Photo Credits: Ron Schwane – The Associated Press
The 2019 All-Star Week in Cleveland was one of the best the game has ever seen. The American League won their seventh straight mid-summer classic by a final score of 4-3. The week was nearly perfect in every sense. First things first, It was a successful event for both Major League Baseball, and for the city of Cleveland. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said “Cleveland has been an absolutely phenomenal host, Everybody can get to all the events on foot, which is a really nice thing. It’s very convenient for the fans.” Manfred also said that most importantly the Cleveland market has real fans. Here’s a recap of all of the best moments from the All-Star showcase in Cleveland.
The Home Run Derby was an instant classic, and probably the best Derby ever. Vlad Guerreroo Jr. battled with Joc Pederson in the second round all the way to a 3rd swing-off. Guerrero beat Pederson 40-39 in the greatest round the Home Run Derby has ever seen. Guerrero ended the night with 91 Home Runs, an all time record; but did not even win the Derby as fellow rookie sensation Pete “The Polar Bear” Alonso edged him out with 23 dingers in the final round. Alonso clearly benefited from the 30 or so more swings Guerrero took on the night. However, the MLB achieved something rare: a skills challenge becoming an instant classic. All the changes the MLB has made to the event over the years has obviously worked. Despite still lagging behind the NBA in popularity, the 2019 Home Run Derby generated more buzz and engagement on Twitter than the last four NBA dunk contests. It was the coming out party for two of the games brightest young stars. The event was entertaining, nail-biting, and most importantly showcased the talent and the bright future of the league.
Photo Credits: KEN BLAZE, USA TODAY SPORTS
The All-Star Game itself was a great moment as well! The AL outlasted the NL 4-3 to win their seventh straight All-Star Game. Former Cleveland Indians star outfielder Michael Brantley got the scoring started early when he doubled in his Astros teammate Alex Bregman to give the AL a 1-0 lead. Brantley might have received the loudest ovation of any starter on either team when they announced the lineup from the Cleveland faithful. The AL added onto their lead in the 5th inning when the Yankees’ Gary Sanchez doubled to start off the inning. Minnesota’s Jorge Polanco drove him in with an RBI single to make it 2-0. Charlie Blackmon of the Rockies homered off of A’s Liam Hendriks to put the NL back into the game and make it 2-1. The AL added two insurance runs in the seventh when Matt Chapman of the A’s was driven in on a ground ball double play by Boston’s Xander Boegarts. Rangers MVP candidate Joey Gallo made the AL lead 4-1 when he crushed the first pitch he saw from Milwaukee’s Brandon Woodruff into the right field seats. The NL made it a game again in the 8th when Derby Winner Pete Alonso of the Mets lined a 2 RBI single off the glove of the Yankees’ Gleyber Torres into center field. Aroldis Chapman struck out the side in the ninth to preserve the AL’s 14th win in the last 17 All-Star Games. However, two All-Star moments by the hometown team made All-Star week, and the game picture perfect.
Photo Credits: AP Photo/Tony Dejak
The First All-Star moment the city of Cleveland, and the Indians experienced was their hometown MVP Shane Bieber. The 24 year old who walked on at the University of California, and was not even apart of the original All-Star roster defied the odds and won MVP. Bieber showed a veteran’s presence when he came onto the mound in the 5th. He struck out the side, retiring Chicago’s Wilson Contreras, Arizona’s Ketel Marte, and Atlanta’s Ronald Acun͠a Jr. on 19 pitches while protecting a 1-0 lead. Indians fans chanted “Let’s Go Bieber!” throughout the duration of his performance. Bieber got the crowd so fired up that even non-Cleveland fans were chanting for the 24 year old right hander. Bieber said in his postgame interview after the game “I can’t really thank the fans enough for creating that moment for me and making it really special.” Bieber’s improbable MVP capped a magical night off for Cleveland, but the moment of the whole All-Star week in Cleveland belonged to Carlos Carrasco.
Photo Credits: CBS Sports
After the conclusion of the fifth inning MLB and Mastercard’s Stand Up to Cancer campaign was carried out with everybody on the stadium writing who they stand for. Indians Pitcher Carlos “Cookie” Carrasco was recently diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia. Carrasco joined Terry Francona, Brad Hand, Fransisco Lindor, Carlos Santana, and Shane Bieber in standing in front of the AL dugout while holding their signs up. Carrasco’s sign read “I Stand.” His Teammates signs around him read the pitcher’s nickname “Cookie”. The crowd responded by chanting “COOKIE, COOKIE, COOKIE!” It was a very powerful and inspirational moment seeing all of Major League Baseball and the city of Cleveland behind Carrasco. The Cleveland crowd responded with emotion as their team stood united on the field. AL and Red Sox Manager Alex Cora summed it up perfectly saying “When I saw [Carrasco], it puts everything in perspective. We get caught up in wins and losses and pennant races and all that stuff and rivalries, and then that happens. And there’s more than baseball in life. And we’re thinking and praying for him, his family and hopefully he can be back on the field sooner rather than later.” The moment is what life and sports is all about, there is always people who are behind you and who believe in you; and you can overcome anything with a powerful mindset and with the help of others.