Coming Home. Mark Melancon, Kevin Gausman return to Denver as All-Stars
DENVER -- Mark Melancon's morning routine changed Tuesday.
Wake up. Pinch self.
The former three-sport standout for the Golden High School Demons returned to Denver and baseball heaven. He's a National League All-Star again, this time in his home state.
"It gives me goose bumps. I was here for the first one in 1998 (attending the game as a kid)," said Melancon, who has revived his career with the 27 saves with the San Diego Padres. "Growing up a Rockies fan, it doesn't get much better than this. And to come back to Coors Field. They do such a great job of keeping this place up, keeping it fresh. And the bullpen is unique with that mountain feel. ... This does feel a little bit like a dream."
Melancon is not carrying the state flag alone. San Francisco Giants ace Kevin Gausman joined him on the NL team. Gasuman attended Grandview High School in Aurora, where his number is retired along with Greg Byrd on the outfield wall. While Melancon is a four-time All-Star, Gausman is one of 40 first-timers. Late Tuesday night, another Colorado high school star landed on the American League with Chatfield High's Taylor Rogers.
"It’s probably going to be really emotional tomorrow night," Gausman told Denver7. "Not a lot of Colorado guys go to the All-Star Game. So this is special."
Gausman, who has enjoyed a renaissance by focusing on throwing his splitter and fastball 90 percent of the time, will have 30 family and friends at the game, just shy of Melancon's number.
"I asked for that many, and I didn't think I would get them," Gausman said with a laugh. "Everyone from family and friends who wants to come will be here."
Melancon credits the late Hall of Famer Roy Halladay for paving the road to stardom. Melancon watched him in high school at Arvada West, leaving him inspired.
"There's a small group of us that have come out of Colorado," said Melancon, who was five years behind Halladay in his career with Gausman six years behind Melancon. "But it's a really talented group as well."
Gausman's career was teetering after he tied himself in knots in Baltimore. He untangled the yarn with San Francisco last season -- it was his fifth team in five years -- and found his groove this year as the anchor of the rotation.
"I definitely earned this. And two Colorado guys in the All-Star Game, that's crazy," said Gausman, who is 9-3 with a 1.73 ERA. "It's going to be cool moment and a cool night."
With pitchers deemed unavailable because they pitched over the weekend, reinforcements were needed. Rogers received the call. The 30-year-old boasts a 3.35 ERA with eight saves.
As for Melancon and Gausman, both keep tabs on their state even if they don't live here full time. So of course, I had to ask them about the Broncos, returning twice to get Melancon's take. Any thoughts on the quarterback, gentleman: Drew Lock, Teddy Bridgewater or do you want Aaron Rodgers?
"Who wouldn't (Rodgers)?" said Melancon, a Broncos' fan, but doesn't see all the games anymore since he calls Florida home.
Added Gausman,"I like Drew Lock. But who knows what they will do, We will see."