New York- Former IronBirds star Manny Machado tasted victory in his first All-Star Game as the American League All-Stars defeated the National League All-Stars, 3-0.
That is no easy feat, especially after he was selected to be a member of the team on his 21st birthday. 21 years of age signals the beginning of adulthood and Manny Machado has grown up rapidly right before the eyes of the Orioles fan base and organization.
Machado only spent seven games in Aberdeen in 2010, but he made them count. The former IronBird collected 10 hits in 29 at bats. He had a .345 batting average with one double, one triple and three RBIs. Fans gathered at Ripken Stadium back in 2010 to see Machado in action. He now has a banner hanging in the rafters to commemorate his time spent here with the IronBirds.
Not impressed yet? It rarely happens where a player will jump straight from Double-A ball straight to the big leagues, but scouts knew that Machado had the necessary tools to do just that. After appearing in 109 games with the Bowie Baysox in 2012, Manny was ready for his first taste of the Majors. The call came from the Baltimore Orioles on August 9th, 2012 and Machado was ready. On the very next day against the Kansas City Royals, he hit two home runs off of Luke Hochevar. Machado mania had begun.
In the mid-summer classic, Machado entered the game in the bottom of the 6th inning and replaced starting third baseman Miguel Cabrera. That in itself speaks volumes about Machado's ability to play.
Manny made possibly the best defensive play of the night under the Citi Field lights. Paul Goldschmidt of the Arizona Diamondbacks grounded a ball shortly down the third base line, but Machado reacted brilliantly. He backed up, fielded the ball on an awkward hop and fired the ball across the diamond to retire Goldschimdt hustling down the first base line.
What is there not to like? After the game, FOX unveiled its top five plays from the first half of the season. The former IronBird cracked the list at number five with his other-worldly play that retired Yankees' infielder Luis Cruz. Machado struck out against Atlanta Braves' closer Craig Kimbrel in his only plate appearance in the top of the eighth inning, but Manny had already left his mark on defense.
For Machado, his professional career has taken him from Florida all the way up the east coast to Baltimore. Last night he made it known he is here to stay with his play in the All-Star Game. The organization and fans could not be happier with the progress he has shown and now a national audience has seen him perform.