BALTIMORE -- From now until the time he leaves the Baltimore Orioles, Manny Machado will be the center of attention. With just three weeks until the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, the chatter around the Orioles' shortstop has become louder and louder.
Before the first game of a July 9 doubleheader against the New York Yankees, Machado was surrounded by local media who wanted to talk about his election as the American League's starting shortstop for the July 17 All-Star Game. They also wanted to talk about Machado's feelings about trade rumors, seemingly increasing by the hour.
Machado was 1-for-7 during the doubleheader, which the Orioles split. They won the first game, 5-4, and lost the second game, 10-2.
"Everywhere I see, it's just Manny, Manny, Manny," Machado said. "It gets kind of a little distracting at times. Once I come in here and step in this clubhouse, I'm trying to be myself and have fun. That's the only things that keeps me going. I love this game so much, and I'm going to go out there every day and put on a show and do the best I can."
Last week, Machado faced a barrage of questions in Philadelphia, one of many rumored destinations. On July 16, provided he isn't traded before then, Machado will face the national media in Washington, D.C., for All-Star media day and hear question after question about his next destination.
"Same way I have to deal with it every day," Machado said about next week.
"I've had to deal with it all year. It's been non-stop every city we go to with reporters asking questions. I've answered all the questions I've needed to answer. Obviously, there are going to be some more questions coming out there at that time. I'm sure quite a few teams are going to want to ask questions about it.
"Those are just things I'm going to have to deal with when it comes, just try to enjoy the moment when I get there. It's about enjoying it with your family, enjoying it with your friends and the people that have gotten you to that position. Just enjoy it as much as I can. I'm the starting shortstop, and I've worked hard to get to this position. I'm very grateful and humbled at the same time."
"If you want to talk me about something, then talk to me about the game," Machado said. "Talk to me about something useful, not about rumors. I ain't here to talk about rumors."
Manager Buck Showalter praised Machado for how he's handled everything.
"He actually thrives on it," Showalter said. "If you look at all the things that have brought attention on him, very few self-inflicted -- some fake drama, throw at people and all the other stuff that, you go through it with the road media and all the different things -- if you look at his response to all of it, it's been very much like this first half-plus of the season."
Machado is beginning to sound wistful about his time with the Orioles.
"This organization has given me everything," he said. "I got drafted here, and it's just been home for the last seven years. It's been truly an amazing journey here. Everyone in here is part of my family. They're brothers to me. We'll always be in contact. If anything ever happens, I'll always have their back because we've got through some good times and some bad times. It's just made us better and gotten us closer together. This organization means a lot. I'm grateful for the opportunity."
Notes: Machado said he would not participate in the July 16 Home Run Derby preceding the All-Star Game.
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