This is only my second All-Star Game, so it's still very exciting for me. The first time I was voted in by the fans -- which is a great tribute -- and this time I was voted in by my fellow players, and that means a lot to me in a little bit of a different way.

Maybe the coolest part of this year's All-Star Game is that I have a lot of family and friends here in San Francisco. I was born and raised in Sacramento and I still live there, so I'm close to home. It's only an hour and a half to two hours away -- close enough that everyone can hop in the car and drive up.

Needless to say, I've been scrounging for some extra tickets to accommodate everyone. I have about 20 already, and if I can get four or five more, we should be all set.

We're going to have a good time. I'll get to see a lot of people I don't ordinarily get to see in the summer months.

One thing I know from my previous All-Star Game two years ago in Detroit is that it's definitely a hectic schedule. But you roll with it and understand it's all part of the experience.

You're not going to make the All-Star Game every year, so anytime you get an opportunity to go, you go. It's an honor and a humbling experience. As busy as it is, I try to soak everything in and enjoy the total experience.

My favorite part is just being in the clubhouse with the guys, sitting around and talking about baseball. The other part I really loved about last time was being announced in the starting lineup, running out on the field and lining up on the field with those other eight starters. That was a great feeling. In the game itself, I was 1-for-3 with a double.

Something that makes it particularly special for me this year is that I've been able to bounce back from injury. I missed more than 100 games last year. That's a lot of baseball to miss, and you don't know exactly how you're going to respond.

Your hands or wrists are such an important part of hitting that it takes a lot of rehab to get your strength back to where it needs to be to perform on a daily basis. It was a long process that required a lot of hours in the training room and in the offseason doing a lot of strengthening, so it was gratifying to be selected after all of that hard work to get back.

This year's been a good year. We're playing good baseball now and I've been pretty consistent, so I'm pretty happy about the way this season has turned out so far.

Returning this season from a broken wrist, Derrek Lee is batting .330 with six homers, 42 RBIs and a .410 on-base percentage for the second-place Cubs. Lee's daughter Jada will be among the 25 friends and family members at AT&T Park in San Francisco watching the All-Star Game. Jada has been diagnosed with Lebers Congenital Amaurosis (LCA), an extremely rare disease which causes severe vision loss and blindness. To find out more about LCA and how you can help, please visit