This year’s All-Star Game is a mini-Cubs celebration, with seven players on the NL roster, including the entire starting infield, after a remarkable half-season.
But a summer slump serves as a reminder: A good start is a long way from Chicago winning its first championship since 1908 or even bringing the World Series to Sheffield and Waveland Avenues for the first time since 1945.
“Everyone crowned us the World Series champion in December, which is unfair to the whole organization,” first baseman Anthony Rizzo said Monday. “Everyone put this high expectation on us, and we lived up to it.”
When Chris Sale of the South Side’s White Sox throws the first pitch to the Cubs’ Ben Zobrist on Tuesday night, the All-Star Game will be back in San Diego for the first time since 1992 at Jack Murphy Stadium, where Ken Griffey Jr. batted seventh for the AL between another pair of juniors — Cal Ripken and Sandy Alomar.
Griffey was the MVP, going 3 for 3 and falling a triple short of the cycle. Tony Gwynn — the Padres’ Hall of Famer who would die of salivary gland cancer in 2014 — had a pair of assists in right field.
With Rizzo, Zobrist, shortstop Addison Russell and Bryant, the Cubs joined the 1963 St. Louis Cardinals as the only teams to start all four infielders in an All-Star Game — a fifth Chicago player, Dexter Fowler, was voted to the starting lineup but will miss out due to a hamstring injury.
Rizzo led NL players with 3.2 million votes.
“It’s crazy to me, just because of all the superstars in this game, and I do not classify myself as one of them,” he said. “When that first voting came out, I was like, ‘Is this a fluke? Was there a glitch?’”
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