The only prediction Manny Machado gave going into Tuesday night’s All-Star Game was that the trade rumors that swirled around him weren’t going to prevent him from having fun as he represented the Orioles in the midsummer classic for the fourth — and likely final — time.
While Machado was the focus leading up to Tuesday’s game — it is a near certainty that he will be traded in the coming days, as soon as Wednesday — but his performance in the All-Star Game was somewhat anticlimactic. He took more selfies than had balls hit his way at shortstop.
But it wasn’t hard to see that Machado was enjoying the moment, getting away from all the speculation and playing alongside the best players the game has to offer.
“I’m not worried about what’s going to happen later,” Machado said before Tuesday’s game. “I’m worried about today and that’s the only way you can handle stuff.”
All signs point to Machado being traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers, and Machado embraced a Hollywood-style red carpet arrival at Nationals Park before Tuesday’s game, his unique undercut hairstyle freshly done, style lines and all, while wearing a thick rose gold blue chain and a baby blue, double-breasted suit, dress shirt optional.
Come gametime, Machado was in the on-deck circle in the top of the second inning, a better than front-row perspective to watch Yankees slugger Aaron Judge hit a towering solo homer off Nationals ace Max Scherzer, greeting him with a forearm bash on his way to the dugout.
Then in the bottom of the second inning, after Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp opened the inning, Machado, the AL’s starting shortstop, pulled his cell phone out of his back pocket and took a second-base selfie with Kemp, who could be his future teammate in L.A.
At the plate, Machado seemed determined to follow Judge’s home run with one of his own, swinging from his shoes on the first pitch he saw from Scherzer and flying out to left in his first at bat. In his second at bat in the fourth inning, Machado popped up to third base, flailing at a slider down and away from Atlanta’s Mike Foltynewicz.
Machado took a second selfie with former Orioles teammate Nick Markakis, playing in his first All-Star Game at age 34, at second base after the final out of the bottom of the fourth.
Machado didn’t receive a ball on defense until the fifth inning, when Cubs catcher Willson Contreras grounded out to shortstop, his only defensive play of the game. Machado was lifted in the top of the sixth inning for pinch hitter Francisco Lindor of the Indians.