07/14/10 12:49 AM ET
Idle during game, Meek savors ASG week
Reliever meets Ferrell, enjoys sharing stage with game's best
By Jenifer Langosch / MLB.com
The memo about making sure to put two jerseys in another room to be signed by the rest of the National League All-Star team? Yeah, Meek missed that one.
Fortunately, an observant clubhouse attendant came to Meek's rescue, grabbing the two uniform tops out of the right-hander's locker and painstakingly taking them from player to player making sure Meek didn't miss out on the souvenir.
Meek turned and watched as the attendant handed his jerseys to Philadelphia's Ryan Howard to sign next.
"I'm the one who forgot to put my jersey on the table," Meek shrugged.
Howard looked up.
"Don't worry," he said, grinning. "I did, too."
Meek smiled, certainly relieved to be in the same boat as a three-time All-Star and NL MVP Award winner.
In a broader sense, though, Meek enjoyed being in elite company for the past two days. He described it as partly overwhelming, both because of the players he was able to call his teammates and the attention he's now garnered. He called it both spectacular and humbling.
NL manager Charlie Manuel never called on Meek in Tuesday's 3-1 win by the Senior Circuit, which meant that for the second straight year, the Pirates' All-Star representatives did not play in the game. Neither Freddy Sanchez nor Zach Duke was used in last year's Midsummer Classic.
Meek showed a hint of disappointment afterward about not actually taking the mound at Angel Stadium, but it took him only seconds to step back and rather put the entire two-day experience into proper perspective.
"Obviously I would have loved to have pitched," said Meek, who never warmed up in the 'pen. "But just being here and being among these guys was good enough for me. There were a few situations where I thought I might get in there. I'm happy that we won. I'm happy that I got to experience it."
The experience may have culminated with Tuesday's game, but that was hardly the only highlight of Meek's trip out West, which will still include a day at Disneyland on Wednesday.
His personal camcorder has captured everything, from Monday's State Farm Home Run Derby to Tuesday's Red Carpet Parade. It was the latter that Meek called "by far the coolest thing," noting that it was particularly meaningful to be able to experience it with members of his family, who were seated inside the vehicle as it drove the streets of Anaheim.
"All the people clapping and seeing your name on the truck," Meek said. "It was so cool."
So, too, was meeting actor Will Ferrell, who briefly took a seat behind Meek during Monday's Derby competition.
"I looked right at him and said, 'You're funny,'" Meek recalled. "He looked at me and said, 'I know.'"
Their exchange ended there, as Ferrell left soon after to promote his upcoming film, "The Other Guys." It didn't matter. For Meek, it was still a highlight.
As much enjoyment as the Pittsburgh reliever may have gotten from all the peripheral events, there was a sense of relief when it actually came time to play baseball. The lack of routine was beginning to drive Meek -- one who readily describes himself as hyperactive and antsy as it is -- crazy.
He spent the game surrounded in the bullpen by the likes of Roy Halladay, Tim Hudson and Chris Carpenter. Out of those conversations came words of wisdom that Meek plans to take with him. Joining him as he travels back to Pittsburgh on Thursday will be one other thing, as well -- motivation to come back.
"Being around these great players, it makes you want to work harder," Meek said. "It makes you want to strive to be better on and off the field. It's really something that you can't really explain. I know I didn't pitch, I know I would have liked to have pitched, but just being down there and being a part of the game was overwhelming.
"I can always look back on this and know that I was among the best baseball players," Meek added. "That feeling is what's going to last."
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.