make it."
In a way, Jenkins received more attention for being the 32nd selection than if he had been picked in a more conventional way.
"It seems like it," he said. "From all the interviews and stuff and different shows that I did, it was neat, it was a good experience. There's only so many spots and the National League outfield is tough, with all these guys, so it's a nice honor to be here."
For Jenkins, who missed most of the 2002 season due to injuries, his first All-Star berth was well beyond his goals for 2003.
"For me, I was just excited to be healthy and be back on the field playing," he said. "Last year was so rough, not being on the field for 3 1/2 months. So for me it was gratifying just being healthy again, back out there, playing every day. So I don't know that I could really foresee this. I wasn't expecting it, but it's definitely a great honor and it's something you won't forget."
Sexson received his own additional honor. He was a late addition to the field of Home Run Derby competitors, which includes Jim Edmonds, Albert Pujols and Gary Sheffield representing the National League. So Monday night turns from relaxation to the spotlight for Sexson, who can handle the situation either way.
"It works both ways," he said. "It's nice to be able to just sit down and watch, but at the same time, it's fun to do, too. You just hope that you get in a groove and get hot.
"It makes the day a little harder, that's for sure. But I don't think there's a ton of pressure. You try your best. Shoot, there are 100 guys who didn't hit one, so you won't be the first if you don't hit any."
This is Sexson's second All-Star selection. The event obviously hasn't lost any of its excitement for him, but he's no longer a rookie here, either.
"It's still a great honor, but it gets easier the second time," he said. "You know what to expect, you know what to do, what not to do. You know you can't try to hit every single party. You've got to relax, give yourself a break, you don't have to try to do everything."
But for Sexson and Jenkins, at least there will be the opportunity to do something, as All-Stars, in baseball's Midsummer Classic.
Mike Bauman is a national columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.