Playing in an All-Star Game is probably a lot of fun, Brian Dozier figures. But it’s hard to imagine that it can top what happened when the Twins announced that he’s going.
“I’m telling you, I get chills even thinking about it,” he said of the fourth-inning public-address announcement Saturday that brought the 32,365 Dozier fans to their feet in a long, loud congratulations. “A standing ovation and all that — it goes to show you, we’re all in this together. That’s what I love about being here.”
He will be in Cincinnati on Tuesday. The Twins second baseman, runner-up in the Final Vote, was selected by AL manager Ned Yost to fill in after Toronto’s Jose Bautista had to back out in order to get treatment on his sore shoulder.
Dozier was informed of the selection just before Saturday’s 9-5 victory over the Tigers, and the Twins clubhouse went crazy, too. “They were elated about the news about Brian,” manager Paul Molitor said. “That was a pick-me-up for us.”
Ironically, though the Twins had taken a 7-0 lead on Detroit, Dozier popped out to foul territory in both of his first two at-bats before the announcement, though he then singled in the third inning.
Millions of votes were cast online last week for the final All-Star spot, in which Dozier finished second to Kansas City third baseman Mike Moustakas, MLB announced Friday — shortly before Dozier capped the Twins’ seven-run ninth-inning rally with a walk-off home run to beat the Tigers 8-6.
It was Dozier’s second walk-off home run of the week and third winning blast. He beat the Orioles with a 10th-inning home run Monday, then put the Twins ahead for good Wednesday with a seventh-inning shot. Dozier is the Twins’ home run leader for the third year in a row.
It’s hard to think of many players having a better season, Molitor added.
“If you had to make an [AL] MVP vote for the first half of the season, not that would be that significant, but I think he’d be in the conversation. For some people, top five. And top 10 for most, I would think, as far as contributions to a given team that has hung in there,” Molitor said. “It was a backwards way to get in there, but the good news is he’ll be there and he’ll represent the Twins.”
Dozier — who leads the AL with 48 extra-base hits and all second basemen with 19 home runs and 49 RBI — will join closer Glen Perkins at Great American Ball Park, the third consecutive season the Twins have had more than one All-Star.
Dozier had planned to spend the four-day break with his wife at a cabin in central Minnesota, and he insisted earlier Saturday, before he received the news, that he wasn’t disappointed.
“Not at all — I tell you man, I’m still in shock about the whole week, actually,” he said of the #VoteDozier online campaign to get him elected. “You think, all this for me? People coming out from everywhere, it seems like. I’ll never be able to express how much it all meant to me.”
Now he will see what being an All-Star means, too.