KANSAS CITY -- D-backs starter Wade Miley was already reminiscing about the bus ride that took his team of National League All-Stars from the hotel to Monday's media session at Arrowhead Stadium less than an hour after the brief trip ended.
Miley said he shook hands and spent a few moments with his childhood hero, Braves third baseman Chipper Jones. He mentioned seeing Mets All-Stars David Wright and R.A. Dickey and some of his NL teammates like he had never seen them in his life.
Make no mistake, Miley, the rookie All-Star and only member of the D-backs in Kansas City, knows he's an All-Star, too. He can also understand why his peers say he deserves to be here and he knows how hard he's worked to get to this point in his young career. He still admits the entire experience is unbelievable."
"It just blows my mind," Miley said. "On the bus, I was a like a little puppy dog looking around at everybody. I'm just trying to cherish it. You never know if this is going to happen again, so you have try to take it all in."
There's already a lot for Miley to "take in." It's been quite a year.
Miley, who joined the rotation when Daniel Hudson was injured in April, is 9-5 with a 3.04 ERA in 17 games (14 starts). Those are impressive numbers, especially when you consider he was not on the radar to make team when Spring Training opened in February. He eventually pitched well enough to earn a spot out of camp as the long man out of the bullpen even before Takashi Saito suffered a calf injury, D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said.
"It seems like it's a surprise what he's done for many, yet he's a guy that we've developed over the years," Gibson said. "A couple of years ago during the spring, we threw him a lot and he got a lot of exposure. He went down to the Minor Leagues, got off to a slow start and then he finished really well. Last spring, he came back with a different attitude. I think it's just a good story of developing a guy in your organization."
If anybody knows how far Miley has come, it is Oakland pitcher and American League All-Star Ryan Cook. Like Miley, Cook was drafted by the D-backs in 2008 and developed in the organization. Cook was traded to the A's with Collin Cowgill and Jarrod Parker for Craig Breslow and Trevor Cahill last winter.
"I'm so happy for Wade," Cook said. "He's one of my best friends in that organization and we've played at every level along the way, from rookie ball to every stop. To have us be separated and come back together at something like this is kind of crazy."
National League lineup
1. Carlos Gonzalez, COL
2. Melky Cabrera, SF
3. Ryan Braun, MIL
4. Joey Votto, CIN
5. Carlos Beltran, STL
6. Buster Posey, SF
7. Pablo Sandoval, SF
8. Dan Uggla, ATL
9. Rafael Furcal, STL
Matt Cain, SF
Miley said the pitchers' families met during their time in Class A and Double-A, and on Sunday, the Mileys and the Cooks spent time together in Kansas City. Miley's wife, parents, in-laws and grandparents are all part of the traveling party. The pride of Loranger, La., where the estimated population is just under 6,000, Miley knows that everyone in his hometown will be with him in spirit. He's also overjoyed Cook will be in the opposite dugout.
"The day I found out about being an All-Star, I sent [Cook] a text and said, 'Do you believe we were in Double-A last year?' I was struggling in Double-A last year and now I'm on the All-Star team," Miley said. "It's amazing. Baseball is a crazy game."
It sure is. Miley is optimistic the third-place D-backs can turn their season around and win the NL West for the second year in a row. Arizona is coming off a three-game sweep of the Dodgers and resume play on Friday against the Cubs in Chicago.
"I play with a great group of guys and we feel comfortable in the clubhouse," Miley said. "It's like a family in there. I just hope we come together the way we finished the first half. We can take off from there because there's a whole lot of baseball left."
But in the meantime, there are more memories to be made. There are more bus rides, autograph sessions, the ride down the red carpet on Tuesday and a host of other All-Star-related events for Miley to enjoy. He'd also like to spend some more time talking to Jones.
"It's incredible. I remember being a little kid and watching him," Miley said. "I was torn because I wanted Aaron Hill to win the Final Vote. He's my teammate and he deserved it. But hey, it's Chipper Jones. This is all so awesome, something that nobody can ever take away."
The 83rd Major League Baseball All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 200 countries via MLB International's independent feed. Pregame ceremonies begin at 4:30 p.m. MST. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive national radio coverage. MLB Network, MLB.com and Sirius XM also will provide comprehensive All-Star Game coverage.
Fans will also have the opportunity to participate in the official voting for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player presented by Chevrolet via the 2012 MLB.com All-Star Game MVP Vote during the All-Star Game on MLB.com.
Jesse Sanchez is a national reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.