By Dan Roche


SAN DIEGO (CBS) – Here are some final thoughts as we say good bye to the beautiful All-Star host city of San Diego:

– I thought my one lasting image of the 2016 All-Star Game would be something regarding David Ortiz and his 10th and final mid-summer classic. Nope. It was that of Jackie Bradley, Jr. signing autographs well after the game was over in front of the American League dugout. Hundreds of fans and only one All-Star – mighty impressive.

– Along those same lines, someone has done an incredible job with this group of Red Sox players. Parents, teachers, coaches, Red Sox minor league folks (Raquel Ferreira?), and major league staffers, they’ve all had to have played a part in making these All-Star players into All-Star people. Betts, Bogaerts, Bradley Jr, Ortiz and Wright are all quality folks. They respect people. They love the game. All that is good and it’s a pleasure to watch how they act on and off the field.

– Ortiz was at ease in his post All-Star Game media appearance. He was funny and relaxed. He joked about retirement (but he is serious about actually retiring), recruiting Toronto’s Edwin Encarnacion to replace him in Boston next season (I’m sure that aggravated Blue Jays fans), and Jose Fernandez not throwing him the fastballs he promised him in his second at-bat. As much as we’re going to miss Big Papi in those settings, I think he will miss those moments too.

– The respect factor is “off the charts” for Ortiz. Everyone loves David at the All-Star Game. I think most telling from the players perspective is how much they enjoyed Big Papi’s pre-game speech. Ortiz loves the game and he wants those playing it to live and respect it too – and to pass it down to children.

– Ortiz was masterful in his Game 4 2013 World Series “Let’s relax and play” speech, in his 2013 “This is our f—ing city” post Marathon bombings speech and in his 2016 All-Star pre-game speech. He knows when to do it and he does it well.

– I always thought Ortiz was a big man, but Giancarlo Stanton is a beast, or a “human avatar” as David calls him. And, man can he hit a ball hard and far. Impressive to watch him in the Home Run Derby and also in person. Wow!

– Love how everyone in the Red Sox contingent contributed. I did feel bad for Steven Wright not being able to pitch. Knuckle balls to catchers who never caught them would be a bad thing in any part of an All-Star Game. Wright did say he had a great time though, as you would think.

– A shout out and thanks to Red Sox PR man Kevin Gregg for all the hard work he put in while making this All-Star event easy to cover. Those guys (and gals) work hundreds of hours in a sometime thankless job and never complain. And for that matter, thanks to MLB PR boss John Blundell and his staff too for a smooth event.

– The second half of the season starts on Friday when the Red Sox visit the Yankees for a three game series.

– The second half won’t be easy as the Sox play a lot of games away from Fenway. In fact, Boston plays 29 of its final 45 on the road. You get the feeling that if this Sox team can get to the postseason they will be tough and battle-tested.

– I want Rich Hill by the trade deadline. He’d be perfect because he’s learned how to pitch and he knows the team, the city, and all of those expectations.

– The second half begins Friday – enjoy the ride!

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