LOS ANGELES — Perhaps next year when they are playing at T-Mobile Park, in front of Mariners fans with the midsummer classic returning to Seattle for the first time since 2001, Julio Rodriguez and Ty France will have more of an impact on the game.

The two representatives from the Mariners — both first-time All-Stars — had no major role in the American League’s 3-2 win over the National League.

But the idea of participating in the All-Star Game next season, perhaps even starting, in their home ballpark is certainly motivating.

“It all happened so fast and it ended really quick too,” France said. “It was an incredible experience and I’m very grateful to be here.”

Rodriguez, who figures to be a fixture on the American League All-Star team for years to come, will certainly be a popular vote next season to be a starter in the outfield.

“It would mean the world to me,” he said. “I love the Mariners fans. I truly do. I feel like playing the All-Star Game in front of all of them is going to be pretty surreal if I get the chance to.”


While he wouldn’t officially commit to it, it’s difficult to imagine Rodriguez not participating in next year’s Home Run Derby following this year’s magical performance where he became an instant sensation.

“I think after the derby last night everybody knows who Julio Rodriguez is and it’s well-deserved,” France said.

Asked if he could hit one of the juiced-up baseballs used in the Home Run Derby completely out of T-Mobile Park in left field, Rodriguez smiled and replied: “I might have to try.”

France, who grew up 30 minutes away in Covina, lived a childhood dream playing his first All-Star Game at Dodger Stadium, a place he grew going to games.

“This has been incredible,” France said. “This whole experience, I’m finally getting a chance to let it all sink in. This has been very memorable for me. To do my first one in my hometown, and hopefully a second in Seattle in front of the fans, that’d be pretty cool.”

After AL starter Shane McClanahan gave up a pair of runs in the first inning, the 10 pitchers that followed held the National League scoreless, allowing just one hit.


The AL All-Stars scored three runs in the fourth inning on back-to-back homers from Giancarlo Stanton and Byron Buxton off Tony Gonsolin.

Rodriguez hopped out of the first-base dugout to replace Buxton in center field in the bottom of the fourth inning.  

He received a nice ovation when he reached his position and interacted with fans nearby, pointing to them and drawing cheers before throwing the warm-up baseball into the crowd.

“It was amazing,” he said. “I had just had a really fun time playing with everybody out there.”

In his first at-bat, he got treatment fitting of the exhibition of home-run power he put on display Monday night in the Home Run Derby.

Arizona lefty Joe Mantiply threw back-to-back changeups to start the at-bat. Rodriguez shrugged off the first one that was low and away. But he wasn’t prepared to see the pitch again. He took a hard swing and was well ahead of the 82-mph pitch.


Mantiply came back with a sinker away and Rodriguez hit a hard ground ball to second for an out.

“My goal was just to hit the ball,” he said. “Hit the ball first.”

France, who was the last player chosen for the All-Star Game, filling in for Mike Trout, was also the last American League position player to enter the game. Manager Dusty Baker had told the team that he wanted to get every player in the game.

France waited patiently for his chance, pinch hitting for Jose Ramirez to start the eighth. In typical Baker fashion, he told France a “couple minutes” before the inning started.

“I was moving around most of the game so I was kind of preparing for it,” France said. “I didn’t know when it was going to happen so I wanted to stay somewhat loose but he kind of sprung it on me.”

France took a first-pitch strike on a 98-mph fastball at his knees on the outside corner of the plate. He fouled off two fastballs at 98 and 100. Ryan Helsley tried to get him to chase way out of the zone, which France watched. But possible looking for another triple-digit fastball and trying to be ready for it, France was fooled on slider away, taking an ugly swing for a strikeout.


“None of those back-end relievers are fun to face,” he said.

Rodriguez batted with two outs and Luis Arraez on first in the inning. He watched a 98-mph fastball for a first-pitch strike and then flew out to right field on 99-mph fastball away.

The bottom of the eighth inning was a new experience for Rodriguez as he wore a microphone in the outfield and had a discussion with announcer Joe Davis and analyst John Smoltz.

They asked if he thought the Mariners would make the postseason and end a drought dating to 2001.

“For sure, I feel like that’s what we are all shooting for,” he said. “That’s what we are all working toward.”

They mentioned that no player that had worn a microphone had made a play in the field. That changed as Rodriguez chased down a fly ball in right-center. The audio picked up his thick gold chain and diamond-encrusted “44” pendant as he ran.


White Sox closer Liam Hendriks worked to get the final out of the inning. Dansby Swanson hit a fly ball to center and Rodriguez caught it for the third out.

Hendriks, who keeps the baseballs from his All-Star appearances, screamed at Rodriguez to throw ball to him. But Hendriks didn’t know that Rodriguez was still wearing his earpiece and microphone.

Rodriguez acted as if he was going to throw the ball into the crowd as Hendriks yelled, “Julioooooooo!!! Don’t throw the ball away!”

“I was just messing with him because he didn’t know I could hear him,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez and France will have Wednesday and Thursday off before returning to T-Mobile Park on Friday to open the second “half” of the season with a big three-game series vs. the rival Houston Astros and the Mariners riding a 14-game winning streak. The opening game of the series is sold out with the Saturday game expected to sell out and another large crowd on Sunday.

“I’m definitely excited to get back to Seattle,” France said. “We’ve been playing really good baseball and I’m excited to get back there with the boys. It’s a fun group we’ve got over there and I’m looking forward to getting back to playing baseball again.”