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The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

Emerald City Shines as host of MLB All-Star Game

NL wins for first time since 2012, 3-2, Seattle chants “Come to Seattle” during Ohtani’s at-bats 
Sam Taylor
Seattle hosted the MLB All-Star Game for the first time since 2001, July 11, 2023 at T-Mobile Park. The event attracted 47,159 devoted baseball fans.

SEATTLE — A sports town known for its seismic enthusiasm and deafening pride did not disappoint Tuesday night at T-Mobile Park where the baseball world watched the brightest stars stand side by side.

The 93rd All-Star Game and third All-Star Game in Seattle featured two thrilling warning track catches in the first inning alone, triumphant welcomes of the hometown Seattle Mariners and an unlikely hero in 32-year-old first-time All-Star and 2023 All-Star MVP Elías Díaz of the Colorado Rockies, who slugged a go-ahead two-run home run in the top of the eighth inning to secure the National Leagues’ 3-2 win over the American League. 

It was the NL’s first All-Star win since 2012, breaking a streak of nine straight AL wins.

Rob Thompson, NL and Philadelphia Phillies manager said Rockies manager Bud Black had given Díaz high praise. Black told Thompson that Díaz was a complete team player who was happy to be an All-Star whether he played or not.

“’This is one of the finest people you’ll ever meet. A complete team player who’ll do anything you want. If he doesn’t play, that’s fine. If he does play, that’d be great,’” Thompson said Black told him.

Emerald City shines

After Julio Rodriguez raised the roof of his retractable roof home in a Home Run Derby dubbed by the Seattle Mariners marketing team as “Julio’s Block Party” Seattle proved that the fun had just begun.

Seattle fans booed Houston Astros and greeted Julio Rodríguez, their reigning American League Rookie of the Year with deafening chants of “JU-LI-O.”

George Kirby took the ball for the AL in the fourth inning in his home ballpark. He was the first Mariner to appear in the 2023 All-Star Game and received a lively welcome.

The third Mariner, starting pitcher Luis Castillo did not appear in the game. Baker said Castillo’s absence from the game was a decision made for the good of the player who had just pitched Saturday.

“I had his manager sitting next to me,” Baker said with a grin referring to Mariners manager Scott Servais, who Baker managed when Servais was a catcher on the San Francisco Giants.

Most chilling of all, the Seattle fans chanted “Come to Seattle” during both of Shohei Ohtani’s at-bats.

Ohtani is the Japanese two-way superstar who has set the game on fire with elite pitching and hitting. He signed with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in 2018 and is due to be a free agent when his contract expires at the end of the season. Despite all of his accomplishments, Ohtani has not sniffed the postseason, making Seattle, home to Japanese and Mariners legend Ichiro Suzuki, a prime destination for baseball’s best player.

“That was cool. I mean, that was pretty interesting thing to see how the whole city can, whenever they combine themselves, they can do something pretty amazing. I thought that was pretty cool,” Rodríguez said when asked about Seattle’s “Come to Seattle” chants directed at Ohtani.

Ohtani, who on Monday mentioned how he had spent each of the last two offseasons training at Kent’s Driveline Baseball Facility, said he had never heard anything like T-Mobile Park’s “Come to Seattle” chant.

“I’ve never experienced anything like that, but I definitely heard it. I was just trying to focus on my at-bat and the game,” Ohtani said.

Lingering over the All-Star festivities was the pending relocation of the Oakland Athletics to Las Vegas. During Oakland All-Star Brent Rooker’s at-bat, the Seattle crowd, in solidarity with A’s nation, broke out into a “Sell the Team” chant, before Rooker hit a ground rule double.

In the bottom of the ninth, the moment Seattle was waiting for seemed to arrive. With the AL trailing 3-2 and with two outs and a runner on first, Julio Rodríguez stepped to the plate.

With the town once again chanting his name, Julio worked into a 3-2 count and drew a walk to extend the inning. It was not the heroic at-bat the stadium was surely waiting for, but it was a mature at-bat for the 22-year-old in just his second year in the show.

Despite booing Astros all game, the Seattle crowd seemed to settle down for Kyle Tucker who stepped to the plate before Julio in the ninth. Perhaps it was an understanding that to see Julio, Tucker needed to reach base, but nonetheless, Seattle cheered for Tucker and the Astro All-Star delivered with a two-out walk to set up the hometown hero.

“I was really more impressed that they were rooting for us to win the game. Because they didn’t boo Tucker in the ninth inning and I heard some people saying ‘come on Tucker’ and I was like, ‘that’s news to my ears,’” Baker said.

The NL prevailed with one final strikeout as Thompson left his Phillies closer Craig Kimbrel in the game to strike out José Ramírez.

“It was a great crowd. It really was. It was really exciting when Rodriguez got into the game. Came to the plate, you know the drama in the ninth inning with a walk,” Thompson said. “I thought they were great. I really did. Seattle is a beautiful city and MLB and the city of Seattle just did a fantastic job.”

The MLB regular season resumes Friday, but the third Seattle All-Star Game will be remembered for quite a while.

Editor’s note: Reporting on All-Star Week was a collaboration with KUGR (Cougar) College Radio.

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About the Contributor
Sam Taylor
Sam Taylor, Evergreen sports co-editor
Sam is a senior multimedia journalism major from Lacey, Washington and the sports editor for spring 2024. He was the sports editor for the 2022-23 school year and managing editor for the summer and fall 2023. He plays the trumpet in the Cougar Marching Band, loves sports and has worked at the Evergreen since fall 2021.