MINNEAPOLIS – There are 750 active player jobs in Major League Baseball at any one time. Of those, 68, or nine-percent, were on the active rosters for the 85th edition of the All-Star Game on Tuesday night at Target Field. Blue Jays rightfielder Jose Bautista participated in his fifth Midsummer Classic and fifth in a row. While some players look for ways to excuse themselves from the festivities, choosing instead to take a four-day break from the daily grind of the six-month season, Bautista relishes the opportunity to be front and centre on one of the sports biggest stages. "Nothing gets old, everythings the same, you get to enjoy everything every single time," said Bautista. "Theres always different stuff going on and new and different, exciting players. Im excited to see those new names like Jose Abreu and Mike Trout. I know (Trouts) been here before but hes one of the younger guys that are part of this event so theres always great stuff to see and enjoy so I dont complain whatsoever. Always proud and humbled to be chosen." Bautista, for the second time, was the leading vote-getter, netting almost six million votes. He doesnt take the responsibility lightly. His itinerary in Minneapolis was jam-packed. If he was weary, he wasnt letting on but regardless, there would be hardly any rest. Bautista arrived via private jet on Sunday night, flying in from Tampa Bay, where his Blue Jays had just finished a series with the Rays. He went to his hotel, checked in, took enough time to drop off his belongings in his room and then, in a manner of speaking, went to work. First up was a Sunday night MLB.com party for which Bautista played host. He eventually made it to bed and estimated that he got five hours of sleep. There was more to do – much, much more to do – on Monday. Bautista had breakfast on Monday morning. Then, a charitable endeavour; he went to the Boys and Girls Club of the Twin Cities to meet some of the programs children and donate shoes. By one oclock in the afternoon central daylight time, Monday, Bautista had arrived at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Minneapolis. It was media time, including indulging reporters for 45 minutes during the American League players availability, followed by the Home Run Derby press conference. "Basically stressful, Im going to lose a couple of more hairs in this next 48 hours," Bautista told TSN.ca during the availability. "It goes by fast. It feels like right when you get here youre doing one thing after the other. You dont get enough sleep. You always have something to do but you cant help but enjoy it when youre out on the field and playing with stars. I cant complain about it but it is busy." Bautista participated in the Home Run Derby. He was the American Leagues captain. He hit 10 home runs in the first round, received a bye to the semifinals and hit four more. He was defeated by eventual winner, Oaklands Yoenis Cespedes. The Derby behind him, it was back out on the town for a party thrown by Marucci Sports, which has become one of baseballs premier suppliers of equipment like bats, batting gloves, gloves, you name it. Bautista sits on the companys board of directors. The party ended. Bautista estimated he got about six hours of sleep before waking up on Tuesday morning. It was right off to the All-Star parade through downtown Minneapolis and the red carpet which followed. Bautista was in rightfield for five innings, going hitless in two at-bats. He was to fly to Toronto, on a private jet, over the lunch hour on Wednesday. Blue Jays fans concerned Bautista kept too busy in advance of what will be the most important second half of his tenure in Toronto, neednt worry. "I still get two days on Wednesday and Thursday," said Bautista. "Id rather be here then at home relaxing. Its a good signal when you get picked and selected to come here and Im not going to keep complaining. Im going to keep trying to be a contributor to my team and hopefully play good enough to keep getting selected." After all, it wasnt obvious in his early years that Bautista would become the elite player you see today. Hell keep coming to the All-Star Game as long as hes invited. "Maybe if I was somebody like Mike Trout, whos been here since his first year and this would be my 17th year, maybe I wouldnt care about it so much but thats not the case," said Bautista. "I work very hard and somehow manage to be good enough to get selected. I dont think it means that much more but it means about as much as it probably means to every other guy thats here. We value it a lot and its always great to be recognized among the best so Im always humbled and honoured to be here." ETwaun Moore Jersey
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. -- Without Carey Price, the run for a first Stanley Cup in 21 years got steeper and longer for the Montreal Canadiens.With new head coach Carl Robinson at the helm, the Vancouver Whitecaps will look to get back into the MLS Western Conference playoff picture. TSN soccer analyst Luke Wileman tells you everything you need to know about the 2014 Whitecaps, while TSN soccer analyst Jason deVos tells you how they will succeed or fail during the new campaign. Luke Wileman: After missing out on the playoffs in 2013, Vancouver Whitecaps have re-tooled ahead of the new season. They lost their leading scorer, Camilo, in controversial circumstances, but the Caps will enter the 2014 season with a stronger overall squad. The biggest change of the offseason was the departure of head coach Martin Rennie. After two years with the club, Rennies contract was not renewed, and after a long search, the Whitecaps promoted Carl Robinson from his role as assistant coach to take the top job. I said at the time that Robinson was the perfect choice. He already knew the inner workings of the club from his time on Rennies coaching staff, but has brought a fresh outlook. Robinson is heading into his rookie season as a head coach, and it will be a steep learning curve, but theres little doubt he is ready for the task ahead. The way he handled difficult situations during the offseason was superb, and his leadership and communication with players through preseason has earned him plenty of