07/15/2003 10:45 PM ET
Mora 'excited' about appearance
CHICAGO -- The hitter with the second-best average in the American League didn't
get to swing a bat in his first All-Star Game.
But Melvin Mora didn't mind a whole lot. That's because the Orioles' Mr. Everything got to cross home plate in the eighth inning as a pinch-runner as the American League rallied to beat the National League, 7-6, on Tuesday at U.S. Cellular Field.
"I was excited to score, especially in a comeback like that," Mora said with a
smile after Tuesday's Midsummer Classic. "[AL manager] Mike Scioscia did a good
job of keeping some of us for the last part of the game."
Mora entered as a pinch-runner in the eighth, replacing Garret Anderson after
the Home Run Derby champ had doubled to finish off a 3-for-4 night that secured
him the MVP award.
"[Scioscia] did a good job keeping Anderson in the game because he was hot,"
Mora also knew that because he's capable of playing anywhere in the outfield or
the middle infield, he'd be on call for any situation that arose at any number of
"I wanted to hit, but I know the situation," Mora said. "I know if somebody got
hurt, I could cover any of the positions. I didn't want anything to happen like
last year when we ran out of players.
"The situation came up where we needed a pinch-runner, and I scored. That's
By John Schlegel / MLB.com
Clearly, the AL victory and the fact that Mora did get his name in the box score made not picking up a bat a lot less disappointing than it
could have been.
But, then, Mora could hardly have been disappointed with anything about being
in Chicago these last two days, considering what he'd done in his career before
this remarkable season came out of nowhere. A career .249 hitter in parts of
four seasons with the Mets and Orioles before 2003, Mora's .349 average is
second only to Seattle All-Star Ichiro Suzuki's .352 among the American League
So there was plenty of reason for Mora to be wearing a smile after Tuesday's
Even after the National League took a 5-1 lead with a five-run fifth inning,
Mora said the American League dugout was loose and ready to go the distance.
"We were excited from the beginning, even when we were down in the score," Mora
said. "We know we have a lot of great players here, so you never know. You can't
count us out until there are 27 outs."
Once there were 27 outs, Mora had scored a run in his first All-Star Game and
was happy to enjoy the atmosphere of the winning clubhouse.
"It's great being my first year as an All-Star," Mora said. "All the veterans
here, they made me feel comfortable and made me feel good, like in a house.
"Alex Rodriguez came to me and said, 'Did you enjoy your first All-Star Game?' I
said, 'Yeah, yeah, yeah.' Everybody's going home happy because we won. It's not
just a game. We played to win, and it went great."
John Schlegel is a reporter
for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball
or its clubs.