Getting ASG start 'meant a lot' to Muncy

Taylor shows off defense, while Turner singles after taking over at DH

July 14th, 2021

DENVER -- Once Max Muncy was officially named an All-Star, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts walked up to the first baseman and asked him a very simple question: “Would you like to start in the All-Star Game?”

Roberts, who was the manager for the National League, said it was a “no-brainer” to start Muncy as the designated hitter once he lost the fan vote to start at first base. Muncy couldn’t find the words for Roberts, instead responding with a big smile and hug.

“It meant a lot,” Muncy said. “It was a really cool moment for me and it meant a lot and I’ll cherish it forever. To be able to do that is a dream that you have as a kid, for sure.”

Starting an All-Star Game is a dream that once seemed impossible for Muncy. His career didn’t get off to a smooth start in Oakland and he was an unheralded pickup when the Dodgers acquired him from the A’s.

Four years later, Muncy is a two-time All-Star and a World Series champion who batted second for the National League on Tuesday in the 5-2 loss to the American League at Coors Field. Muncy went 0-for-2, against Angels superstar Shohei Ohtani and Rangers right-hander Kyle Gibson.

“It was awesome,” Muncy said. “We kept talking, especially these last few days, how we kind of took for granted the fans being in the stadium and the atmosphere they created. Last year was a real kick in the gut when it came to everything we’re so used to when it comes to baseball. It’s definitely been a time that I won’t forget.”

While Muncy was the only starter, the Dodgers were well represented throughout the game. Chris Taylor, a first time All-Star, came in to play center field in the sixth inning. He was put to work almost immediately, making a couple of defensive plays in the outfield. Taylor has played six different positions this season, but it was fitting that he got in as a center fielder given the fact that he replaced Cody Bellinger for two months as the slugger dealt with various injuries.

“It was cool,” Taylor said. “I was just trying to soak it all in. It wasn’t really my forte on the purple carpet, but the game was really fun. I just tried to enjoy myself and not take it too seriously.”

Taylor also got a chance to get two at-bats on Tuesday, grounding out to third base on a hard-hit ball against Rays right-hander Andrew Kittredge in his first plate appearance. As he stepped up to the plate, Muncy pulled out his phone and started videotaping Taylor’s first All-Star at-bat.

“He did that on his own,” Taylor said, with a smile. “It would’ve been better if I got a hit.”

In his second at-bat, Taylor struck out against Liam Hendriks in the ninth. The White Sox right-hander was mic’d up on the game broadcast during the at-bat, creating a funny moment between the two.

“He actually told me,’ Taylor laughed. “I saw him walking from the dugout to the bullpen and he actually told me he was going to be mic’d up.”

Though Taylor and Muncy went hitless in their two at-bats, Justin Turner was able to record a hit for the Dodgers. Turner shot a single into center field that just went over Whit Merrifield’s head. Turner, who went 1-for-2, became the first Dodgers player to record a hit in a Midsummer Classic since Matt Kemp in ‘18.

“It was just exciting,” Turner said. “I’ve said it a bunch, it’s awesome and an honor to represent the National League, represent the Dodgers and go out and get a couple at-bats tonight and actually get my first hit, so that was pretty cool.”

Right-handed pitcher Walker Buehler, who started Saturday's game, did not play in the Midsummer Classic.

All four Dodgers players and the coaching staff enjoyed their time in Denver, even when they were getting booed during pregame introductions. The Coors Field crowd took turns booing Buehler, Taylor and Turner and then it got even louder for Muncy and manager Dave Roberts.

“I think we kind of anticipated it, but it’s all in good fun,” Turner said. “After that I said, ‘Well, boys, I guess we’re doing something right here because they don’t like us.’”

The reception will certainly be more welcoming in 2022 as the All-Star Game is scheduled to be at Dodger Stadium for the first time since 1980.