Peavy has plenty of support in Detroit
Padres' sole representative surrounded by family, friends
DETROIT -- Jake Peavy didn't arrive alone at the All-Star Game, even if he was the Padres' lone representative.Friends and family from Alabama left Hurricane Dennis in their wake and made their way up to Detroit to join Peavy in experiencing a pinnacle in individual achievement that's right up there with his 2004 National League ERA title. "We've got the whole crew up here," Peavy said, putting the Peavy Brigade's tally at 15. It certainly was a whole lot better to be in Detroit for most of the contingent, since they came from the Mobile, Ala., area -- which avoided much of the wrath of Dennis, but still got drenched. "We had to go somewhere," cracked Peavy's dad, Danny. And Detroit's definitely a great place to be when your son is one of the National League's top pitchers being honored as a participant in the Midsummer Classic. While he's glad to see everyone from his grandfather to his younger brother Luke to his two own boys, Peavy said he was disappointed that some of his teammates couldn't join him. "I hate it," Peavy said. "But in a way, it makes it more of an honor that I am here. To have the chance to represent the boys is something I look forward to." The first-place Padres had several other candidates who just missed out on a trip to Detroit. Fellow starter Adam Eaton was being mentioned, but a finger injury has kept him sidelined the last couple of weeks. Catcher Ramon Hernandez also was injured for much of June and into July, and he still lost out to the Marlins' Paul Lo Duca by only 13 votes on the player ballot. Then there's Trevor Hoffman, who missed out on a chance for his fifth All-Star appearance when he finished behind the Astros' Roy Oswalt in the NL Final Vote tally -- despite some heavy clicking by his teammates, according to Peavy. "We had everybody on the team on the computer in the clubhouse, voting as many times as you could vote," Peavy said. That Peavy is the chosen one is appropriate, however, because he has risen to elite status in baseball, especially over the last season and a half. He led all Major League starters with a 2.27 ERA in 2004, and this season is among the NL leaders with a 3.14 ERA and 124 strikeouts.
At age 24, Peavy is having quite a year. Before the season began, he signed a long-term deal that guarantees him $14.5 million and could earn him up to $25 million with a fifth-year option. And now he has this to add to his list of achievements.But Peavy's not looking so far down the road as to think that this first All-Star Game is the first of many. "Even with the stuff that happened this year, you come to realize nothing's promised to you," Peavy said. "I look at every fifth day and I'll look at my start next Saturday night as one that could be my last. It's a tough way to look at it, but it's true. "I definitely don't look at this as just something I'll be back for next year or the year after that. That's not to say that if I'm healthy I don't want to be here. I do, I really do. I want to be the best." For now, he's perfectly content enjoying the experience with his family and soaking in the unique atmosphere of being an All-Star in the Midsummer Classic. Part of Peavy's agenda includes getting superstar Roger Clemens, whom he met on the All-Star tour of Japan last fall, to sign one of the dozens of jerseys Peavy has collected. But the part Peavy looked forward to the most is having his son, Jacob, down on the field with him as much as possible. Young Jacob's uniform was in some luggage that was lost for a while in transit, but the precious cargo arrived in time for the pitcher's son to wear it. "I think that'll be the highlight of things, just having him with me," Peavy said. See? Jake Peavy's not alone at all at the All-Star Game.
John Schlegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.