Sunday, November 27

Julio Rodriguez and Jeremy Pena

SEATTLE — The man who overtook Major League Baseball’s Midsummer Classic is no stranger to Jeremy Peña. Most of the country is asleep while Julio Rodríguez plays in the Pacific Northwest.

On Monday and Tuesday, in prime time on a national stage, the rest of the baseball world bore witness to what Peña’s seen since playing alongside Rodríguez on the same Arizona Fall League team in 2019.

“He put on a show,” Peña said prior to the team’s series-opener against Rodríguez’s Mariners. “We were watching him put on a show. He’s a good player, man, I’m so happy for him. I was hyped.”

The Mariners center fielder is one of the sport’s next superstars — an energetic, engaging presence thrusting Seattle into prime playoff position. Rodríguez’s dazzling display during the Home Run Derby morphed him into a household name, even if he finished as runner-up to Juan Soto.

Rodriguez wore a microphone during the All-Star Game the next night and concocted a viral moment with Chicago White Sox closer Liam Hendriks. Hendriks wanted a keepsake from his appearance of him during the seventh inning, but Rodríguez faked as if he’d thrown the baseball into the stands. The 21-year-old flashed a wry smile before showing Hendriks he had not.

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