CLEVELAND — And just like that, MLB All-Star Week has come and gone in Cleveland, but what a few days it was for fans and players alike.
From a thrill ride over the mall on the PLAY BALL PARK zipline to former stars Jim Thome and Travis Hafner participating in the MLB All-Star Celebrity Softball Game, the MLB All-Star Parade down East 9th Street, a wild semifinal showdown in the Home Run Derby and a touching show of support for Cleveland Indians pitcher Carlos Carrasco, there were a myriad of memorable moments at the 90th Midsummer Classic.
Here is a look back at some of the best moments and activities from MLB All-Star Game Week in Cleveland.
PLAY BALL PARK zipline
PLAY BALL PARK at the Huntington Cleveland Convention Center was a living tribute to the game, and whether it was a memorabilia auction, artwork for sale, autographs from legends or the hands-on activities, there was something for everyone at the festival of baseball.
But one activity stood out, as PLAY BALL PARK featured a zipline over the mall and Lakeside Avenue, and the 800-foot thrill ride through the Cleveland skies was a popular attraction for fans.
Jim Thome moments
Hall of Fame slugger Jim Thome loved his time with the Indians, and when the opportunity to play in the MLB All-Star Celebrity Softball Game with stars from the entertainment world and former professional baseball players came about, he leapt at the chance and made it a family affair.
Thome’s son, Landon, proved that baseball is in his DNA when he hit an RBI single in the Celebrity Game, and Thome was far from done representing Cleveland, as he served as a manager in the MLB Futures Game.
An MLB All-Star Game Ambassador along with former catcher Sandy Alomar Jr. and current Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor, Thome had Charlie Manuel, Sean Casey and Dave Burba on his coaching staff, while Charles Nagy, Carlos Baerga and Omar Vizquel worked on Dennis Martinez’s staff.
Wild HR Derby showdown
‘Can you top this?’
Following record-tying performances and identical showings in the first two tiebreakers, Toronto Blue Jays rookie Vladimir Guerrero Jr. bested Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Joc Pederson with two home runs in the second of their three-swing run-offs in a memorable semifinal matchup in the Home Run Derby Monday night.
After watching Guerrero Jr. tie his single-round record with 29 home runs from the first round, Pederson matched that total with a late rally in regulation and a solid showing in the 30-second bonus period in the semifinals.
In the first tiebreaker, in which each competitor got 60 seconds to hit as many as home runs as they could, Guerrero Jr. and Pederson each hit eight home runs. Following that run-off, the semifinal matchup moved into a three-swing tiebreaker.
Both players hit one home run during the first three-swing battle, but it was Guerrero Jr. who belted two round-trippers in the second three-swing tiebreaker, which put him into the finals when Pederson only put one over the wall.
Cookie stands up
The most poignant moment of the 2019 MLB All-Star Game came after the fifth inning, during which fans and players alike participated in the “Stand Up 2 Cancer” ceremony, and a hometown player returned to the field after his leukemia diagnosis became public earlier this season.
Indians pitcher Carlos Carrasco took the field with a sign that said “I Stand” and was flanked by his four American League teammates, Lindor, closer Brad Hand, pitcher Shane Bieber and first baseman Carlos Santana, all of whom held up signs of support barring Carrasco’s nickname “Cookie.”
The moment was emotional for Carrasco, his teammates and the fans, many of whom had tears in their eyes after he was shown on the videoboard.
Prior to the All-Star Game, the Indians revealed that Carrasco has been given the go-ahead to resume strength and conditioning activities on his road back to baseball while fighting chronic myeloid leukemia.
Bieber wins MVP
Twenty-two years after former Indians catcher Sandy Alomar Jr. became the first player ever to win the All-Star Game MVP Award in his home ballpark, pitcher Shane Bieber became the third, as he earned the honor in the 90th MLB All-Star Game at Progressive Field in Cleveland Tuesday night.
Bieber won the award after throwing a perfect 1-2-3 inning and becoming the first Indians pitcher to strike out the side in the MLB All-Star Game.
On in relief during the top of the fifth inning, Bieber set down the National League, 1-2-3, with three strikeouts to preserve a 1-0 lead for the American League after four-and-a-half innings of play in the 2019 MLB All-Star Game at Progressive Field in Cleveland Tuesday night.
As the crowd chanted “Let’s go, Bieber” with great passion and at deafening decibel levels, Bieber wound up and struck out Atlanta Braves star Ronald Acuna Jr. looking for the final out of the top of the fifth inning.
Great week of activities
Rain and thunderstorms have been a large part of the spring and summer of 2019 in Cleveland, but during MLB All-Star Week, visitors to the city were treated to several days of sunshine and 80-degree temperatures, which made the outdoor activations at PLAY BALL PARK vibrant with participants.
Despite threats of rain, fans were treated to memorable concerts from award-winning groups Twenty One Pilots and The Killers on Friday and Saturday nights, the MLB Futures Game and Celebrity Softball Game Sunday, the record-setting Home Run Derby Monday and Tuesday’s All-Star Game, all under clear skies.
Several All-Star players noted that Cleveland put on a great party, and former Indians C.C. Sabathia and Michael Brantley were among those who spoke highly of the city and the successful event it put on throughout the week.