CLEVELAND — UFC heavyweight contender Stipe Miocic is fiercely proud of his Cleveland roots, and when his hometown experiences something good or hosts a great party, he is there to trumpet the successes of the city.
Miocic took to Instagram over the weekend to congratulate Cleveland on hosting the 2019 MLB All-Star Game, and he was proud to represent “Team Cleveland” alongside other professional athletes, including J.R. Smith (Cleveland Cavaliers) and Joe Thomas (Cleveland Browns) as well as other Northeast Ohio natives, like TV personality Drew Carey, in the MLB All-Star Celebrity Softball Game.
“I tip my cap to you, Cleveland!!” Miocic wrote as a caption to an Instagram photo of him being announced at the Celebrity Softball Game.
From a thrill ride over the mall on the PLAY BALL PARK zipline to former stars Jim Thome and Travis Hafner participating in the 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.
The most poignant moment of the All-Star Game came after the fifth inning, at which time, fans and players alike participated in the “Stand Up 2 Cancer” ceremony, and a hometown player returned to the field for the first time since his leukemia diagnosis became public.
Indians pitcher Carlos Carrasco took the field with a sign that said “I Stand” and was flanked by his four American League teammates, shortstop Francisco Lindor, closer Brad Hand, pitcher Shane Bieber and first baseman Carlos Santana, all of whom held up signs bearing 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.
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, Bieber became the third.
Bieber won the award after throwing a perfect fifth 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.
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.
Currently, Miocic is training for a rematch with Daniel Cormier. The two will battle for the UFC heavyweight championship at UFC 241 in Anaheim, California on Saturday, August 17.