Chipper has become part of the old guard

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NEW YORK --- Billy Wagner heard it from all sides.

Giants reliever Brian Wilson talked about admiring the New York Mets closer when he was playing in college. Braves star Chipper Jones made sure Wagner knew he was the oldest All-Star on the National League team.

"I gotta make myself feel better that I'm not the oldest one here," Jones said.

Wagner, who turns 37 on July 25, actually was the oldest player on both rosters for Tuesday night's All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium. Not that it mattered to him.

"I think over the long haul you look and go, 'Man, I've been here for a while and I'm still here,' " he said. "It starts to be a compliment more than somebody kind of saying something negative."

Jones, the third-oldest player in the game behind Boston catcher Jason Varitek , was enjoying his first All-Star appearance since 2001.

"Last time I was one of the youngest," the 36-year-old Jones said before signing a jersey for Colorado's Matt Holliday . "Crazy."

BIG NIGHT FOR THE BOSS: Baseball planned to honor New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner at the All-Star Game.

"It's awesome. It's well-deserved," Yankees star Alex Rodriguez said. "Above all, the stadium and Mr. Steinbrenner are the biggest stars."

Steinbrenner, 78, was in attendance for the 79th edition of the Midsummer Classic in Yankee Stadium's final season. Steinbrenner bought the Yankees in 1973, and the team has won six of its 26 World Series titles during his tenure.

While the Boss is still involved with the team, usually working in his Tampa office, he's turned over much of the daily operation to his sons, Hank and Hal Steinbrenner .

HOTEL GUEST: Josh Hamilton was watching the end of the movie The Natural in his hotel room in midtown Manhattan when he received a visitor.

It was a random drug test.

"Right when (Robert Redford 's character) was about to hit the home run, the pee guy came in," Hamilton said. "I said, 'Hold on. I've got to watch this.' "

NO JOE: Dodgers manager Joe Torre was back in New York for the All-Star break to play host to his Safe at Home Foundation's annual charity golf tournament. The one thing he didn't do was attend the All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium, his baseball home from 1996-2007.

"I'm not going. I will watch it," he said. "But if I was there, it would be strange to be on the other side of the field. That would be the odd perspective I'd have to look at it from."

WILLIE'S BACK: Former Mets manager Willie Randolph accepted Steinbrenner's invitation to the All-Star Game. Randolph, a former All-Star second baseman and longtime coach with the Yankees, was fired in June.


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