Giancarlo Stanton comes full circle with homer to take home All-Star Game MVP
Giancarlo Stanton’s two-run homer in the fourth inning of Tuesday night’s All-Star Game traveled 457 feet and landed toward the back of the left-field pavilion in Dodger Stadium, not far from where the former Sherman Oaks Notre Dame High star usually sat when he attended Dodgers games as a kid.
The tape-measure blast was the first All-Star Game hit of the New York Yankees slugger’s career — he had been 0 for 7 with four strikeouts in six appearances — and keyed a decisive three-run inning in the American League’s 3-2 victory over the National League.
It also earned Stanton the most-valuable-player award, joining Hall-of-Fame closer Mariano Rivera (2013) and shortstop Derek Jeter (2000) as the only Yankees to win All-Star Game MVP honors.
“Growing up, I’d always sit in left field and try to get players to throw me a ball,” Stanton said. “To be playing left field tonight and hitting one out there means everything to me. It’s a full-circle moment. It’s gonna be an amazing memory for all of my life.”
Before Tuesday’s All-Star Game at Dodger Stadium, Dodgers’ Mookie Betts promoted the need for more Black fans and led the 100th birthday cheer for Rachel Robinson.
Stanton, who earned All-Southern Section honors in football, basketball and baseball in high school, said he procured 50 tickets to the game for family members and friends, including his father, Mike.
“He took me to my first Dodgers game and showed me how to have love for this game,” Stanton said. “I can’t really explain how special this is. It’s hard to put into words that this is reality right now. It’s really cool. I’m soaking it all in.”
Stanton’s blast wasn’t his longest homer in Chavez Ravine. On May 12, 2015, while playing for the Miami Marlins, Stanton hit a 475-foot homer off the roof and over the left-field pavilion.
Only four other players have hit a home run clear out of the stadium — Willie Stargell (twice), Mike Piazza, Mark McGwire and Fernando Tatis Jr. Byron Buxton followed with a 425-foot homer to left, the seventh back-to-back homers in All-Star Game history and first since Alex Bregman and George Springer in 2018.
Stanton hit .237 with an .835 on-base-plus-slugging percentage, 24 homers and 61 RBIs in the first half and teamed with slugger Aaron Judge (33 homers, 70 RBIs) to lead the Yankees to a major league-best 64-28 record. The Dodgers, Stanton’s favorite team as a kid, lead the NL with a 60-30 record.
This wouldn’t be a bad year for the first Dodgers-Yankees World Series since 1981, would it?
“Do I ever think about it? Absolutely,” Stanton said. “On paper, it’s lined up that way for a few years, so now both sides need to take care of business and get it done. If that’s how it ends up, cool.”
They were brothers in arms growing up together in Puerto Cabello, a bustling port city on the north coast of Venezuela, and brothers with arms, hard-throwing catchers who were good enough to reach the big leagues.
For two days in Los Angeles this week the brothers were arm in arm, Willson Contreras of the Chicago Cubs and William Contreras of the Atlanta Braves achieving a childhood dream by starting together for the NL team Tuesday night.
“This is special, something we’ve worked for since we were kids,” said Willson Contreras, 30, who is six years older than William. “When you’re kids, your dream is to get to the big leagues, and once you’re in the big leagues, you want to be in the All-Star Game.”
They were the first brothers to play in the same All-Star Game since Aaron and Bret Boone in 2003 and the first to appear in the starting lineup together since Roberto and Sandy Alomar in 1992.
Willson Contreras struck out and reached on an error in five innings, and William struck out looking in his only at-bat, but that hardly detracted from their evening.
“This is one experience where we can die and we will never forget,” Willson said. “It’s amazing for me, my family, and I’m proud of everything we’ve done.”
The All-Star Game offers a nice distraction, but the Dodgers have set the standard of the World Series being the ultimate prize every season.
The Kid II
Julio Rodríguez was still basking in the afterglow of his dazzling performance in Monday night’s home run derby, when the 21-year-old Seattle phenom burst onto the national scene by crushing 32 homers in the first round and 31 in the semifinals before losing to Washington’s Juan Soto in the finals.
“Yeah, there were a lot of people [I heard from],” said Rodríguez, who is hitting .275 with 16 homers, 52 RBIs and 21 stolen bases and helped the Mariners close the first half with 14 wins in a row. “But it’s the same as when I first signed and first got called up. The bigger the stage, the more people you’re gonna reach.”
The MLB All-Star Game returned to Dodger Stadium for the first time since 1980 on Tuesday. Here’s our coverage:
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