Marlins second baseman Jazz Chisholm Jr. hasn’t been shy about his desire to make the All-Star team. He has been dreaming of playing in the Midsummer Classic since he was 5 years old, hitting rocks with a flat stick near his home in the Bahamas. He was always hitting home runs back then, too.
Baseball fans made his dream come true on July 8, when Chisholm was named the National League’s starting second baseman. Unfortunately, the right lower back strain he sustained on June 28 has taken longer than expected to heal, so Chisholm will not be active for Tuesday's Midsummer Classic at Dodger Stadium. San Diego's Jake Cronenworth took his place on the roster, and Jeff McNeil of the Mets replaced Chisholm as the starting second baseman. Chisholm is still expected to partake in the festivities and rehab while in Los Angeles.
"I'm sure Jazz is disappointed," manager Don Mattingly said. "As I spoke before, anybody that's on the IL is in medical's hands until they're not. We know he's still having some issues with different things. I'm sure he's disappointed he can't play. He's earned that right to play. He's a young kid that's going to keep getting better. He's going to have hopefully many more of these."
When Chisholm was elected to the All-Star game, he had a message for the fans who voted for him.
“My message to the fans is, 'I love you guys.' They are always behind me -- no matter how down [I am] or how up I am,” he said. “I love you guys and I thank you for all the support that you always gave me.”
Chisholm became the sixth Marlin to be voted in by the fans as an All-Star Game starter (joining Hanley Ramírez, Giancarlo Stanton, Dee Strange-Gordon, Marcell Ozuna and Gary Sheffield) and the first Bahamian-born player.
“I’m just excited because I know how hard I worked to get where I’m at right now,” Chisholm said. “It’s just exciting to make history and be a part of it. … I’m beyond excited. Just thankful for the opportunity to be an All-Star.”
At the time of Chisholm's selection, Marlins general manager Kim Ng said she wasn't sure if Chisholm would be ready to play in Los Angeles.
“The most important thing is for him to get healthy,” Ng said. “We still have a lot of games left in the season. I think that is the most important thing to Jazz as well. He is making sure that he can get back quickly without suffering any relapses.”
Mattingly was not surprised to see his second baseman named to the All-Star starting lineup. Chisholm led NL second basemen in homers (14), RBIs (45) and stolen bases (12) entering Friday. He is also known for playing with confidence and swagger. In Mattingly’s opinion, Chisholm hasn’t come close to reaching his potential.
“It’s a ways away, honestly,” Mattingly said. “I think there is a lot in there. … It’s going to be up to him, honestly, how far he takes that talent. He has a world of talent. How much he is willing to work, how much time he is willing to put in on all aspects of his game. There is really a high ceiling.”
Chisholm believes he can be a 40-40 guy without any distractions.
“I just want to go out there and play baseball,” he said. “That’s always my goal. I’m going to keep that as my goal and my ceiling.”