Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The All-Star game

With one notable exception, the 2013 Major League All-Star game could be summed up in one word. Boring. And that exception had nothing to do with anything that happened on the field of play. I'll get back to that.

Yes, there are those that like "pitchers' duels", aka low scoring contests, but c'mon. This was the All-Star game. I dare say most baseball fans would prefer to see a little bit of everything -- especially the hitters showing off their prowess. We want to see balls rocketing all over the park, hit-and run plays, homers, etc. Besides, no pitcher will be in the game for more than two innings anyway. It's not like there's a possibility of a guy racking up a no-hitter. Yeah, sometimes it just is what it is. The pitchers on one or both sides will dominate the opposing batters -- but I still think it's boring when that happens. Give me a 12-11 All-Star game anyday.

Looking beyond the game action itself -- some things seemed strange. When longtime NY Yankees closer Mariano Rivera took the the mound in the eighth inning, both teams stayed off the field for a few moments in a tribute to his accomplishments. Rivera appeared not to know what was going on. True, Rivera has had a long and distinguished career, this season marks his "swan song", farewell tour, whatever, and he'll be a shoo-in to the Hall of Fame in 5 years when he becomes eligible. And good for him. But in an obviously choreographed ploy by the powers that be in MLB, clearing the field for his grand entrance seemed a bit over the top. After all, he's still only a baseball relief pitcher. This was not exactly the second coming of the Messiah.

[Idle thought. Rivera will be the last MLB player to ever wear #42. Due to the King's (see Bud Selig) mandate back in 1997, in honor of Jackie Robinson, who had broken the "color" barrier in MLB fifty years previously, all teams were forced to retire that number. But it wasn't retroactive to the players that were wearing it at the time -- like Rivera. Yes, this is the same bumbling billionaire king who's job has long been to represent 30-some other billionaire owners, but can't seem to figure out how to comb his own hair, let alone make prudent baseball decisions. For that matter, why should other teams that competed against Robinson and his then Brooklyn Dodgers, let alone American League teams whose parks Robinson never even set foot in be forced to retire his number?]

And note where this All-Star game was played. In the Big Apple, arguably the largest and most lucrative sports market in the world. In the NY Mets' relatively shiny new stadium, replete with all the fancy goodies that go along with such architectural wonders that might have made even the ancient Romans, Egyptians, and Greeks sit up and take notice.

Throw in all the media hype for the last few weeks leading up to this game, and yours truly has a question.

Why were there so many empty seats?

Which brings me back to the highlight of the game. During the course of an at-bat, Detroit Tigers' slugger Miguel Cabrera accomplished an astounding feat. No, it wasn't the double he hit into right-center field. That sort of thing is commonplace. What was extraordinary was, during a "mighty Casey at the bat" swing, Cabrera somehow found a way to not only lose his grip on the bat, but somehow managed to sling it 20-some rows deep into the stands.

Luckily, instead of causing great bodily harm to any of the "too many dollars and not enough sense" folks that had ponied up All-Star ticket prices in the first place, it landed amongst the above-mentioned empty seats, and some kid eventually retrieved it.

Now he's got a souvenir he can brag to his buddies about.

At least one person found the game exciting.

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