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Greetings from Gate C-17

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  July 13, 2011 01:02 PM

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PHOENIX Greetings from the Steve Nash International Airport, where we're waiting for a flight to Tampa via Atlanta.

The Red Sox have a mandatory workout at Tropicana Field tomorrow night. So it made more sense to right to Tampa today instead of heading back home for a day.

The airport is a madhouse this morning as people flee Phoenix after the All-Star Game. But they're pretty efficient here with security.

The All-Star Game is always fun to cover. You get to see a lot of friends in the media business and catch up with players you know. For me, it was great to see Heath Bell come sprinting out of the National League bullpen like a madman in the eighth inning and slide when he reached the mound.

"I wanted the fans to have fun with this. The fans are really what matters. They're the ones that show up. They're the ones who pay our salary," Heath told the Los Angeles Times. "I didn't hurt myself. I wanted to have a blast. And I accomplished that goal."

Heath was signed as an amateur free agent after not being drafted in 1998 and spent parts of seven seasons on the minors with the Mets before he made his debut in 2002. I always found him interesting to talk to because he spoke his opinion.

The Mets gave up on him after three seasons, sending him to the Padres. Bell was a chunky righthander with decent stuff but didn't look anything like a future All-Star. But he blossomed with the Padres in 2009, becoming a closer. Now he has made the All-Star team three years in a row.

It's a little goofy to come running out of the bullpen and slide into the mound. But baseball could use more goofy. Guys like Heath and Brian Wilson are good for the game.

OK, off to Florida. Thanks for reading the All-Star coverage the last few days. We'll have a report from the workout tomorrow.

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