It wasn't long ago that Melky Cabrera's claim to fame was being Robinson Cano's sidekick.
But, those days with the New York Yankees and being non tendered by the Atlanta Braves seem like a lifetime ago. Cabrera established himself as one of the best hitters in the game last season with the Kansas City Royals, as he hit .305 with 44 doubles,
Still, the Royals dealt him after the year, figuring perhaps they would sell high on an outfielder, who was one year removed from not being offered a contract by the Braves and one who was generally considered an underachiever his whole career.
"You have to be mentally ready, physically ready, for those decisions that you have no control of," Cabrera said. "It was a business decision that the Royals traded me."
Cabrera, though, has proven that last year was no fluke. He is legit. And on Tuesday the whole world got to witness that first hand, as he had two hits, including a home run, and was named the MVP in the National League's dominant, 8-0, win in the 83rd All-Star Game at Kauffman Stadium.
He becomes the fourth Giants player to win this award and the first since 1973 when Bobby Bonds won it, oddly enough also in Kansas City.
"I didn't come to win an MVP," said Cabrera, who leads the majors with 119 hits. "That's just a surprise. It's a great gift that the Lord gave me. But the same opportunity that Kansas City gave me last year is the same opportunity that San Francisco is giving me every day to showcase my talent."
Cabrera, wasn't the only member of the Giants who thrived, as all four starters played a big part in the NL's five-run first inning.
Cabrera got things started with one-out base-hit and eventually scored on Ryan Braun's double. Later in the frame catcher Buster Posey was walked to load the bases. They wouldn't be filled for long, though, as third baseman Pablo Sandoval cleared them with a triple and scored himself on Dan Uggla's infield single.
"I just got a curveball right there, hanging," Sandoval said, "so I put a ball in the wall."
The Giants had been criticized for stuffing the ballot, specifically in the case of Sandoval, who overcame a more than 400,000 vote deficit in the final week to overtake New York's David Wright..
Maybe the fans knew what they were doing?
The five runs were more than enough for starter Matt Cain, who allowed only a Derek Jeter single in his two scoreless innings to get the win.
And for good measure Cabrera belted a two-run home run in the fourth inning, as the NL cruised to the first shutout in All-Star Game history and the most lopsided victory in the 83 contests.
While Cabrera enjoyed his finest moment as a pro, his good buddy Cano, had the exact opposite experience in Kansas City these past few days..
Thanks to the ho-hum affair the actual All-Star Game turned out to be, these last few days here in Kansas City will be remembered for one thing: how the fans treated Cano.
The Yankees second baseman was unmercifully booed during Monday's Home Run Derby and that nonsense continued into the game on Tuesday. After the game, though, the story shed the fans in Kansas City in an even worse light, as Cano revealed that the jeers carried on to his family, who were heckled on their way to the bathrooms.
Stay classy Kansas City.
Detroit ace Justin Verlander had a night to forget. The AL starter was on the receiving end of the Giants' onslaught in the first. Perhaps a bit too amped up, Verlander touched 101 mph early on, but left after allowing five runs.
"Obviously, I don't want to give up runs," Verlander said after his outing. "I know it means something. But we're here for the fans. I know the fans don't want to see me throw 90 [mph] and try to hit the corners. So, just let it heat. Have fun.
"They like to see the 100-mph fastball. I gave them that."
I wouldn't feel too bad for him, though. Rumor is he's dating super model Kate Upton.
The two rookies who everyone wanted to see - Washington's Bryce Harper and the Angels' Mike Trout - left their marks on the game as well, Only one had a rougher go of it than the other.
Harper, the youngest position player to appear in an All-Star Game, lost a ball in the lights and was thrown out in a rundown between second and third, while Trout singled off of New York's R.A. Dickey and had two stolen bases.
"There's nothing you can do about it," Harper said. "It happens. I wasn't really bummed out or anything. It's probably going to happen 40 more times in my career, so whatever."
Sources tell me this won't be the last All-Star experience for either.
Well that's a wrap from Kansas City. See you next year at Citi Field, where I have a feeling Wright will get a chance to represent the NL in the Home Run Derby.
At the very least I bet he'll be asked to participate.