Brewers closer thrilled to once again bring family to Midsummer Classic
By Adam McCalvy and Brandon Curry
MILWAUKEE -- It's been 11 years since Francisco Rodriguez threw gas in his first All-Star Game as a 22-year-old Angels flamethrower in 2004. And while the method has changed, the results are the same, and for that reason Rodriguez is headed back to the Midsummer Classic.
Rodriguez was selected by National League manager Bruce Bochy as Milwaukee's lone All-Star named Monday, when the pitchers and reserves for each league were unveiled. It's his sixth All-Star appearance, and second in as many years representing the Brewers.
"It means a lot. I don't know how to explain it," Rodriguez said after Monday night's loss to the Braves. "If I try to explain it, it's going to take all night long. It's really, really satisfying for me and my family."
Voting is open now at MLB.com to select the final player for each League's 34-man roster via the 2015 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Final Vote. Fans can cast their votes from a list of five players from each League until 4 p.m. ET on Friday.
And the voting doesn't end there. During the Midsummer Classic in Cincinnati on Tuesday, July 14, fans can once again visit MLB.com to submit their choice for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet. Voting exclusively at MLB.com, online and via their mobile devices in the 2015 All-Star Game MVP Vote presented by Chevrolet, the fans' collective voice will represent 20 percent of the overall vote that determines the recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.
MLB.TV Premium subscribers will be able to live stream the All-Star Game presented by T-Mobile via MLB.TV through FOX's participating video providers. Access will be available across more than 400 supported MLB.TV platforms, including the award-winning MLB.com At Bat app. MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage of the All-Star Week festivities, including the 2015 Gillette Home Run Derby presented by Head & Shoulders, part of Gatorade All-Star Workout Day on Monday, July 13.
The 86th All-Star Game presented by T-Mobile will be televised nationally by FOX Sports (7 p.m. ET air time, 8:15 first pitch), in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 160 countries. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive 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.
When he broke into the big leagues with the Angels in 2002, helping that team win the World Series, Rodriguez's weapons included a power fastball and a wipe-out slider. Today, the velocity is way down and the slider is secondary to Rodriguez's sensational changeup, which he's willing to throw in any count to produce awkward swings -- and often swings and misses.
"What's impressive to me about Frankie is that he came in the league as one guy and he's a different guy now, but he's as equally as dominant," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "He's different than the guy that saved 62 games for the Angels, but he's just as good."
This season, Rodriguez has been practically perfect. He has converted all 18 save opportunities with a 1.45 ERA, a .168 batting average against and 27 scoreless appearances in 31 games. Rodriguez's streak of 23 straight converted saves was the third-longest active run in the Major Leagues, behind the Twins' Glen Perkins (27 in a row) and the Pirates' Mark Melancon (23).
He entered Monday ninth on Major League Baseball's all-time saves list, with 366. Next up is Jeff Reardon, who had 367 career saves.
"It's about making adjustment every day and trying to make it difficult for [the hitters] as far as interrupting their timing, throwing pitchers their not expecting," Rodriguez said. "Pretty much playing a mental game with them."
"[Rodriguez] has become a master at disrupting hitters' timing," Counsell said. "It's not just pure stuff. It's impressive."
Making the Midsummer Classic still matters to Rodriguez, who has represented three different teams at the event, especially for his family.
"Seeing my kids' facial expression when they go in the clubhouse and see those big stars next to them," Rodriguez said of what he enjoys the most about being selected. "End of the day, I have to do a job, which is get in the game and get someone out. More than anything, it's for my kids, my family, than it is for me."
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast.Brandon Curry is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.