Seattle native Corbin Carroll soaks in hometown MLB All-Star debut

Jul 11, 2023, 12:12 PM

Corbin Carroll...

Corbin Carroll of the Arizona Diamondbacks speaks at T-Mobile Park on July 10, 2023. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

SEATTLE (AP) — Growing up in Seattle, Corbin Carroll dreamed of someday playing baseball at T-Mobile Park.

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On Tuesday, the Arizona Diamondbacks’ breakout rookie will see his dream come true when he takes the field as the starting left fielder and No. 8 hitter for the National League in the All-Star Game.

Carroll grew up a passionate Mariners fan and idolized mid-2000’s Seattle superstars like Ichiro Suzuki and Félix Hernández. Now, it’s Carroll’s turn to be the star, and he knows that experiences like this don’t come around very often.

Not only is it Carroll’s first All-Star appearance, it will be the first time he’s ever played at his hometown ballpark. His high school team fell one game short of getting to play there in the state baseball tournament.

“I think this is just all about soaking it in and enjoying it,” Carroll said. “Game time for me, and in-season, I’m pretty focused and locked in, but I think (Tuesday), I’m not really going to try to be that way. I’m just going to try to enjoy it, chat with as many of these great players as possible and just soak it all in.”

Carroll became a prep star at Seattle’s Lakeside School — better known as school attended by Microsoft co-founders Bill Gates and Paul Allen, and former “Batman” actor Adam West. But the school has never graduated an athlete of Carroll’s caliber.

After Carroll capped off his standout prep career with a .540 batting average and a 1.859 OPS as a senior, the Diamondbacks took him with the 16th pick in the 2019 amateur. He rocketed through the minor leagues, and is a current favorite to win National League Rookie of the Year.

He’s the first rookie to have 15 home runs and 25 stolen bases before the All-Star break.

“I think he’s the MVP so far for us,” Diamondbacks All-Star shortstop Geraldo Perdomo said. “He’s been amazing. He’s been running the bases crazy, he hits for power, average, he can do a lot. He’s meant a lot to us.”

Carroll currently has a team-high 18 homers and 26 stolen bases, along with a .289 batting average, a .366 on-base percentage, and a slugging percentage of .549 to lead the upstart Diamondbacks, who are currently tied with the Dodgers atop the NL West standings.

“He just kind of does everything, from what I can tell,” Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw said. “So, when you’re that fast, you can play great defense, and when you get hit over the fence, too, it’s a tough combo. So yeah, he’s a good one.”

As the hometown kid, Carroll will be one of the centerpiece players at Tuesday’s game, but he probably would’ve been at the ballpark even if he hadn’t made the squad. His original plan for the week was to come home and hang out with his family for a few days.

“I already had a flight here, because I was planning on just coming back regardless,” Carroll said. “If I wasn’t in the game, I probably would still have been here as a fan just enjoying seeing baseball like this in Seattle.”

At 22 years old, Carroll is too young to remember the 2001 All-Star Game in Seattle, where eight Mariners were named to the squad. But he’s eager to make some new memories for himself, his family and the fans at the place where he first learned to love the game.

Last weekend, Carroll’s mother Pey-Lin Carroll tweeted a photo of Carroll as a toddler outside the left field gate at T-Mobile Park, at the same spot where his All-Star banner now hangs.

“My description of that is just that it’s a very full circle moment,” Carroll said. “Definitely a wild moment. That poster was Jamie Moyer when I was a little kid sitting there, and just to be up there for this week is very special.”

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