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All-Star Impressions

The Giants deserve props. They put on a terrific All-Star show this weekend. If you’re a baseball fan, you’ve got to feel jazzed. All that talent in one place. And a great game to boot. I only wish National League manager Tony La Russa had a sense of the moment.

Here are my impressions of the weekend.

— Ichiro Suzuki, when motivated, is as close as the game has to a modern-day Rickey Henderson. The havoc he causes with his speed. The power he can show when you make a mistake. The way he puts immediate pressure on a pitching staff. He’ll be a reason the Mariners stick around the race all summer.

— Barry Bonds, after a shaky beginning, emerged as a winner this weekend. His give-and-take with reporters at Media Day on Monday was not nearly as belligerent as in the past. The length of the Home Run Derby lent credence to his reasoning that he wasn’t physically strong enough to participate anymore (although, again, why not go up and hit 10 balls, just for fun). And he seemed to show a sense of genuine enjoyment. Thing about Bonds is, he can be extremely charming when he wants to be. And you can’t tell me he doesn’t care about being embraced at the moment of No. 756. He does, and perhaps that’s why he seems to be trying hard to be more human than ever.

— All it takes is a few minutes watching Derek Jeter in a clubhouse to understand his impact on any team for whom he plays. The man is the definition of presence.

— Then there’s Jerry Rice, who gets my vote for “Jackass of the Weekend.” Rice bullied his way to the front of media scrums to ask self-serving questions for Fox, inquiries that often started with statements about how great he was. Not to sound too self-important, but those actions are so disrespectful to those of us who have been legitimate members of the media. I wonder how Rice would’ve felt if I’d been allowed to pipe my opinion when the 49ers were in the huddle.

— Went to the Fan Fest and enjoyed it to an extent (the commercialism at the event was nauseating though). But baseball ought to think about finding a way to escort people through the interminably long lines quicker. Remember, a lot of these fans are kids, and to expect 8-,9-, and 10-year-olds to wait an hour for an attraction is a bit much.

— Having said that, the virtual reality hitting machine, which simulates batting against a Major-League pitcher, is one of the coolest gadgets I’ve ever seen. I don’t really get the whole I-Pod, I-Phone thing, and I’ve never been one to go ga-ga over toys for adults, but that’s something I’d buy if it ever went on the market for a somewhat decent price.

rhurd