MIAMI -- With the MLB All-Star Game presented by Mastercard in Miami for the first time, Giancarlo Stanton became the face of the festivities. The 27-year-old Marlins right fielder had his image on buildings, and he was a headliner promoting Monday's T-Mobile Home Run Derby.After being an ambassador for the
MIAMI -- With the MLB All-Star Game presented by Mastercard in Miami for the first time, Giancarlo Stanton became the face of the festivities. The 27-year-old Marlins right fielder had his image on buildings, and he was a headliner promoting Monday's T-Mobile Home Run Derby.
After being an ambassador for the event the past few days, Stanton joined his Miami teammate, Marcell Ozuna, in the starting lineup for the National League. The two combined to go hitless in five at-bats in the NL's 2-1 loss, but were well received each time their names were announced.
To Stanton, going hitless in three at-bats (with two strikeouts) didn't tell the story of his week. It was about putting on an entertaining show and representing the Marlins and South Florida.
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"It's just owning it, owning everything that comes with it, and being in your city," Stanton said. "Just be proud, be proud of the work I put in. Me and Ozo talked about it. We have long grueling days, a grueling schedule sometimes. So these are times where you sit back and be thankful for the work we put in."
The Marlins ended the first half of the season with a 10-game road trip, capped by a three-game series at San Francisco. They returned to Miami around 5 a.m. ET on Monday, and later that night, Stanton participated in the T-Mobile Home Run Derby.
The Derby ended up being Stanton's showcase moment of All-Star Week. He was eliminated, 17-16, in the first round by Gary Sanchez of the Yankees, but not before making a dramatic comeback. He put on an impressive show, but fell one homer shy.
The excitement level of the Derby and the All-Star Game reminded Stanton of playing for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic in March.
"A lot like [the Classic]," he said. "Just a lot of excitement. A lot of good energy, and fun times. Everyone is enjoying themselves. That's how it should be."
Voted in as a starting outfielder by the fans, Ozuna was in his familiar left-field spot in his home park. In his first at-bat, in the second inning, he drew AL starter Chris Sale of the Red Sox.
With Daniel Murphy on third and two outs, Ozuna went down swinging. In the fourth inning, Ozuna grounded to short off Kansas City's Jason Vargas.
Ozuna was Miami's most consistent player in the first half of the season, batting .316 with 23 home runs and 70 RBIs. With Miami he anchors the four-spot in the lineup, but on Tuesday he batted eighth.
"It doesn't matter where you're hit, being in the lineup is the best," Ozuna said.
As for the overall experience, he's happy the fans recognized his performance.
"They appreciated my work and everything I have done this season," he said.
Stanton, selected as a reserve, was in the lineup as the designated hitter, batting second, and faced some serious heat from Sale. In the first inning, he fanned on a 98.3-mph fastball. The task didn't get any easier in his second at-bat, with one out in the third inning. Against Yankees right-hander Dellin Betances, Stanton struck out on a slider.
In Stanton's third and final at-bat, in the fifth inning, he rolled a slow grounder in front of the plate and was thrown out by catcher Salvador Perez of the Royals.
Now that the frantic few days are finished, Stanton is ready to relax until the Marlins open their second half on Friday against the Dodgers.
"It was fun getting everything going," Stanton said. "Being around all these guys. I'm going to take these two days and hopefully don't see anyone, don't do a dang thing."
Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.