MINNEAPOLIS -- Brandon Kintzler was getting breakfast at The Lowry with his wife, Melissa, trying to get their 18-month old son, Knox, to stop crying when the phone rang Friday morning.Kintzler saw it was Twins manager Paul Molitor and knew he had to take the call, but was expecting the
MINNEAPOLIS -- Brandon Kintzler was getting breakfast at The Lowry with his wife, Melissa, trying to get their 18-month old son, Knox, to stop crying when the phone rang Friday morning.
Kintzler saw it was Twins manager Paul Molitor and knew he had to take the call, but was expecting the worst instead of the good news he received: He was named an All-Star for the first time in his career as a replacement and is in Miami for the 2017 MLB All-Star Game presented by Mastercard tonight at Marlins Park, at 6:30 p.m. CT on FOX.
"When the manager's calling, it's usually not a good thing," Kintzler said with a laugh. "I thought I was getting traded or something. He asked me what I was doing and I said, 'Trying to keep my kid from crying.' So, he just told me and it was really cool."
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Molitor, who has maintained for weeks that Kintzler is a deserving All-Star along with Ervin Santana and Miguel Sano, said he was honored to be the one who broke the news to Kintzler, who is among the most unlikely All-Stars, considering he played three seasons in independent ball from 2007-09 and joined the club as a Minor League free agent before last season.
"It makes for a really good day," Molitor said. "You could feel the emotion on the other end of the phone, and it was almost like he couldn't believe he was getting the call after everything he's endured."
The last time Kintzler was an All-Star at any level was in 2009, when he was pitching for the St. Paul Saints and started in the American Association All-Star Game. He nearly missed that game after getting an offer to play a bit part as former A's pitcher Tim Hudson in the movie "Moneyball," but wanted to pitch in front of scouts. It paid off; he joined the Brewers' organization the next year.
Kintzler posted a 3.38 ERA in parts of six years with the Brewers, but was coming off knee surgery when he joined the Twins on a Minor League deal last year. He responded by posting a 3.15 ERA, and recorded 17 saves as the closer when Glen Perkins was out due to shoulder surgery. He has been even better this year, posting a 2.35 ERA, and is tied for the American League lead with 23 saves.
"To be standing on that line and tipping your cap just means that hard work pays off," Kintzler said. "Hard work pays off, and a lot of people that had to be around you for that hard work, it pays off for them, too. So there's a lot of people that will be going with me that I really appreciate. That's the main part."
Kintzler, 32, will be joined by his family in Miami for the game, changing his previous plans to relax at a cabin in Gull Lake, Minn. He'll also be joined by Sano and Santana, giving the Twins three All-Stars for the first time since 2009.
"I think being able to hang out on the field with my kid during the Home Run Derby will be the coolest part," Kintzler said. "He'll never remember, but it's what we all dream of. But I think my dad [Rick] and my agent [Kevin Kohler], who have been there from the start are most excited about it."
Tonight at 6:30 CT, tune in to the 2017 All-Star Game presented by Mastercard live on FOX, and during the game visit MLB.com to submit your choice for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet via the 2017 MLB All-Star Game MVP Vote. The 88th All-Star Game, in Miami, will be televised nationally by FOX, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 160 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB.com, MLB Network and SiriusXM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.
Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter **@RhettBollinger** and listen to his podcast.