Domonic Brown's path to the All-Star game went right through Georgia. It wasn't easy.
Brandon Phillips helped make it easier.
Both players attended Redan High School in suburban Atlanta. Brown had previously lived in Florida before moving to Georgia to be with his father.
"I think I needed that father figure back in my life. He left when I was in eighth grade. He was still in my life, but I wasn't seeing him on an everyday basis," the Phillies outfielder said. "There were some tough times, but we finished strong and I ended up getting drafted. Now I'm here."
Phillips would come back to visit, providing Brown with a big league role model. They even hit together. Now they're sharing the field at the All-Star game.
"That's my little boy," said Phillips, the Reds' second baseman. "He played with my younger brother, so it's going to be nice for me to say that I played with somebody that my brother played with and then he can say that he played with both brothers. That's going to be nice for me and it's also going to be nice for him.
"Representing Atlanta, Georgia, with him. I'm looking forward to it."
THE SHOW: Miguel Cabrera has the kind of numbers that draw attention from fans.
The Detroit Tigers slugger tends to get the same reaction from his peers, too.
"That's just like, video game, and let's just go out and have some fun and smile and laugh when we strike out," Washington slugger Bryce Harper said Monday during All-Star festivities. "It's just, Miggy is going up there and ... going 'Hey, if I don't hit a homer, I shouldn't be playing today.'"
Cabrera hit .330 with 44 homers and 139 RBIs last season, winning the AL Triple Crown. The third baseman is hitting .365 with 30 homers and 95 RBIs at the All-Star break this year. That's an impressive full season for almost any player. Let alone a first half.
Not that he's all that impressed with any of it.
"There isn't a lot of time to see that," he said. "Maybe if I see it in the game, you know how they put it on the scoreboard? So I think that's the only chance we got time to see it. Because you got to worry about other stuff, why are you going to worry about the stats?"
HARP ON THIS: Bryce Harper had his name misstated in a pregame news conference — NL manager Bruce Bochy called him "Bryan" before correcting himself immediately — and was slotted in the ninth spot in the NL order for Tuesday night's game.
Welcome to the All-Star game, kid.
The second-year Washington Nationals outfielder said he's never batted ninth in his life.
"That's usually for the pitcher. I don't think I'm pitching tomorrow," Harper said. "You know, we've got a great lineup one through nine. It's pretty tough to get in that lineup, so I'm just very excited and blessed to be able to start and I'm so thankful for it."
JUST A NUMBER: Jordan Zimmermann has the best record in the NL. He is not particularly impressed with himself.
"I'm not a big fan of the win-loss record," the Washington starter said. "Some years the run support's there, some years it's not."
The right-hander is 12-4 this season with a 2.58 ERA. That's only slightly better than that of teammate Stephen Strasburg, who is 5-7 despite a 2.99 ERA.
"Look at Stephen, he's got a losing record, and he's got under a three ERA," Zimmermann said. "I think ERA's the big thing, and quality starts."
FOR RELAXING TIMES: Adam Wainwright pitched on Sunday, so he's unavailable for Tuesday's All-Star game.
The St. Louis starter is set to make the most of his time off, anyway.
"It's going to be amazing for me. I would love to pitch in the game, obviously, but also right now this break is perfect timing for me," Wainwright said. "I brought my tennis shoes, my shagging glove, and if I had a hammock, you know, that'd be the thing that would put it over the top."
HEY NOW: Cincinnati second baseman Brandon Phillips was talking with reporters Monday afternoon during the media session, sitting at a table with his name on a sign behind him.
While this was going on, San Francisco Giants closer Sergio Romo ran up to the table, carrying his own sign on a large piece of posterboard with his name on it in orange and blue.
"We're All-Stars Brandon, we're All-Stars!" Romo shouted before running away with a huge smile on his face.
STUMPED: Justin Masterson was ready when a TV crew from MLB UK handed him a cricket ball, then asked if he knew what to do with it.
"I mean, I could try," the Cleveland pitcher said, pantomiming a respectable overhand delivery. "I don't know if I could get over the top much. I'm not much of a bowler.
"I watched a little bit. You know, having been born in Jamaica, just living there a couple years, cricket's the biggest thing there. I've tried to watch and understand a little bit, but it's still a little bit beyond me."
Later, Toronto's Brett Cecil tried to grip the seams and pronounced them uncomfortable. He said he didn't know much about the game, then remembered one of his teammates did: "Actually, Adam Lind is a big fan of it. I don't know why."
KETCHUP AND MUSTARD: Adam Jones brought a shiny WWE championship belt with him as a prize for the Home Run Derby. "I want to crown the champ with it," he said. ... Oakland closer Grant Balfour noticed the first-place Athletics seemed a bit underrepresented with just him and starter Bartolo Colon — though OF Yoenis Cespedes was on hand for the Home Run Derby. "For the team, we would have liked to see more players here, no doubt," Balfour said. "We've got a team of guys that they can get fired up, and they're going to go out and show it on the field." ... Monday's media session was held in the Jackie Robinson Rotunda at Citi Field, an area meant to echo the Brooklyn Dodgers' old Ebbets Field and honor Robinson. Mariano Rivera was seated in front of the giant blue No. 42 that honors Robinson. Rivera is the last big leaguer still wearing the number, which has been retired across baseball. ... The out-of-town scoreboard at Citi Field displayed the scores of previous All-Star Games. Noticeably absent was the 2002 game, which ended in a 7-7 tie after 11 innings when the teams ran out of available pitchers.
AP Sports Writer Mike Fitzpatrick and AP freelancer Scott Orgera contributed to this report.
Follow Rick Freeman at: https://twitter.com/RWFreeman