For 45 minutes, wave after wave of reporters stopped by Harrison’s table to get the story on perhaps the most unlikely of the 81 players participating in the festivities that culminate tonight with the All-Star Game at Target Field.
Though he has had never been a key figure for the Pirates until this season, his fourth in the major leagues, Harrison has always been popular with the Pittsburgh-area media. He has a welcoming nature and seems to enjoy interacting with reporters.
Still, Harrison wasn’t expecting quite the steady stream of attention he received Monday.
“I didn’t know what to expect but it’s a lot of people asking a lot of different questions,” Harrison said toward the end of the media session. “I’m a little surprised that many people are interested in my story. It’s flattering, really. The best part of it is a lot of people want to talk about the Pirates, and I’m very proud to represent the organization here.’
Harrison was selected to the NL by manager Mike Matheny of the Cardinals despite not being an everyday player. Harrison has been productive this season, though; he has hit .297 with five home runs, 28 RBIs and nine stolen bases in 79 games.
“He’s been important part of (the Pirates) this season,” Matheny said. “He can do a lot of different things to help a club.”
What makes Harrison especially attractive to Matheny is that he has played second base, third base, shortstop, left field and right field in his career. Harrison even pitched in mop-up reliever last season in a game at Colorado.
The versatility gives Matheny many options.
Despite being a man of many positions, Harrison said he brought just two gloves to the Twin Cities.
“One for the infield and one for the outfield,” he said.
Which would he prefer to use Tuesday night?
“Whichever gets me into the game,” he said with a smile. “I’m thrilled just to be able to be part of this. If I actually get in the game, that’d make the experience even better.”