07/14/2004 2:24 AM ET
Teammates excited for Soriano
By Rush Olson / Texas Rangers
|Alfonso Soriano poses with the All-Star Game MVP trophy. (Ben Platt/MLB.com)
Soriano is the All-Star Game MVP: 56K | 350K
HOUSTON -- Hank Blalock got to know Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz a bit at the 75th All-Star Game. And both hit home runs against the National League.
But Blalock had his All-Star Most Valuable Player vote reserved for the third American Leaguer to homer, his Rangers teammate Alfonso Soriano. And Soriano's two-hit night did, in fact, win him the award, selected by a combination of media and fan voting.
"That was great," declared Blalock. "We were so proud of him, representing the Rangers and having a great game and winning the MVP. That's something else."
Soriano became the second Ranger (Julio Franco in 1990) to win the All-Star MVP. All smiles in his postgame press conference, he seemed grateful for his friends' congratulations, though not surprised.
"They are always nice to me," he said. "They are young and they are always with me, so they are close to me. I think they are happy, and Kenny, too, and everyone in the clubhouse."
Francisco Cordero did not get to pitch in the game due a high pitch count in Boston on Sunday. But Soriano's exploits had Cordero jubilant nonetheless, and apparently a touch envious.
"I'm jealous," said the Rangers closer as he joked with reporters. "He got the trophy. So now he's the MVP, but he's my teammate though."
Shortstop Michael Young got to play the fifth inning with his regular infield partner, and had a feeling Soriano would win.
"I think right when he got that second hit, I had a feeling that he was probably the front runner at the time. Towards the end of the game I knew when we were shaking hands, it had to have been Sori. I'm happy for him. He deserves it. He's a great guy and a great player, and he earned it."
Young, Soriano, and Blalock all stressed a need to put the All-Star euphoria behind them and get to the business of maintaining their place atop the AL West in the season's second half.
But for this night, the Rangers could afford the luxury of feeling on top of the world.
Rush Olson is creative director, media, for the Texas Rangers. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.