Canadian MLB All-Star Game notes: Thomson, Romano, Scheurwater, Bichette

July 12, 2023

By Kevin Glew

Cooperstowners in Canada

On Tuesday night, Rob Thomson (Corunna, Ont.) not only made history by becoming the first Canadian to manage in the MLB All-Star Game, but he also became the first Canuck skipper to lead his team to a win in the Midsummer Classic.

The 59-year-old Philadelphia Phillies dugout boss guided the National League to a 3-2 victory over the American League at T-Mobile Park in Seattle.

It was the National League’s first All-Star Game win since 2012.

During the contest, Thomson made six defensive substitutions, including inserting Phillies outfielder Nick Castellanos in centre field for the first time in his career. Thomson knew the NL squad was short on centre fielders, so he had discussed this possibility with Castellanos in advance.

Thomson also employed eight pitchers in the contest and called on his Phillies closer Craig Kimbrell to get the final three outs.

Longtime Phillies communications executive Larry Shenk pointed out on Twitter that with the Thomson’s win, Phillies managers are now 7-1 when leading National League squads in All-Star games.

Romano exits with back tightness

Toronto Blue Jays closer Jordan Romano (Markham, Ont.) entered the game in the seventh inning and retired Dodgers catcher Will Smith on a fly out before American League manager Dusty Baker removed him due to lower back tightness.

Romano told reporters that he felt his back tighten up on him on his last pitch in the bullpen.

“I want to get in there,” Romano told Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi after the game. “I thought it would loosen up a little bit, but it just didn’t.”

Romano has been in touch with the Blue Jays medical staff and will have his back assessed upon his return to Toronto.

Scheurwater umps first All-Star Game

Canadian Stu Scheurwater (Regina, Sask.) umpired third base in last night’s Midsummer Classic. It was the first time that Scheurwater has worked the All-Star Game. Scheurwater, 40, umpired his first big league contest on April 25, 2014 and had 253 games of major league experience under his belt before he was hired full-time in 2018. He had since umpired in two MLB post-seasons (2020, 2022).

Prior to his pro career, Scheurwater honed his skills through Baseball Canada’s national umpiring program.

Scheurwater’s All-Star Game assignment marked the first time in 30 years that a Canadian has umpired in the contest. Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Jim McKean (Montreal, Que.) called balls and strikes in the 1993 Midsummer Classic that the American League won 9-3 at Camden Yards in Baltimore. McKean also umpired in the 1982 and 1983 All-Star games.

Bichette records RBI

Blue Jays shortstop Bo Bichette had an RBI sacrifice fly in the sixth inning for the American League. According to TSN Stats, that made Bichette the ninth Blue Jay to record an RBI in the All-Star Game (See list below).

Like father, like son

Left-hander Connor O’Halloran (Mississauga, Ont.) was selected in the fifth round of the MLB draft by the Blue Jays on Monday. The Ontario Terriers and Junior National Team alum starred for the University of Michigan Wolverines this spring, finishing 8-6 in 17 games (15 starts). He struck out 110 batters in 103 innings and was named Big 10 Pitcher of the Year.

Thirty-five years earlier, the Blue Jays selected his father, Greg, a catcher out of Orange Coast College in the 32nd round. The elder O’Halloran would play five seasons in the Blue Jays’ organization before suiting up for 12 major league games with the Florida Marlins in 1994.    

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