respect within the locker room. So what can we expect from Robinsons team? The Whitecaps coach has made no secret of the fact that he wants to play an attractive entertaining style of soccer. He has also said he wont be afraid to give youth a chance. Robinsons squad is young, but with experience in key areas throughout the team. In fact there is a strong veteran presence down the spine of the team with David Ousted in goal, Jay DeMerit and Andy OBrien at the back, Nigel Reo Coker in midfield and Kenny Miller up front. The Whitecaps have made some strong additions in the offseason but the biggest question mark is whether they will be able to replace the league-leading 22 goals scored by Camilo. There wont be one person who shoulders the responsibility of filling the void left by the Brazilian, it will need to be a team effort, and the way the squad has been built should help that to happen. Uruguyan duo Sebastian Fernandez and Nicolas Mezquida have shown evidence of their creativity and technical ability during preseason, and the expected arrival of Chilean attacking midfielder Pedro Morales from Spanish side Malaga will be a massive piece of the puzzle. Vancouver already has quality in attack. Keeping Kenny Miller fit is key for the Caps. It will also be interesting to see the development of youngsters Kekuta Manneh, Darren Mattocks, Erik Hurtado, Omar Salgado and Russell Teibert. All five of those players have the ability to contribute significantly to the Whitecaps attacking play. The Whitecaps added former MLS All-Star Steven Beitashour at right back to replace the retired YP Lee and have options in the central defensive positions with DeMerit and OBrien likely to be favoured to open the season, but Carlyle Mitchell, Johnny Leveron and draft pick Christian Dean all capable of stepping in at any time. With Carl Robinson likely to play a 4-2-3-1 formation, the two defensive midfield players will need to protect the back four but also start a lot of the Whitecaps play moving forward. On his day, Nigel Reo-Coker can be one of the top midfielders in the league, but Robinson will want to see more consistency from the Englishman this season dictating the play and getting box to box. One of the Whitecaps big offseason additions was young Argentine midfielder Matias Laba who arrived from Toronto FC. Hes a superb signing who will commplement the qualities of Reo Coker.dddddddddddd Laba is a destroyer. He breaks up the play and gets it going again in an effective manner. The defensive midfield pairing of Reo Coker and Laba could be particularly strong for the Whitecaps this season. Despite my view that the overall squad is better than a year ago, the Whitecaps wont find it easy to achieve their goal of making the playoffs in a Western Conference that is packed with quality. Last year, Vancouver improved on their points total from a year earlier, but didnt make it to the postseason. They improved, but not enough because the other teams around them had made bigger strides. This time around, the Whitecaps have made some significant changes. It might take them time to settle into their new identity, but it should be a fun ride. TSN Soccer analyst Jason deVos weighs in on how the Whitecaps will succeed or fail during the 2014 season. Jason deVos: Vancouver Whitecaps will succeed if… …the young guns come out firing. Rookie head coach Carl Robinson has a squad full of talented youngsters. Russell Teibert, Kekuta Manneh, Gershon Koffie, Omar Salgado, Darren Mattocks, Nicolás Mezquida, Matías Laba, Erik Hurtado, Andre Lewis and Sam Adekugbe are all under the age of 23. With youth comes inconsistency; an amazing performance one week, followed up by a flat one the next. If Robinson can get the young players to find a measure of consistency, the Whitecaps will fare far better than many predict this season. The reason for that is that this team is quick - and I mean, lightning fast. Mattocks, Manneh and Hurtado are whippets, and will win races against virtually every player in MLS. If the experienced players in the squad - Nigel Reo-Coker, Andy OBrien and Jay DeMerit - can shepherd the young players along the right path, the Whitecaps are going to surprise a few people this season. Vancouver Whitecaps will fail if… …they show up one week and not the next. Succeeding in professional soccer is all about finding a level of consistency from week to week. Reliability comes with experience - something that is severely lacking from this squad of players. The onus is on Robinson to set the standards of performance that he expects from all of his players. Experienced campaigners like Reo-Coker, OBrien and DeMerit wont be the issue - they know what they need to do to succeed in the game, and will rarely dip below a 7 out of 10 performance. It is the young players that need to learn this. They need to learn that you cannot turn it on one week, then not bother showing up the next. That will be Robinsons biggest challenge this season - getting a consistent level out of his talented crop of youngsters. If he can do that, this will be an exciting season for Whitecaps fans. If not, the Whitecaps will again fail to make the playoffs. 2013 finish: 13-12-9 (seventh in Western Conference). Did not qualify for MLS Cup playoffs. Whos In?: M Mehdi Ballouchy (Re-Entry Draft), D Steven Beitashour (traded from San Jose), M/F Sebastian Fernandez (loan from Boston River), M Matías Laba (trade from Toronto), M/F Nicolas Mezquida (transfer from Boston River), GK Paolo Tornaghi (signed). Whos Out?: GK Joe Cannon (option declined), M Jun Marques Davidson (option declined), F Tommy Heinemann (option declined), F Corey Hertzog (option declined), D Greg Klazura (option declined), GK Brad Knighton (traded to New England), M Daigo Kobayashi (option declined), D Lee Young-Pyo (retired), D Brad Rusin (option declined), F Camilo Sanvezzo (transfer to Queretaro), GK Simon Thomas (option declined). SuperDraft: D Christian Dean (1-3), MF Andre Lewis (1-7), F Mamadou Diouf (2-30). Wholesale NFL T-shirts Cheap Jerseys Free Shipping NFL Jerseys Wholesale China NFL Gear Wholesale NFL Camo Jerseys Cheap NFL Hoodies Camo China NFL Jerseys
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