CINCINNATI -- Clint Hurdle still recalls his first All-Star Game experience with a wince. As manager of the 2007 National League champion Rockies, he had the NL reins in 2008: Playing in soon-to-be-leveled Old Yankee Stadium, squandering seventh- and eighth-inning leads, going 15 innings to a 4-3 loss.
"That was," Hurdle said on Sunday morning, "like an algebra test in a dentist's chair. Absolute clenched-fist, from start to finish."
Thus, Hurdle looks forward with great excitement to his second Midsummer Classic role, as one of Mike Matheny's coaches for the 85th renewal in Minnesota. Fewer responsibilities equal greater enjoyment.
Of course, being part of a five-man Pirates traveling party will enhance the occasion: Starting center fielder Andrew McCutchen, versatile Josh Harrison, left-hander Tony Watson and assistant athletic trainer Ben Potenziano are also on their way to Target Field.
"Oh, absolutely," Hurdle said enthusiastically. "It's a priceless moment, to be part of the festivities, the celebration of baseball. When you get in that locker room and see those players."
One of the players who will be in that NL locker room, Cincinnati's Todd Frazier, crossed Hurdle on the field the other day and called making the All-Star team a "dream come true."
"Kid," Hurdle responded, "it's a dream come true for 56-year-old men, too."
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.