Bacon-wrapped hot dogs, Erin Andrews and more All-Star fun

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ANAHEIM, Calif. — I heard they were going to be serving hot dogs wrapped in bacon at the All-Star game in Anaheim, so naturally I had to go.

In addition to the bacon-wrapped goodness, they’ll have a sampling of foods from other MLB ballparks, including Crab Dogs from Baltimore, Blake Street Burritos from Denver (no Rocky Mountain oysters?), and pulled pork BBQ nachos from Houston.

But I’m not just here for the food, but to take in the sites and pass them on to you, the faithful HBT reader. First things first, the weather is gorgeous in Anaheim. The clouds/smog burned off around noon, leaving sunny weather in the low 70s with the hint of a breeze.

Taking in the Futures Game now, with much of the buzz surrounding Angels prospect (naturally) Mike Trout, an 18-year-old playing in the Class-A Midwest League. Another Angels minor leaguer, AAA catcher Hank Conger, blasted a 3-run homer in what has become a U.S, rout.

Random things seen/heard:

  • The Rangers sold 14,000 walk-up tickets for Cliff Lee’s debut on Saturday night. And even though they gave up a lot in the trade with the Mariners, the word is that they didn’t mind because their system is so deep. Also, I’m guessing they smell blood in the water with the Angels struggling.
  • Erin Andrews is more attractive in person. So is Peter Gammons.
  • The last All-Star game in Anaheim was in 1989, when Bo Jackson stole the show with a mammoth home run and ended up being named the game’s MVP.

But did you know that the only other All-Star game in Anaheim was in 1967, a 2-1 victory for the NL that lasted 15 innings. Catfish Hunter pitched 5(!) innings in relief and took the loss. Wonder what Bruce Bochy would do to Charlie Manuel is Manuel pitched Tim Lincecum five innings on Tuesday. Things have changed a bit, I guess.

  • More on Bo Jackson: He’s playing in the Legends and Celebrity Softball Game tonight, which will also include Mike Piazza, Rickey Henderson and Dave Winfield, among others. The list of celebrities includes MC Hammer, Michael Clarke Duncan, and an actor named Marcus Giamatti, who is the son of Bart, and brother of Paul. Maybe Marisa Miller can save the show.
  • There are now approximately 80 players on the All-Star rosters due to injuries and withdrawals. Thank goodness this isn’t T-ball where everyone has to get a turn to bat.
  • Don’t forget to check out the big home run derby contest here, where you can win the right to be a big-time sports blogger for one whole post. It’s glamorous, trust us.

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Carlos Ruiz leaves a goodbye note for the Phillies

CLEARWATER, FL - FEBRUARY 26:  Carlos Ruiz #51 of the Philadelphia Phillies poses for a portrait on February 26, 2016 at Bright House Field in Clearwater, Florida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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And then there was one. One player from the 2008 World Series champs, that is. Ryan Howard likely isn’t going anywhere so he’ll be the last one to turn the lights off, but today Carlo Ruiz bid adieu to the Phillies following his trade to Los Angeles.

Lost in all of the emotions the Dodgers are reported to be feeling about A.J. Ellis leaving is the fact that Ruiz was one of the most beloved Phillies players ever, by both his teammates and their fans. Yesterday Roy Halladay penned a heartfelt goodbye to Ruiz, suggesting that he was every bit as essential to his and the Phillies’ success as Ellis has been to Clayton Kershaw (and in pure baseball production, obviously, quite more).

Today Chooch left a message for his now former teammates:

A far-fetched sounding drug test scam

NES TSIONA, ISRAEL - JANUARY 22:  A laboratory technician checks human blood samples before placing the glass tubes on an automated testing line at the Maccabi Health Services HMO central laboratory January 22, 2006 in Nes Tsiona which is located in central Israel. The laboratory, which operates a fully automated system complete with advanced robotics, can test more than 50,000 blood samples a day. The lab is considered one of the most modern of its kind in the western world.  (Photo by David Silverman/Getty Images)
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Kevin Draper at Deadspin is passing along a story — and that’s not me editorializing; he’s admitting that it’s unconfirmed gossip at the moment — about a major league player paying a teammate $2.5 million to take the fall for him on a drug test. The story came via a tip from someone who, apparently, had a conversation about the drug test scam with a college baseball player who knew the players allegedly involved in the scam.

Here is how the conversation was recounted:

College Baseball Player: [MLB player’s star teammate] paid him to take his blood test. $2.5 million dollars.

Bar Patron: How does that even work?

College Baseball Player: [MLB player] and [MLB player’s star teammate] were getting tested the same day. They traded samples.

Deadspin says that the story is “probably bulls**t” but that some preliminary investigating they’ve done doesn’t disprove it and, to some extent corroborates it. How it’s been supported or not is left unclear and Deadspin couches all of this in a request for more information if anyone has any. Which, OK, fine.

I’ll offer that, on the surface, this seems like a bit more than mere “bulls**t.” It sounds structurally impossible. If it’s a blood test for HGH as the excerpt suggests, the samples are tested back in the lab to make sure they match up with previous samples. Meaning: the lab processing the sample knows if it’s your blood or not. If it’s a urine test, as Deadspin thinks it may have been, I’m not sure how samples could be switched given that urine tests are directly observed by testing officials. Yes, they watch you pee. They’d likely prevent you from peeing right next to your bro teammate, but even if you did, they’d see you exchange little plastic containers of urine with him.

I’m not going to say that this is 100% bull because we can’t really know for sure, but the scenario as described sounds highly unlikely, approaching the impossible. If someone had a story about bribing a sample taker with $2.5 million well, hey, maybe we’re getting somewhere, because that would get you over some procedural hurdles. For now, though, this all sounds like someone passing along a tall tale.

If it is true? Hoo boy, that’d be fun. At least for people like me who write about this stuff.