This was the seventh straight year Max Scherzer had been invited to the All-Star Game presented by Mastercard, but this experience was different from the rest. His daughter Brooklyn, who was born in Nov. 2017, came along for the ride for her first All-Star Game, waving to fans during the All-Star parade before making an appearance on the red carpet.
“This one was really special because I got to have my daughter,” Scherzer said prior to the game, which the American League won, 4-3, Tuesday night. “I never thought of that when I had my first All-Star Game, but here I am in my seventh and yet I get to have a whole new experience. That was absolutely amazing. That’s why I love coming here.”
Scherzer attended the festivities in Cleveland, but he did not pitch due to a stiff back that has bothered him his past two starts. He still only gave up one run in 15 innings, with 25 strikeouts and one walk in those appearances. Scherzer was disappointed he couldn’t pitch in the game, as loves competing against the best and trying to strike out the game's strongest hitters. However, he and the Nationals huddled after his back remained tight after his last start and decided it wouldn’t be smart to push it.
Still, Scherzer came to Cleveland to represent the Nationals. The Nats’ other All-Star, Anthony Rendon, remained in D.C. to nurse a nagging left hamstring and quad injuries. But Scherzer is happy to carry the mantle, even if he is reduced to cheering from the dugout.
“This is awesome, I mean you’re seeing a real baseball game played,” Scherzer said. “Yeah, you might not have everybody in sync, but the pitchers throw as hard as they can with the best stuff they can, they’re trying to strike everybody out. You see the hitters trying to get hits and hit home runs. This is the best version of baseball you can possibly play. So from the fan perspective, competitiveness rules the game, rules the day. Baseball has the best All-Star format.”
Scherzer remembered his first All-Star Game, on the way to winning his first Cy Young award in 2013. He started for the American League that year and remembers sharing a clubhouse with the likes of Torii Hunter, David Ortiz and Mariano Rivera.
When he glanced around the National League clubhouse this year, however, he noticed something. Scherzer, who turns 35 this month, was the old guy in the room now. The average age in the National League’s starting lineup is 25.8 years old. Scherzer even joked that he looked around for D-backs starter Zack Greinke to see if there was anyone as old as him in the room.
“It’s just funny how it’s changed,” Scherzer said. “And how I’m kind of it in that position.”
Indeed, Scherzer is now a pitcher with three Cy Young awards under his belt, making a strong case for a fourth with his excellent first half, with seven straight All-Star appearances, being named the starting pitcher in three different years and carrying the unofficial title as the best pitcher in baseball. But this all never gets old for Scherzer, who soaked up the 2019 All-Star Game like it was his first.
“Every year I come to this it’s such an amazing event,” he said. “The seventh one is just as special as the first one.”