By: Kelly McGowan
The 89th annual MLB All-Star Game airs Tuesday, July 17. This game will be televised nationally on FOX at 7 p.m. Central Time. The annual All-Star Game is the most prestigious game in baseball. This game is a dual against the American and National League to show which league has the greatest players in baseball.
It is every baseball player’s dream to star in this game. It is so big that players need to be voted in to participate and represent their team. Since 2010, there are 34 players allowed on each league’s team roster – the American and National Leagues, and each team will have one guaranteed representative.
Since 2000, the Cubs have sent anywhere from one to five players to the All-Star Game. Last year, there was one representative for the Cubs, Wade Davis, who now plays for the Colorado Rockies. In 2016, the Cubs sent five players including Jon Lester, Ben Zobrist, Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, and Addison Russell, who all still play for the Cubs. Bryant could have been selected again this year if it weren’t for his injury holding him back, but the Cubs will be sending two first time All-Star appearance players this year as well as a fifth-time appearance pitcher.
Out of all Chicagoans from both teams, the Cubs will be sending catcher Willson Contreras and second baseman Javier Báez, as well as pitcher Jon Lester who all will be representing the National League. The White Sox will be sending first baseman José Abreu, his second All-Star appearance, to represent the American League.
Contreras will make his first All-Star Game appearance as he was voted in to be the starting catcher for the National League. The Cubs posted a video on Twitter showing the excitement from his teammates congratulating him as well as an emotional side of Contreras shedding tears of joy over his selection. A dream come true for any baseball player. The 26-year-old Venezuelan currently has a .284 batting average with 65 RBI’s and 17 home runs.
Báez was selected to start the game at second base. The 25-year-old Puerto Rican has starred in 86 games so far this season with a .292 batting average with 34 RBI’s and seven home runs. Báez has the 18th highest batting average in the NL. Teammate Albert Almora Jr. is the league’s current batting leader with a .323 batting average, and he surprisingly did not make the team.
Cubs starting pitcher Jon Lester will make his fifth career appearance at the All-Star Game, his second time as a Cub. He is one of the top pitchers in the National League with an 11-2 record, the second most wins in the NL, and a 2.45 ERA, the fifth best in the league.
The National League has only won four of the last twenty All-Star games so the Cubs are hoping to get a fifth win this year. Go Cubs!