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Big League Stew

Mark Melancon’s sweet All-Star ride: A mini-van

Kevin Kaduk
Big League Stew

Many of baseball's All-Stars arrived in New York on a private jet before being whisked to their hotels in a limousine or town car.

Mark Melancon, however, took a decidedly less glamorous option in traveling to his first Midsummer Classic appearance.

Yes, the Pittsburgh Pirates setup man arrived in the Big Apple on Sunday night in a rented mini-van with the rest of his family.

From the Associated Press:

''My parents picked it up when they arrived at the airport, when they flew in (from Colorado),'' he said. ''They got packed up and they came to the game, and we took off from the stadium.''

His father drove, while he and wife Mary Catherine were passengers along with their nearly 2-year-old daughter Brooklyn and his mom.

''We talked, and I got some good quality family time,'' Melancon said.

The drive between Pittsburgh and NYC is about 380 miles and while that's a haul, you have to figure it sounds a bit better than lugging a two-year-old through two airports and aboard a plane. Plus, you have to get your family time where you can get it during a 162-game season that features a strong possibility of extended play in the postseason.

Come to think of it, a reliable and steady mini-van really seems like a fitting mode of transportation for the ultra-consistent Melancon. The 28-year-old righthander is having a career year after being traded from Boston as part of the Joel Hanrahan trade last winter. Though fellow All-Star Jason Grilli gets the save spotlight and accolades as the Pirates' closer, Melancon has been just as integral to Pittsburgh's success, posting a 0.81 ERA and 46 strikeouts in 44 1/3 innings. Though it took an injury to teammate Jeff Locke to get him added as a late All-Star replacement, Melancon deserved to be at the All-Star game all along.

Then again, just like with that mini-van trip down the Pennsylvania highways, it doesn't matter how Melancon got here. It only matters that he's here.

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