Brewers send four players to All-Star Game
Gomez, Ramirez voted starters; Lucroy, K-Rod make squad via player ballot
CINCINNATI -- Brewers manager Ron Roenicke isn't a fan of team meetings, but happily made an exception on Sunday.
Roenicke closed the clubhouse doors at about 11 a.m. ET to deliver news that wouldn't go public for another eight hours: For the fifth time in team history, and the first time since 2007, four Brewers players would represent the franchise at the All-Star Game on July 15 at Target Field.
Third baseman Aramis Ramirez and center fielder Carlos Gomez were elected National League starters by baseball fans, positioning the Brewers to have at least two players in the starting lineup for the third time in five years. Catcher Jonathan Lucroy was named as a reserve and Francisco Rodriguez made the NL bullpen via the player ballot.
It made for a fun meeting.
"When you have guys in it, it is," Roenicke said. "If you're one of those teams when you don't have anybody in, and now you have to have somebody in, then it's a little different. …
"We've got some guys who had great first halves so far, and that's what's nice to see. It's great because it's a team game, we play to win, but it's nice when an individual is recognized like they are for this game."
Lucroy garnered special recognition as the only first-time All-Star in the bunch.
"I was a little nervous, but I had a good feeling about it," Lucroy said. "It's one of those things that you kind of hope happens and you get recognized for, and whenever it does happen it feels good. I'm glad that I was able to have this opportunity."
Besides 2007, the Brewers also had four All-Stars in 1980, '82 and '83.
Here's a look at the Brewers' 2014 All-Stars:
Carlos Gomez, CF
Prior ASGs: 2013
ASG W-L: 0-1
ASG Stats: 0-for-1, grounded out as the final player to bat against Yankees' Mariano Rivera in an All-Star Game
How he made 2014 NL team: Elected by fans
Why he's an All-Star: Rather than trying to get him to take pitches and put the ball on the ground, the Brewers decided in 2012 to tell Gomez to look for something to hit and swing hard. It's worked. He's also made a leap defensively, winning the Brewers' first Gold Glove Award in more than 30 years last season.
Did you know?: Gomez's father, also named Carlos, was a quality shortstop and center fielder in the Dominican Republic, but never broke into professional baseball in the U.S. because of his small stature. The younger Gomez told a story during Spring Training about how his father, intent on producing a son who would grow big enough and strong enough to play in the Major Leagues, set out to "marry a big woman to have a big kid." He wed Belgika, who gave him three children, including a 6-foot-3 speedster who would grow up to be an All-Star.
Quotable: "It means that I get better, and the world recognizes that I make progress and they want to see me because it's them voting. It makes me feel like I have to continue to get better every day, working hard to be the player that I think that I can be, because I'm not there yet. I'm still working and still learning every day, and I don't feel like it's enough.'" -- Gomez
Jonathan Lucroy, C
Prior ASGs: First time
ASG W-L: N/A
ASG Stats: N/A
How he made 2014 NL team: Player ballot
Why he's an All-Star: He has been baseball's most valuable catcher all season, as measured by wins above replacement, and even made a last-minute push in fan balloting before falling short of NL starter Yadier Molina. Lucroy has improved dramatically on defense since his hurried promotion to the Majors in 2010, which has had a positive effect on his offensive production.
Did you know?: Lucroy has embraced the "nerd" role lately, since teammate Ryan Braun lovingly labeled him as such in an interview with a national writer. Lucroy's locker at Miller Park features the logo of Lambda Lambda Lambda, the fraternity featured in the 1984 film "Revenge of the Nerds."
Quotable: "Not only has 'Luc' been our best player and MVP to this point, I think he should be in the MVP conversation for the league." -- Braun
Aramis Ramirez, 3B
Prior ASGs: 2005, 2008
ASG W-L: 0-2
ASG Stats: 1-for-2, single, two walks
How he made 2014 NL team: Elected by fans
Why he's an All-Star: Credit the Brewers' scorching start to the season, because Ramirez himself admits he's surprised to be in the starting lineup. He's tied for fourth among NL third basemen in home runs and fifth in RBIs, partly because Ramirez spent about a month on the disabled list with a hamstring injury.
Did you know?: Ramirez will be the first Brewers third baseman to start an All-Star Game. He started as an injury replacement in 2005, while playing for the Cubs, made the team via the player ballot in 2008 and was poised to be an injury replacement in 2011 for the Phillies' Placido Polanco. But Ramirez didn't get that invitation until a day or two before the event, and politely declined, he said, because he'd already made family plans.
Quotable: "[Being elected by fans] means the fans of Milwaukee really support their players, because I'm sure probably 90-95 percent of those votes were coming out of Wisconsin. They really supported me. I did miss almost a month; that's why I was a little surprised. But it's good." -- Ramirez
Francisco Rodriguez, RP
Prior ASGs: 2004, 2007-09
ASG W-L: 3-1
ASG Stats: 2 1/3 innings, one strikeout, two walks, one save
How he made 2014 NL team: Player ballot
Why he's an All-Star: He did not sign until late in the offseason and was not expected to be the Brewers' closer until emerging from the bullpen in the ninth inning on Opening Day. Rodriguez jumped all over the opportunity. He did not allow a run until his 20th appearance of the season, and leads the Majors with 27 saves.
Did you know?: Rodriguez's Spring Training got off to a prickly start. In early March, he stepped barefoot on a backyard cactus -- it was the Cactus League, after all -- delaying his exhibition debut by several days. Rather than risk infection by cutting into his foot to remove the hundreds of spines, Rodriguez simply had to wait for them to work their way out naturally. He was still pulling them out in April.
Quotable: "I probably can't show how happy I am because we just lost a tough game, but it is something really special for me and my family once again, to be in the Midsummer Classic. There are no words to describe for me and my family how excited we are right now." -- Rodriguez
Immediately following the announcement of the American League and National League All-Star rosters on Sunday, fans began voting to select the final player for each league's 34-man roster via the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com Final Vote Sponsored by Experian. Fans can cast their votes from a list of five players from each league until the winners are announced after the voting concludes on Thursday at 3 p.m. CT.
The final phase of All-Star Game voting will again have fans help choose the Ted Williams All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet. During the Midsummer Classic, fans will vote exclusively online at MLB.com and via Twitter in the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote Sponsored by Pepsi, and their collective voice will represent 20 percent of the overall vote that determines the recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.
MLB.TV Premium subscribers, for the first time, will be able to live stream the All-Star Game via MLB.TV through FOX's participating video providers. Access will be available across more than 400 platforms that support MLB.TV, including the award-winning MLB.com At Bat app. MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage of the All-Star Week festivities.
The 85th All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 200 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network and SiriusXM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.