MINNEAPOLIS -- Through an odd turn of events, Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo -- who has never run afoul of the Minnesota Twins, has played only three games at Target Field and hasn’t had a hit there -- could get booed in his first All-Star Game.
“I thought about that,” he said. “Minnesota fans are nice, though.”
He’ll find out Tuesday night if they’ll live up to that reputation.
Rizzo became a temporary heel in Minnesota last week, when he narrowly beat out Colorado Rockies first baseman Justin Morneau for the final spot on the National League All-Star team. He won the final vote ballot despite an enthusiastic effort from the Twins and their fans to get Morneau -- who made four All-Star teams and won the 2006 AL MVP with the Twins -- back to Minneapolis for the All-Star Game.
Morneau participated in Monday’s Home Run Derby, which gave the 33-year-old his moment with the fans who supported him for 11 seasons.
But Rizzo’s power numbers compare favorably to Morneau’s, and the 24-year-old Cub wasn’t about to apologize for the All-Star selection after an eventful 3 1/2-year stretch that saw him go from Boston Red Sox prospect to San Diego Padres rookie to Cubs slugger.
“I was very impressed -- very nervous and impressed. [Morneau] had a lot of great years here,” Rizzo said. “I got 8.8 million votes, so that’s getting your name out there a little more in the national spotlight. It was nerve-racking, but I also hit a few home runs [last week] to keep it going.”