SAN DIEGO -- Turns out, Manny Machado will be making the trip to Denver for the Midsummer Classic after all.
San Diego’s five All-Stars are tied for the most in the NL, marking the first time the organization has sent five players to the All-Star Game since its 1998 NL pennant-winning season.
“Honestly, it’s a great honor,” Machado said. “To be selected and be able to participate in an All-Star Game is always a blessing and a great accomplishment. … To be able to go with the San Diego Padres for the first time, and the teammates we have here, it’s an exciting moment.”
When All-Star rosters were unveiled last weekend, the Padres were surprised to see Machado excluded in the first place. All season, he's been excellent defensively, and he's been red-hot at the plate since the start of June.
“He’s had, statistically, one of the better seasons in the league,” said Padres manager Jayce Tingler. “So it’s better late than never. I think he should’ve been in on the first go-round. But with that being said, they got it right.”
Machado, to his credit, didn’t seem too perturbed.
“You go out there and you play baseball,” Machado said. “If it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t.”
Officially, it happened in the middle of the Padres’ 3-0 loss to the Rockies on Saturday night. The Padres announced the news on the videoboard in the middle of the fourth inning, prompting a raucous ovation from the home fans at Petco Park.
Machado strode to the plate two batters later, serenaded by chants of “Man-ny, Man-ny.” That’s become a regular occurrence this season.
“It was awesome, man,” Machado said. “I continue to keep saying it: We have an unbelievable fanbase here. … They come and support us every single night, and they know what we do every single night. We put on a show. And I couldn’t be any happier to hear them cheering my name tonight.”
Machado was hitting .275/.362/.492 with 15 homers and a National League-leading 60 RBIs entering play Saturday night. His 3.5 wins above replacement, according to Baseball Reference, are tops among NL third basemen.
Of course, Machado’s path to an All-Star appearance wasn’t exactly smooth. A month ago, he was hitting .235/.322/.412, after battling through some nagging injuries early in the season.
But then Machado caught fire. He starred in the Padres’ three-game sweep of the Dodgers in late June. He homered three times in Philadelphia last weekend.
"It's pretty clear to me he's an All-Star," Tingler said after the initial announcement. "I don't know if there's anybody more consistent, anybody more impactful on both sides of the field. ... As you just watch him on a daily basis, he's just one of the best players in the league."
And now he’s headed to Coors Field, where he’ll suit up as a National Leaguer for the first time, after reaching his first four All-Star Games with Baltimore.
“I was just going to relax and see family, probably get some sun and get my tan right,” Machado said. “But any time you get a call to go to the All-Star Game, you can’t refuse that. This is what we work for. This is what it’s all about.”