Shane Bieber, Cleveland put on MVP show for 90th All-Star Game

Indians starter is brilliant, city provides electric atmosphere for mid-summer classic

Daryl Ruiter
July 09, 2019 - 11:40 pm

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

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Cleveland, Ohio (92.3 The Fan) – The 90th Major League Baseball Game ended in the same way the 1997 game in Cleveland did – with an Indian taking home the MVP trophy.

Starter Shane Bieber, who was in AA ball some 13 or so months ago and wasn’t added to the American League roster until Friday, was named the game’s MVP after becoming the first Indians pitcher to strike out the side in an All-Star Game in the top of the fifth inning.

He also is just the second pitcher to strike out the side in his home ballpark in his first All-Star Game, joining Bobby Shantz, who did it in 1952 at Shibe Park.

Bieber joins Sandy Alomar Jr. as the only players in franchise history to win the honor during the mid-summer classic – and they both did it in Cleveland.

Chants of “Let’s go Bieber” filled the top of the fifth and they got louder with every strike before reaching a crescendo when he got Ronald Acuna Jr. looking to end the frame sending the crowd into another roar and Bieber into the arms of Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor as he reached the dugout.

The post-game presentation capped an electric night at Progressive Field that saw the city of Cleveland shine bright for five days of festivities that began last Friday.

For his efforts, Bieber received a crystal bat from MLB commissioner Rob Manfred and his choice of a new truck.

As for the fans, they received another night to remember on the corner of Carnegie and Ontario beginning with the pregame pomp and circumstance.

The Twins, Yankees and Cubs All-Stars were greeted with a hearty round of boos – the loudest saved for Yankees left-hander Aroldis Chapman, who laughed at the reception, because the 2016 World Series remains an open wound in these parts.

The roar reached jet-like decibels when manager Terry Francona, Lindor, Bieber, and Brad Hand were introduced.

Cleveland loves their hometown guys, and it showed once again Tuesday night.

Alomar Jr. and CC Sabathia received ovations when they were introduced for the first pitch. The two embraced between home plate and the pitchers mound before Sabathia delivered a strike to Alomar.

The park shook for the first time when Santana stepped to the plate in the bottom of the first with a runner on third and two outs before he grounded out harmlessly to short, ending the inning.

Astros outfielder Michael Brantly, who spent 11 years in Cleveland, received the same hero’s welcome the Indians did. For fans, he’s still part of the family, until October should the Tribe and Houston meet again in the postseason.

Chants of “Frankie, Frankie” for Lindor filled the air when he stepped in the box to pinch hit in the bottom of the fifth. Lindor struck out.

The most moving moment came in at the end of that inning during the annual ‘Stand Up For Cancer’ tribute.

On the field Indians starter Carlos Carrasco was flanked by Francona, Lindor, Hand, Santana and Bieber, who all wrote his nickname, “Cookie,” on their cards. Carrasco wrote "I stand” and the ballpark began chanting “Cookie, Cookie, Cookie” in unison as they were shown on the scoreboard.

It was a beautiful teary-eyed moment with Carrasco fighting a form of Leukemia, a diagnosis received earlier this year.

Home runs by Charlie Blackmon in the top of the sixth to pull the NL within 2-1 and Joey Gallo that gave the AL a 4-1 lead in the seventh provided the fireworks for the game.

Not even HR Derby king Pete Alonso, who hit a 2-run single off Hand in the top of the eighth, could dim the enthusiasm of 36,747 fans. When the Indians closer left the mound, the AL still held the advantage by a run.

With Chapman designated the closer, he was serenaded with chants of “Rajai Davis, Rajai Davis,” an homage to Davis’ Game 7 blast in the eighth inning, as he took the mound in the ninth with the AL holding a 4-3 lead.

After Chapman quickly retired the first two hitters, Sabathia popped out of the dugout for one last visit to the mound in Cleveland, much to the delight of Chapman and the sellout crowd. He promptly ended the game preserving the AL’s seventh consecutive victory over the National League.

Tributes to Cleveland baseball fans, late Indians player-manager Frank Robinson and a special Drew Carey Show open Indians edition highlighted a spectacular in-park presentation.

Tuesday night was a glorious celebration of baseball.

Cleveland rocked.