Both Cubs manager Mike Quade and shortstop Starlin Castro tried to take in as much as they could of their All-Star Game experiences.
Quade was one of the National League coaches, and Castro became the youngest Cubs player in history to appear in an All-Star Game. His biggest thrill? Meeting and talking to Hall of Fame shortstop and third baseman Cal Ripken Jr.
"He said he watches me play," Castro said. "He said, 'Keep going. You're a good player.'"
Quade said he made it a point to soak up some of the atmosphere.
"The place was absolutely packed," he said. "Even going during the playoffs, I don't remember it being like that. (The best part was) getting chance to visit with some of elite guys that you see from across the diamond."
There was one part of the trip Quade would like to forget. He had quite the experience with TSA agents at the Phoenix airport leaving town.
"I got detained 40 minutes at security," he said. "I guess they thought I had a bomb or something. I got patted down. I never did tell them … I never do that 'who I am' or whatever. But I was hoping they'd ask. I guess one of their alarms went off or something. You hear about who you get the whole pat-down. Fortunately, I was there early so I didn't miss my flight.
"They screened my stuff three or four times. The first pat-down, they weren't successful. I don't know what they were looking for. They had to do a second one in a concealed room. I'm sure they were just doing their job. It took awhile. I was a little bit belligerent late. I was glad I didn't end up in tent city."
Mike Quade said he had a chance to talk with pitcher Ryan Dempster, with whom he got into a dugout argument last Saturday in Pittsburgh. Quade pulled Dempster after 5 innings of a game the Cubs won.
"Everything's fantastic," Quade said. "That's part of being at this level, not just in this town, but anywhere else. It's like anything else, whether you're arguing with a player or a coach or people at home or whatever. It's probably a different interpretation of what's going on. Oftentimes, that's not considered during that moment."
Carlos Zambrano will come off the disabled list and start Saturday. Randy Wells follows on Sunday. Mike Quade said Rodrigo Lopez would take the fifth spot in the rotation with Ramon Ortiz going to the bullpen.
The Cubs have signed a pair of top 10 round picks from this year's draft. Third-rounder Zeke DeVoss, a center fielder out of the University of Miami, is playing for the Cubs' Rookie League team in Mesa, Ariz.
Catcher Neftali Rosario, out of Puerto Rico, also has signed. He was a sixth-rounder.