Holliday living childhood dream
Slugging left fielder was always around father's college teams
SAN FRANCISCO -- If one ever wonders where Colorado Rockies slugger Matt Holliday first picked up baseball, they need to look no further than his dad.
Tom Holliday, currently the pitching coach at North Carolina State University, has been a baseball coach at the collegiate level for 31 years. He was the pitching coach at Texas for three years before NC State, and prior to that, he was at Oklahoma State for 26 years, seven of those as head coach.
How could it not wear off on young Matt?
"I've been around baseball my whole life and I think it helped," Holliday said. "I was around baseball a lot as a kid and it had a big influence on me. We spent a lot of time at the baseball field."
Holliday definitely picked something up, and for the second year in a row, he is a member of the National League All-Star team.
"I am very humbled and honored by that," Holliday said. "I don't know how much I will play, but I am very excited to be here.
"I always dreamed about this as a kid. This is great; I am happy to be here. I am still excited and nervous."
He comes into the game ranking second in the National League with a .341 batting average and has hit 15 home runs and driven in 69 runs. Last year he batted .326 with 34 home runs and 114 RBIs.
Holliday came up to the big leagues as a highly touted power hitter, but said he learned to hit for average before focusing on hitting home runs.
"As a young player, it's important to use the whole field," Holliday said. "That's important in the maturation of a hitter. As you learn to hit the ball the opposite way, you understand when you can try and pull the ball for a home run. I learned to hit the ball the other way first."
He is looking forward to playing in San Francisco's AT&T Park, a place the Rockies play often and a place he is comfortable with.
"I like playing here, it's a nice park," Holliday said. "I like hitting here and I feel comfortable in the batter's box."
Holliday is joined on the roster by teammate Brian Fuentes, but he won't be joined on the field by the All-Star closer.
Fuentes has a strained muscle in his side and will not be playing in the game, but will dress and be with the team. He is still very excited to partake in all the excitement.
"I'm here to enjoy the whole experience," Fuentes said. "It's disappointing knowing that I'm not going to play, but I am still having fun while I'm here."
This is Fuentes' third All-Star selection, and he is going to make sure he soaks it all in.
"It was an honor to be selected again," Fuentes said. "I wanted to enjoy the festivities and I am looking forward to being in the clubhouse before the game just talking with all the guys."
Despite the injury, Fuentes headed into the All-Star break with 20 saves, and he has 81 saves over the last two and a half seasons with Colorado.
Matt Smith is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.