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Detroit – Here’s the thing about baseball: It doesn’t always make a lot of sense.

The Tigers, for instance, entered the All-Star break as the second-worst team in the league. Their representative at said All-Star game? Closer Shane Greene, whose main job is to preserve ninth-inning leads.

But here’s the other thing about baseball: It might be weird, but that’s also what makes it a heck of a lot of fun — it is a game, after all — and this week’s All-Star Game festivities are generally the MLB’s best effort to market that year in and year out.

Come tonight, countless smiles will frame the Midsummer Classic at Progressive Field in Cleveland. While he’d probably never say it so directly, for the 30-year-old Greene, withdrawing from the doldrums of a spiraling 28-57 clubhouse to spend a few days around MLB’s brightest and best would be a welcome escape for anyone in the midst of a career year.

His 1.09 ERA is best among all major-league pitchers with 20 innings or more. In April, he became the first pitcher in major-league history to make seven saves in the first 10 games of a season. He’s posted or matched career numbers in WHIP, as well as hits, home runs, and walks per nine innings. He has 22 saves on the season.

All of that has earned him the temporary right to be a kid again at a time where he’s continually counted on be the adult in the room.

“It’s going to be exciting to watch those guys go out there and do their thing,” Greene said about Monday’s Home Run Derby. “Grew up watching the Home Run Derby, obviously with Ken Griffey (Jr.) with the backwards hat and all that, so it’s going to be fun.”

With Christian Yelich, whose 31 home runs lead the majors, withdrawing from the field of eight because of a back issue, this year’s derby didn’t feature quite as many big names as the ones from when Greene was in little league. It was to feature a name that has potential to come close, though.

“I’m excited to watch Vlad (Guerror Jr.),” Greene said. “Haven’t seen him play yet. He’s got a lot of hype to his name, and we’ll see if he lives up to it.”

Typically, players will use the four-day All-Star break, their only summer vacation of the year, as the chance to withdraw from the game with friends and family. Greene will still get to do that, too — he’ll just have to hit the turnpike first.

“My parents, my sister, all my best friends that I grew up with,” Greene said, counting the 17 tickets he reserved for Tuesday’s game. “Some of their parents, family, friends. A lot of people. It works out well. I can take my dog with me.”

With the July 31 trade deadline quickly approaching, Greene’s life isn’t going to settle down any time soon. He’ll be a hot item for contending teams looking to add that final bullpen piece, and the Tigers are the definition of a seller’s market.

Until at least Wednesday morning, though, he’ll be in Cleveland, remembering everything that made him fall in love with this weird and crazy game in the first place.

Nolan Bianchi is a freelance writer.

Decade of stars

Tigers All-Stars the last 10 years:

2019

Shane Greene, RP

2018

Joe Jimenez, RP

2017

Michael Fulmer, SP

Justin Upton, OF

2016

Miguel Cabrera, 1B

2015

Miguel Cabrera, 1B

Jose Iglesias, SS

J.D. Martinez, OF

David Price, SP

2014

Miguel Cabrera, 1B

Ian Kinsler, 2B

Victor Martinez, DH

Max Scherzer, SP

2013

Max Scherzer, SP

Miguel Cabrera, 3B

Prince Fielder, 1B

Torii Hunter, OF

Jhonny Peralta, SS

Justin Verlander, SP

2012

Justin Verlander, SP

Prince Fielder, 1B

Miguel Cabrera, 3B

2011

Alex Avila, C

Miguel Cabrera, 1B

Jhonny Peralta, SS

Jose Valverde, RP

Justin Verlander, SP

2010

Miguel Cabrera, 1B

Jose Valverde, RP

Justin Verlander, SP

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