SAN DIEGO -- Everyone else was gone, but Brady Anderson didn't want to leave the All-Star clubhouse. It was late Tuesday night, and time was running out on his dream.
"It was the quickest two days of my life," said Anderson, who came home to play in the 63rd All-Star Game. "It was a blast."
The only thing missing was a blast from a player who finally has escaped his past. Anderson entered the game in the middle innings and went hitless in three at-bats, but no matter. His offensive contribution would have been lost in the record-breaking shower of hits that carried the American League to a 13-6 victory over the National League at Jack Murphy Stadium.
Well, actually, it did matter, at least to Anderson, who was playing before a sellout crowd of 59,372 that included plenty of the people who helped Anderson arrive at this high point in his life.
"It mattered a lot," he said. "I wanted a hit."
There were plenty to go around. Seattle Mariners outfielder Ken Griffey didn't need all of his. He homered, doubled and singled to win the game's MVP trophy. The American League had 19 in all, two more than the All-Star record that had stood since 1954. Anderson wanted only one, and he waited around to try to get it.
"I kept hoping for one more at-bat," he said. "I was thinking about it from the seventh inning on. Then, in the eighth inning, I realized I had a chance."
The fairy-tale thing only goes so far. Anderson, who had little reason to think he would get that chance after he made the final out of the seventh inning, came up with one out in the top of the ninth. The game was no longer in doubt -- it was never in doubt after the AL scored four times on a record seven straight hits in the first inning -- but there was time for one more magic moment for the kid from Carlsbad High.
He wanted it so bad. Maybe he wanted it too bad. He flied out to center field and had to settle instead for the thrill of a lopsided victory that extended the American League's All-Star winning streak to five games.
"Everything went by so fast," he said. "All of the sudden, we're going through the introductions and then [Roberto] Alomar is hitting."
National League starter Tom Glavine probably felt like time was zTC standing still. He got Alomar out, and then gave up seven consecutive singles. He might still be out there if Cal Ripken had not run into an out at second base and AL starting pitcher Kevin Brown had not struck out to end the inning.
The rest was All-Star history -- a hit parade unmatched in the 60-year history of the game. Fifteen AL batters hit safely in an assault that set a list of records as long as that first inning.
"It was awesome," said Boston Red Sox third baseman Wade Boggs, who started it all with a ground-ball single through the middle. "Everyone was laughing and joking and carrying on in our dugout. It was a lot of fun."
Boggs has been around for a while. He has played on eight All-Star teams. But he never had seen anything like this. The American League scored 13 runs in the 1983 game at Comiskey Park, but Boggs was left off that team, even though he was on his way to a .361 average and his first batting title. The 1992 AL squad never let up, building a 13-1 lead before the National League scored five runs in the final two innings to make it only the third-most-lopsided game in All-Star history.
The AL starters scored six times in the first three innings and accounted for 11 hits before manager Tom Kelly made wholesale changes and shuttled everyone on the 28-man roster into the game.
The attack was spread so evenly throughout the AL roster that only three players had more than one hit. Griffey had his three, Joe Carter had two and middle-inning replacement Robin Ventura had two in two at-bats.
Kelly said it would be that way. He had it all mapped out before the game, exhorting his players during a pre-game meeting to pile up the hits and build a big lead early.
"He said to get ready, get loose and win this thing in the first inning," Anderson said, "and we did."
The Twins manager was the winning manager in the 1988 All-Star Game that was the beginning of the end of the National League's longtime dominance of the event. The NL had won 22 of 25 previous games. The American League has won every one since.