Although Arizona State has seemingly always had a much more successful go of things than the University of Arizona in baseball, the two programs will have one former player from each school playing in the 2015 MLB All-Star Game. If you’re a casual Major League fan, but looking for a team to root for we may have just the right way to settle this.
Jul 1, 2015; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Cleveland Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis (22) forces out Tampa Bay Rays left fielder Brandon Guyer (5) during the ninth inning at Tropicana Field. Cleveland Indians defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 8-1. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Former Arizona State Sun Devil Jason Kipnis, second baseman for the Cleveland Indians, will be representing the American League in Cincinnati on Tuesday, while Arizona alum Mark Melancon, closing pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates, will be representing the National League.
There you have it. If you’re still at a cross-road at who to root for, but you like Arizona State then you go for the American League and Kipnis. And if you’re a supporter of Arizona then you root hard for the National League and Melancon. I suppose it sort of helps a bit with the Melancon claim as our hometown Diamondbacks are a part of the National League as well.
Kipnis is having arguably his best year at the dish in his career as he currently holds a slash line of .323/.401/.487 with six HRs and 37 RBIs. He currently leads the Major Leagues in plate appearances (403) and doubles (27), while ranking second in hits (112), fourth in triples (six), fifth in runs scored (59), and seventh in OPS (.889).
Kipnis was the May 2015 American League Player of the Month Award winner. This will be Kipnis’ second All-Star game appearance after being named to the American League roster in 2013 as well.
Jul 5, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitcher Mark Melancon (35) pitches against the Cleveland Indians during the ninth inning in an inter-league game at PNC Park. The Pirates won 5-3.Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Melancon currently leads the National League in saves (29) while sporting a career-low ERA (1.47). He has been absolutely untouchable in 2015 thus far as he has blown just one save opportunity. He has held hitters to a .210 batting clip, while limiting his WHIP to just 0.95.
Melancon will also be making his second All-Star team after making the 2013 National League roster as a member of the Pirates.
Not only have these former Sun Devils and Wildcats made the American League and National League All-Star teams, but they have 100 percent earned their way onto these teams with complete dominance at their respective fields.
Now, let’s just hope for a little late-inning drama with Melancon on the mound for the National League as Kipnis steps into the batters box in a miniature Territorial Cup showdown on a big stage.