MIAMI -- Jose Ramirez introduced himself to the world in style. When the Indians' third baseman slid into second base in the third inning of Tuesday's All-Star Game presented by Mastercard, his helmet shot away from his head, tumbling to the infield dirt and revealing his choppy blond locks.That is
MIAMI -- Jose Ramirez introduced himself to the world in style. When the Indians' third baseman slid into second base in the third inning of Tuesday's All-Star Game presented by Mastercard, his helmet shot away from his head, tumbling to the infield dirt and revealing his choppy blond locks.
That is an image that Tribe fans have grown accustomed to witnessing, and now the rest of baseball got to enjoy what Ramirez looks like with the spotlight on him. In the American League's 2-1, 10-inning win over the National League, Cleveland's third baseman collected a pair of hits and stole a base, flashing the aggressiveness that defines his play.
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"It was awesome," Indians All-Star outfielder Michael Brantley said. "On the biggest stage, he's still doing what he's been doing for us day in and day out."
Besides Ramirez and Brantley (1-for-2), the Indians also had Andrew Miller (who picked up the save with a scoreless 10th), Francisco Lindor (0-for-2) and Corey Kluber on the AL roster, marking the team's most All-Stars since 2004. Cleveland's entire coaching staff was also on hand, with bench coach Brad Mills handling the managerial duties while manager Terry Francona rests and recovers from a heart procedure back home.
All-Star Week was a great moment for the Indians' organization as a whole, but it was Ramirez who put on the show when the big lights came on at Marlins Park.
"I feel so happy," said Ramirez, who had his parents, brother and two close friends in attendance. "It was something that was really special and really beautiful for me. And I'm going to remember it forever."
Ramirez, who was the first Indians player to be named an All-Star via fan voting since 2001, pulled the first pitch he saw from NL starter Max Scherzer into right field for a single in the first inning.
"As soon as he got the base hit," Lindor said, "I was like, 'Ah, that's one.' Josey, doing what he does."
Facing Cardinals starter Carlos Martinez in the third inning, Ramirez again shot a pitch into right for another single. Ramirez then stole second, putting himself on an exclusive list.
This marked the 30th time in All-Star history that a player finished with at least two hits and a stolen base (Yonder Alonso did the same on Tuesday). Before Ramirez, that had not been accomplished since 2010 (David Wright) and not by an AL player since 2008 (J.D. Drew). Ramirez and Kenny Lofton (1996) are the only Indians players to achieve the feat.
"Those of us in Cleveland are the least shocked of anybody," Miller said. "His swagger and his excitement for this game, I think when we saw those hits, we all just kind of rolled our eyes and said, 'Of course.' If there's anybody that's going to go out there and back it up, it's him."
Ramirez's teammates also have to stay on their toes when he is around them.
Consider what happened at the end of the T-Mobile Home Run Derby on Monday night. While the AL players swarmed Yankees slugger Aaron Judge in celebration, Lindor began to feel water being dumped on him. The Indians' shortstop turned and saw a grinning Ramirez, who then took off running.
"When we celebrate, we're supposed to throw it on the person that did well," Lindor said with a laugh. "He always throws the water on me. I'm throwing water at Judge, and all of a sudden I'm getting wet. I was like, 'What's going on?' I look and Ramirez is running. I'm like, 'Really?' He does that every time. It's the same person every time. Unreal."
Unreal is a fitting summation of Ramirez's play in the first half, too.
"He's turned himself into quite a player," Kluber said. "It seems like each year, and even kind of within each year, he continues to improve. He keeps adding another dimension to his game."
Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and Facebook.