Juyl 7, 2018; Anaheim, CA, USA; Los Angeles Angels center fielder Mike Trout (27) hits a solo home run in the sixth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
“It’s fun. You’re playing but you’re looking around because you’re playing with all those big boys out there,” said Altuve, who made the AL team for the sixth time.
Torres is on the disabled list with a hip injury and unlikely to participate. But while he and Albies are just 21 years old, the list of 25 first-time All-Stars also includes thirty-something surprises like Boston first baseman Mitch Moreland, Texas Rangers slugger Shin-Soo Choo and Atlanta outfielder Nick Markakis.
“It’s something that I didn’t know it would ever be quite possible,” Moreland said. “I’m definitely excited about the opportunity and appreciative of having that opportunity.”
Trout is working on perhaps the best season of his stellar career with the Los Angeles Angels. Judge has 25 homers and 58 RBIs for the Yankees, and Betts is batting .342 with 22 homers for the major league-leading Red Sox.
But that’s just the beginning for the AL. Altuve led the fan balloting with 4.8 million votes. Baltimore Orioles shortstop Manny Machado will make the short trip down to D.C. for the July 17 game with speculation increasing about his future ahead of the trade deadline.
“The best part is being with all the guys. You’re on the biggest stage with the best,” said Trout, who was selected for the seventh straight year — tying Boston ace Chris Sale for longest active streak.
Harper was voted a starter for the fourth consecutive year. The slugger, who is eligible for free agency after this season, is batting just .218 for disappointing Washington but has 21 homers and 50 RBIs.
He was joined by ace right-hander Max Scherzer and reliever Sean Doolittle from the Nationals. Scherzer, a three-time Cy Young Award winner, could get the start in his home ballpark.
“That’d be an unbelievable experience,” he said in an interview on ESPN.
“It’s something I’ve watched for a long time. To be a part of it would be pretty cool,” Benintendi said.
Markakis and Matt Kemp will join Harper in the NL outfield. Markakis has been a key performer for the Braves and made an All-Star team for the first time in his 13 major league seasons. Kemp’s return to the Los Angeles Dodgers has been a smashing success.
“My first reaction was like, `I have no words to say,'” Contreras said, “but I started crying when I went down to the cage because I hoped for it and I’ve been working hard every single game that I’ve played and played it like it was my last one.”
As usual, there were some notable snubs — with several changes surely coming due to injuries and withdrawals.