CINCINNATI - Anthony Rizzo doesn't see how any of this could ever get old.
Even though it was his second straight All-Star Game appearance, it was still a week of firsts for Rizzo and rookie teammate Kris Bryant.
"I never would have thought something like this would happen," Rizzo said. "[The All-Star Game] is equally awesome this time around. It's fun. Something that I don't think will ever get old."
Rizzo finished 0-for-2 with a groundout to first base and a fly out to center field as the American League beat the National League 6-3.
Rizzo is in his first pennant chase with the Cubs this season, but he still saw the two-day detour to Cincinnati as a break, even though his schedule was packed to the brim with obligations, appearances, parades and so on.
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Rizzo spent the week posing for pictures with fans and hanging around every player he could, not necessarily trying to pick up tips, but just taking everything in stride.
From chatting with veteran stars like Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder to young bucks like Joc Pederson and Bryce Harper, Rizzo was content to just have a good time. Case in point:
— All-Star Game (@AllStarGame) July 15, 2015
"I just like to talk," he said. "Whatever they're talking about, just listening, absorbing, trying to take it all in."
Rizzo and Bryant will both go home with some lifelong memories and souvenirs that include jerseys signed by each player on the NL roster.
On a roster packed with third basemen - hometown slugger Todd Frazier got the start while Colorado's Nolan Arenado relieved him - Bryant's versatility came in handy as NL manager Bruce Bochy put the Cubs rookie out in left field to start the sixth inning.
Bryant walked in his first plate appearance in the seventh inning and then flew out to the warning track in the bottom of the ninth off Minnesota Twins closer Glen Perkins.
But it didn't really matter what transpired Tuesday, as Bryant's best memory came in the Home Run Derby Monday night, when his dad pitched to him.
"Nothing's gonna top that," Bryant said.
Just like with that Home Run Derby, Bryant said the result of Tuesday's All-Star Game didn't really matter much to him.
"It's more the experience," he said. "I think 20 years from now, I'm not gonna remember what the score was or what I did in this game. I'll just remember that this is my first All-Star Game and I had a blast."
Bryant and Rizzo are in the middle of a heated NL Central battle with the St. Louis Cardinals and Pittsburgh Pirates, but found a way to coexist in the same locker room with the combined 10 All-Stars those two teams sent to Cincinnati.
"It's good. We're all baseball players. We're all human beings," Bryant said. "We're on the field competing against each other and we want to beat 'em, but any time other than that, I think, we're friends.
"We're all in this together, playing this crazy game because we love it and enjoy it. Everybody - from the Pirates to the Cardinals - they're all really good people and very friendly, so I think it's actually pretty cool."
Bryant took the same path as Rizzo, spending his first All-Star Game soaking it all up.
"Just looking at guys and how they're preparing for a game, how they take their batting practice round," Bryant said. "I think sometimes, you can learn more from not even talking to them, just watching how they go about it. There's a lot of guys here to watch."
Bryant and Rizzo only have two days off now before the season's unofficial second half resumes Friday, but that's enough time for them.
"It's gonna be nice to go home and chill out for a couple days," Rizzo said. "Reset, recharge the batters and then back in the saddle.
"We're ready to go. We have a lot left to do potential-wise."