LOS ANGELES – Where better place to host one of Major League Baseball’s biggest spectacles of a given year than in the city that specializes in putting on a show.
The “Midsummer Classic” will have a “Hollywood” feel Tuesday as they event will have the glitz and glamour that Los Angeles is known for – and four Chicago baseball players will have the chance to experience that.
Cubs’ Willson Contreras and Ian Happ along with White Sox players Tim Anderson and Liam Hendriks will take part in the All-Star Game that is set to begin after 7 PM tonight at Dodgers Stadium. Each player has his own timeline as he enters tonight’s contest, so let’s take a look at the scenario for each player.
WILLSON CONTRERAS – CATCHER – CUBS – 3RD ALL-STAR GAME START
Contreras is in the game for a third time as a starter, having been elected to do so in 2018 and 2019 as well.
This, of course, will be much different, as Contreras will be in the lineup with his brother William, who is the designated hitter. Willson will bat sixth in the National League lineup with William hitting seventh.
It’s an unusual time for the catcher since he is entering the last year of his contract with the Cubs, and without a long term deal, is likely to be traded in the next few weeks.
Making his debut in 2016 with the club, Contreras has played every game of his major league career in Chicago and was part of the championship team in his rookie season. The catcher is well aware that his time with the Cubs could be short, but he emphasized how proud he was to have represented the franchise if this is indeed the final weeks for him with it.
“This is my third time as a Cubs player and I’m really thankful with that because the Chicago Cubs were the first team to sign me back in Venezuela,” said Contreras. “They were the first team to give me the opportunity to become a pro baseball player, and I will always be thankful with them, not matter what happens, no matter what the future holds, no matter what the outcome is.”
TIM ANDERSON – SHORTSTOP – WHITE SOX – 2ND ALL-STAR GAME – 1ST START
Chicago’s other All-Star starter will do so for the first time after making his first apperance in the All-Star Game in 2021.
Anderson got the vote from the fans and others to earn another honor for a player that’s developing into one of the future faces of the league in his seventh season with the White Sox. He’s hitting .310 with 11 doubles, six homers, and 24 RBI in 65 games this season the shortstop tries to help the club to a third-straight postseason apperance.
One of the things that Anderson is hoping for this season is to step to the plate in the contest – something he didn’t get to do last year when the game was held at Coors Field in Denver.
“I didn’t get an at-bat last time so. I’m starting this year so I’m excited,” said Anderson. “Hopefully I’ll get two or three at-bats. Definitely I’ll be here for the memories and the expeirence, I mean, we’re in LA, so I don’t get no better than this.
“I’m just here to have fun and be around a bunch of guys I haven’t been around before, and I’m definetly going to enjoy the moment.”
He’ll bat seventh in the American League lineup.
LIAM HENDRIKS – CLOSER – WHITE SOX – 3RD ALL-STAR GAME
For a third-straight All-Star Game, Liam Hendriks will be coming out of the bullpen for the American League, doing so twice for the White Sox and once for the Athletics in 2019.
Despite losing a few weeks to injury, Hendriks has remained reliable in the closer role, converting 18 of his 21 chances so far this season with a 2.35 ERA.
This was a bit of a stressful lead-up to the All-Star Game compared to the last two since Hendriks was named a late replacement for the All-Star Game on Sunday. He had to change plans quickly in Minneapolis to make sure he along with his wife, Kristi, and parents could make it to Los Angeles.
“It was a little stressful trying to get it all (figured) out. Luckily I’ve got a rock behind me, so my wife was able to figure out dog sitting and all that sory of stuff, which is one of the bigger issues, trying to figure out that so she could make it,” said Hendriks. “She was able to figure it out, and we’re here, and we’re ready to soak it in.”
IAN HAPP – OUTFIELDER – CUBS – 1ST ALL-STAR GAME
Chicago’s lone first-time MLB All-Star in 2022 is Ian Happ, who is in the game in his sixth season in the league and with the Cubs.
The outfielder has been one of the bright spots of a rough Cubs’ season as he’s emerged as one of the leaders on the team both in performance and example. He’s hitting .274 with 23 doubles, nine homers, and 42 RBI in 90 games this season.
For Happ, the greatest part of being an All-Star is to represent his family during the event, which is a thank you to them sticking by him during his journey to professional baseball.
“You can’t put into words how awesome it is to share that with your family and with those people that have been there through everything,” said Happ. “They’ve been there through the great moments; playing as a kid, all the travel, and the struggles all the way through. So to be able to come and enjoy this together is really, really special.”