Romero's all-star moments a family affair

Jays pitcher Ricky Romero poses with Maxim models as part of Major League baseball's all-star...

Jays pitcher Ricky Romero poses with Maxim models as part of Major League baseball's all-star festivities. (GETTY IMAGES)

Bob Elliott, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:19 PM ET

PHOENIX — Jose Bautista knew all along.

When Bautista was introduced as the Blue Jays sole representative to the all-star game at the Rogers Centre on July 3, he quickly added “I’m the only one ... for now.”

“Hopefully, Ricky Romero will be added too, he belongs,” Bautista said.

Romero was on the field for the State Farm Home Run Derby Monday and hoping to get an inning from American League manager Ron Washington Tuesday in the 82nd all-star game.

“I’m excited,” Romero said.

No, really how excited are you?

“I mean I’m really excited,” said Romero, 26, eyes lighting up like the kid from Home Alone.

“This is what you dream of as a kid. My first all-star memory was Fenway Park in 1999,” Romero said. “All the players were along the first and third-base lines and then they brought out Ted Williams in a golf cart. The place went crazy. It was a special night.”

And the night before, Romero watched Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa battle for the home run derby title with flashbulbs popping.

“I always liked watching Pedro Martinez pitch (five strikeouts in six innings that night) and Johan Santana too.”

This week in the desert re-unites Romero with Colorado Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki.

“We shoot each other a text now and then,” Romero said.

Romero pitched college ball for the Cal-State Fullerton Titans in 2003 as Tulowitzki began playing for the Long Beach State ‘49ers. Then, they were roommates with Team USA in 2004 on a trip to Japan. And then, in the 2005 draft, former Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi chose Romero even though “my baseball people wanted me to take Tulowitzki.”

Romero struggled in the minors in 2007, going 3-6 with a 4.89 ERA in 18 starts at double-A New Hampshire, while Tulowitzki played in the World Series that year.

Both draft choices, Romero, sixth over-all and Tulowitzki, seventh, were all-star selections.

For the 1999 all-star game in Boston, media day’s hour-long interview sessions were held in the Sheraton Hotel ballrooms rather than the cramped Fenway clubhouses.

We’ve seen some different things at these media sessions: reporters from Entertainment Tonight asking catchers who they’d like to be involved in a home-plate collision with (male or female)? Biff Henderson from Late Night with David Letterman asking top 10-list questions and various other off-beat questions.

Romero fielded baseball questions, but what was interesting is that he brought his mother and father (Sandra and Ricardo) into the interview session to watch, as well as his brother Gabriel, a red-shirt freshman right-hander with Long Beach State and sister Vanessa, 10, along with his girlfriend Rima Fakih, the former Miss U.S.A.

We don’t recall an all-star making his family this much a part of the all-star experience.

The lefty brought them to see how the proceedings went, so they wouldn’t miss on anything.

“This is amazing,” Gabriel said looking around at all the talent in the room.

Who is your favourite player?

“Ricky Romero,” he said proudly. “After that? Russell Martin was a big deal when he was with the Los Angeles Dodgers.”

Montrealer Martin, now a New York Yankee, is with the AL team.

 


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