This is my ninth All-Star Game, but my first in California, and it is already one of my favorites — other than the fact there is simpl too much orange everywhere. The weather is perfect, except for being a little chilly, I was fortunate enough to get into the Westin St. Francis, the MLB headquarters hotel, while most of my fellow scribes are sequestered at the designated media hotels down the street (it helped that I’m staying through the weekend with the Dodgers). I was assigned Seat No. 49 in the main press box, four seats from the end in the second row, between my good friends Bill Shaikin from the Times and Carter Gaddis from the Tampa Tribune (I also sat next to Carter last year in Pittsburgh), and directly behind Jack Etkin, one of my mentors back when I first started covering baseball for the Rocky Mountain News. This is a great event for writers, even though we all complain about what a pain in the rear it is to get access to players because there is so much media. It’s a little like a fraternity convention, with the BBWAA the fraternity. I get to see some of my friends every series that the Dodgers play, but here, I get to see nearly ALL of them, from all over the country, so that’s really cool. … The HR Derby is less than an hour away. Good thing about a West Coast All-Star Game is that, for TV reasons, it takes place in the twilight, with much of the field still bathed in sunlight during the Derby and the game. The AL is taking batting practice right now wearing their hideous orange BP jerseys. The NL is wearing black versions of the same ones. You’ll see both if you tune in to the Derby tonight. More to come later.