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Baseball world stands up for Carrasco

Indians pitcher recently diagnosed with treatable form of leukemia
@MandyBell02
July 10, 2019

CLEVELAND -- Sometimes, there is crying in baseball. It was a moment that the Indians and baseball community will not forget. At the conclusion of the fifth inning in Tuesday’s All-Star Game presented by Mastercard, Major League Baseball took a stand for Indians pitcher Carlos Carrasco, who is in a

CLEVELAND -- Sometimes, there is crying in baseball.

It was a moment that the Indians and baseball community will not forget. At the conclusion of the fifth inning in Tuesday’s All-Star Game presented by Mastercard, Major League Baseball took a stand for Indians pitcher Carlos Carrasco, who is in a fight against chronic myeloid leukemia.

Since 2011, the Midsummer Classic has featured a special in-game placard moment during which all play is stopped to allow every person in the building to honor a person who has been affected by the disease. But this year, six players stood alone down the third-base line.

Indians manager Terry Francona, Francisco Lindor, Brad Hand, Carlos Santana and Shane Bieber surrounded teammate Carrasco, holding placards that read, "I stand up for Cookie." In the middle, Carrasco’s read, "I STAND."

"It's a message to let him know we stand up for you, we're all next to you," Lindor said. "As a team, as a family, we're all next to you and we're right there for you. It doesn't matter. We all believe in him. We all believe he's going to kick cancer's butt and he'll be fine. At the end of the day, let him know, 'We're here for you, bro.'"

Countless players wrote “Carlos Carrasco” on their respective signs, as did Commissioner Rob Manfred.

“Yeah, it's tough. He's one of our teammates and one of the big guys in the clubhouse,” Hand said. “You don't wish that upon anybody. We just got to support him any way we can.”

While Michael Brantley, Santana, Bieber, Lindor and Hand all received overwhelming ovations during Tuesday’s game, none created goosebumps the way the crowd roared when Carrasco was shown on the big screen. Listening to the support, the 32-year-old struggled to fight back tears.

“It’s a great memory,” Santana said. “I’m going to cry thinking about. I know he’s sad. For him, for the teammates, for the fans. I mean, he’s strong. He’s strong. And I hope he’ll be fine.”

"When I saw him, it puts everything in perspective," AL manager Alex Cora said. "We get caught up in wins and losses and pennant races and all that stuff ... 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."

Carrasco then went down the line of AL players, beginning with his Indians teammates, hugging each one on his way back to the clubhouse.

"He said, 'Thank you, guys. I love you,'" Lindor said. "We told him, 'We love you brother. We're here for you. No matter what happens, we're here for you because you've been there for us in the past.'"

The man nicknamed “Cookie” has been sidelined from baseball activities since June 5, when he was placed on the injured list with a blood condition. But on Friday, it was announced that the illness he’s battling is CML, a treatable form of leukemia. He made his first appearance with his team since the news broke on Monday, supporting Santana in the T-Mobile Home Run Derby before the Indians made the plan to honor him with Tuesday's tribute.

“I think it was extremely special for me, for him, for our teammates, for Terry, and the city of Cleveland as a whole,” Bieber said. “I think that was a really special moment. And for him to be doing what he's doing and kind of turning it over on its head into a positive light and spending more time at the Children's Hospital and spending time with kids, it's something only he would do.

“And he's a really special person. I've only known him for a year, year-plus … but he's one of the best people I've ever met in my life. Nothing but respect for him and we're standing with him and love him.”

When Francona addressed the media on Monday, he made sure everyone understood one thing when it came to the battle his pitcher is facing against cancer: “He knows that he’s got a lot of extended family that’ll be with him. ... It’s not just talk. He knows he’s got a lot of people that care about him.”

That extended family certainly proved it’s not just talk.

Mandy Bell covers the Indians for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter at @MandyBell02.