Earl Heath, Contributing Sports Writer
Giancarlo Stanton, who grew up attending games at Dodger Stadium and starring for Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks. Like all youngsters’ dream Stanton had his come true as he was named the Most Valuable Player of the 2022 MLB All-Star Game at the park where he grew up.
The American League was trailing the National League by two runs when Dodgers pitcher Tony Gonsolin allowed home runs to Stanton and Byron Buxton in consecutive at-bats in the fourth inning. Neither team scored again and the AL won, 3-2 in front of 52,518 at Chavez Ravine.
The New York Yankees slugger went “Uptown” with a 457-foot blast to left field, according to Statcast – came two batters after Cleveland Guardians third baseman Jose Ramirez led off the fourth inning with a single.
“Can’t really explain how special this is,” Stanton said. “It’s hard to put into words that this is reality right now. It’s really cool. I’m soaking it all in.”
The So Cal native earned the All-Star Game start after hitting 24 home runs and driving in 61 for the Yankees in the first half. American League manager Dusty Baker put him 5th on the line-up card. In his first at-bat, Stanton struck out on three pitches against Miami Marlins pitcher Sandy Alcantara to begin the second inning.
In his only other plate appearance of the night, Stanton fell behind Dodger ace Gonsolin 0-and-2 before ripping the third pitch into the left field bleachers – a place, he said, he often watched games as a youth.
“You have to tip your cap to him,” said Gonsolin.
Stanton would drive down with friends and “buy tickets from guys in front of the stadium” to get in. Some favorite Dodgers were Raul Mondesi (because he had a cannon for an arm) and Hideo Nomo.
“Full circle,” he said. “I always tried to get a ball thrown to me from whoever was playing left field when I was a kid. Just to be out there is so fun, so cool. I’m soaking it all in.”
Stanton was presented the MVP trophy by Billie Jean King, the Dodgers co-owner, philanthropist and tennis great.
He became the just the third Yankee in the game’s history to be named MVP-Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter were the other two. It was the AL’s 9th straight win.
What a Hollywood ending for a hometown kid.
The National League highlights came early as Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw gave up a single to Shohei Ohtani on the games first pitch. It was Ohtani who told Fox sports Tim Verducci before the game “first pitch first swing.”
It was short lived as a couple of pitches later Ohtani was picked off by Kershaw on what looked like what was going to be a steal attempt.
In the bottom of the first Mookie Betts knocked in the first run for the National’s League with a single to center scoring in Ronald Acuna Jr. who had doubled.
Betts was taken out by a double play that featured an awesome behind the back toss from AL second baseman Andre Gimenez.
Paul Goldschmidt followed the dazzling play with a 415 shot to left center that gave the NL a 2-0 lead.
“It was a surreal moment to homer in the All-Star game,” said Goldschmidt.
ADD ALL-STARS: “Today’s a special day. It’s Miss Rachel Robinson’s 100th birthday,” Betts said before the game. “So on the count of three, I want everybody here to say: ‘Happy Birthday, Rachel!’ that meant a lot to so many. “That tribute is probably the thing I’ll remember the most,” Betts added. “It was very special for me to be able to be on the mic and say it.”…The Twins Byron Buxton appeared in his first All-Star game he replaced the Angels Mike Trout who has an injury. He followed Stanton’s game tying homer with a 425-foot shot of his own giving the American League ahead…“I didn’t want to strikeout,” said the Baxley Georgia who was a of the Twins in 2012. “I was thinking base hit, just get a hit” …It was the pre-game that stirred emotion in former first-round pick. When Betts and Denzel Washington paid tribute to Rachael Robinson on her 100th birthday it was emotional. “That will be something I will remember the rest of my life,” said Buxton he was joined by Twin teammate Luis Arraez…For the NL Wilson Contreras (CUBS) started at catcher and William Contreras was DH were the first brother to start in game since Sandy and Roberto Alomar in 1994.