BALTIMORE -- Orioles infielder Manny Machado watched last year's All-Star Game as a fan, a fact that stung the superstar -- who was front row for the festivities in his native Miami -- and helped propel him to an impressive second half.This year, Machado's inclusion was never in doubt as
BALTIMORE -- Orioles infielder Manny Machado watched last year's All-Star Game as a fan, a fact that stung the superstar -- who was front row for the festivities in his native Miami -- and helped propel him to an impressive second half.
This year, Machado's inclusion was never in doubt as he was unveiled Sunday night on ESPN as the starting shortstop for the American League. Machado led voting for the 2018 All-Star Game presented by Mastercard the whole way through and he will play in front of a home crowd, of sorts, down the road at Nationals Park.
"A lot of people forget how far away [his numbers were] from what we knew he was capable of the first half of the season last year," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said of Machado. "Manny, you can tell I think playing shortstop really, I wouldn't say energized, but really was something that I think was something he really wanted to be good at. It's obvious that a lot of people feel that way. Proud of him. He's been consistent. He was engaged the first day of Spring Training -- not that he hasn't been before -- you could tell that he was on a mission to be consistent all year this year. I think it's very reflective of that."
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In his final season under club control, Machado -- who turned 26 over the weekend -- has solidified his position as one of the game's most exciting young stars. He's batting .313 with 21 homers and 60 RBIs, leading the O's in numerous offensive categories, despite the collective struggles of last-place Baltimore to score runs.
"Obviously I wanted to be an All-Star, but to get the privilege to start the game and get voted by the fans, obviously takes it above and beyond," Machado said. "At the end of the day, the other guys that were in this as well could have been easily another starter; [Francisco] Lindor, [Carlos] Correa, Didi [Gregorius], [Jean] Segura, we're all doing big things this year, overall. To be starting, truly humbled and, again, I just want to thank the fans for voting and for making this all come true."
This will be Machado's second All-Star Game start, his first at shortstop, the position he was initially drafted at and moved to full-time this spring. The subject of trade rumors since this winter, Machado is hoping he will still get to represent the Orioles when the game takes pace on Tuesday, July 17.
"Every jersey I've put on has been an Oriole. I've performed this year as an Oriole. I've done everything possible. I've worked hard. The organization gave me the opportunity to go back to shortstop and play my natural position," Machado said.
"The fans I guess kind of appreciated the way I've been playing and I appreciate everything that they have done. Hopefully I'll put on that jersey and if not, I'm always going to be grateful no matter what."
While the starting votes for the All-Star Game are in, there are still ways you can decide who goes to D.C. Fans can cast votes for the final player on each league's roster -- on computers, tablets and smartphones -- exclusively online as part of the 2018 Camping World MLB Final Vote, as well as via the MLB At Bat and MLB Ballpark mobile apps, until Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET.
Then on July 17, while watching the 2018 All-Star Game presented by Mastercard live on FOX, fans can submit their choices for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet with the 2018 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote.
The 89th Midsummer Classic, at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., will be televised nationally by FOX Sports; in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS; and worldwide by partners in more than 180 countries. FOX Deportes will provide Spanish-language coverage in the United States, while ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network, MLB.com and SiriusXM also will provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage.
For more information about MLB All-Star Week and to purchase tickets, visit AllStarGame.com and follow @MLB and @AllStarGame on social media.
Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast.