Post-Steroid Era All-Star Game is longest ever, as N.L. makes it hard on A.L., but fails to leave happy for 12th straight time, in 15-inning New York Yankathon
Please don’t confuse Chase Utley with Dan Uggla.
Chase Utley is the Bruin/Phillie/Top Vote-Getter in the NL, who got a hit in three at bats in the National League’s 4-3 loss, at Tuesday Night’s All-Star Game in Yankee Stadium. Mark Uggla is the Florida Marlin 2nd Baseman who replaced Utley and proceeded to set an All-Time All-Star Game Record with THREE ERRORS, including two in a row.
Not only that, but Uggla also failed at the plate, repeatedly, with chances to end the marathon. Luckily for Uggla, his errors did not directly contribute to the loss. In the inning when he booted two in a row, the NL escaped the bases-loaded, no outs jam unscathed.
But after that, sympathetic viewers around the Country were screaming at the A.L. batters: “Please don’t hit it to Uggla!” It was bad enough to see him instantly become a household name for screwing up — You just didn’t want him to be the Game’s actual Goat on top of it.
But there wasn’t really a Goat, and there wasn’t really a true hero. Ex-Dodger J.D. Drew won the MVP, after going 2-4 with a 2-run Home Run that tied the game at 2. Drew was up in the fateful 15th, and Walked. That helped set up Michael Young, whose Sacrifice Fly just BARELY scored Justin Morneau with the game-winning run. He was safe by inches, and the Ump got it right.
On THAT subject, the game might have ended in the 11th, if it weren’t for an “Out” call at home, when a Young single led to a throw to Home that Dodger Catcher Russell Martin grabbed deftly, and then went to apply the tag. Slo-mo HD replays make it look like the runner slid under the tag, but Martin got the call. Martin got several mentions for his Defensive play, as did several others besides Uggla. The Pitching and Defense outshined the Hitting, which is really the way it should be when the cork — and the Mark McGwire-clones — are back in the bottle.
Don’t get the wrong idea — Offensive fireworks are preferable to Pitchers’ Deuls, the DH Rule is cool, and Soccer is for Soccer Moms (unless Nomar’s wife’s teammate is taking her top off) — But the Best Pitchers in the Game, pitching short, non-tiring stints, should be able to contain the opposing bats, especially when those batters haven’t faced these Pitchers very much during the season. Not to mention that you’ve got lock-down Closers pitching in innings other than the ninth.
So 4-3 is fine, and 15 innings is fine, because 3-3 is NOT fine. There is no TYING in Baseball. After the last tie, they decided to make the All-Star Game matter for something real. So now, the winner gets Home Field Advantage for the World Series. This is a fantastic idea, and makes the game much, much more watchable. Maybe if your team is already out of it, then you wouldn’t care, but the Angels are “in it” more than any other team, with a 6-game lead over Oakland, and the Dodgers, even though they are a .500 team, are right in the thick of things too.
Just ask the Lakers: Home field (Court) Advantage in the big Series is HUGE. Even though the Angels are the League’s best Road team, they much prefer to play Game 7 in Anaheim, like when John Lackey and others clinched the 2002 Title in Game 7 against the Giants. And now, thanks to J.D. Drew of the Bosox, who, like all the Red Sox, got BOOED by the Yankee Fans, the Angels will have that opportunity… provided they could ever get by Boston. There’s a preview of that match-up in Anaheim this weekend, as the Red Sox are coming to town.
As far as the Angels in the All-Star Game, all three got in to Pitch. DUH — EVERYONE PLAYED — it was FIFTEEN innings. Joe Saunders retired the side fairly easily, Ervin Santana gave up the game’s 1st run, on Matt Holliday’s solo Home Run, but then looked good mowing down the next three batters, and Francisco Rodriguez Walked the lead-off man in the 9th, got the next guy on a Fly Out, and was pulled for Mariano Rivera, who induced a double-play.
It’s admirable that the Managers try to play everyone. Some Angels fans are still livid — 20ish years later (especially the psychotic ones) — over Wally Joyner not getting in one year. However — because they want to play everyone, they need a NEW RULE for extra-inning games. In All-Star Games only, Managers should be allowed to put Pitchers BACK into the Game. Last night, they were looking at a scenario where a non-Pitcher was going to have to take the Mound. That would make the game a travesty. No one with respect for the Game wants to see a Shortsop on the Rubber in an All-Star Game.
One option for the future is not to accept on to the team guys who just Pitched on Sunday, or guys with Pitch Limitations due to an impending start. But that’s not right. They shouldn’t exclude a Player from a milestone event just because his first priority is the health and success of his TEAM. So they should just add a simple provision, that if the Bullpen is empty, and the game goes past 12 innings, they can re-insert one or more of the Pitchers who were in earlier, but probably who each just threw for an inning or two.
The game lasted a Record 4 hours and 50 minutes, and that doesn’t count the hour-long pre-game festivities, which were actually pretty cool themselves, especially if you remember Bob Feller, Whitey Ford, Yogi Berra, Willie McCovey, and the like, as they assembled more Hall of Famers than ever before. Mark McGwire* was not invited.
[Unless there was a late replacement…:] As far as the actual Game,the only trojan there was the guy wearing a #58 trojan football jersey in the front row of the stands. And yes, of course he was acting up, carrying on at inappropriate times, mugging for the TV cameras, and inconsiderately and unnecessarily blocking the view of the obviously-annoyed fans seated behind him.
The No Tie Rule is a MUST, even though the National League hasn’t won since that rule was adopted. The A.L. Streak is actually 11-0-1, but that can’t go on forever. Even when a team is better than its opponent, it doesn’t win 12 straight. The better team usually takes 2 of 3, or 3 of 4 in a typical series. There is nothing wrong with National League All-Stars, except this apparent Black Magic Voodoo Curse that makes them keep losing. And to prove that streaks are made to be broken, after about 10 previous All-Star Games that went into extra stanzas, this was the FIRST TIME EVER that the A.L. won.
In honor of it being the All-Star Game, here are a few more All-Star Classics from the BeatSC.com UCLA Spirit Vault, interspersed with a coupla Frankie shots, since K-Rod has a MLB-Record 38 Saves at the All-Star Break, on his way to breaking the All-Time full-SEASON Record of 57 by Bobby Thigpen. He has already helped the Angels to 56 Wins, which is THEIR most ever at the Break. Rodriguez is awesome, and no doubt, the Best in the Game, but it’s not all good — Yesterday, he took advantage of the All-Star media opportunity to announce that he will seek Free Agency this year, since he’s mad at the Angels for not already making him a robust offer.
This is why it’s hard NOWADAY for a lot of you to be loyal to PRO Teams — Players themselves show no loyalty, and don’t mind showing up an Owner in the middle of a Record-Setting Season. Hopefully, his immense talent will trump his potentially-negative effect on Team Chemistry.
And don’t get me started about his dramatic two-handed Jesus Gestures at the end of every win. This week, the Oakland A’s complained about them too. Not about the Religious aspect, but about the need to just tone it down in general.
Apparently, Frankie has never heard the one about “act like you’ve been there before.”
It’s a New Age, of Cell Phone/Sharpie Touchdown Dance Celebrations, and getting on Sportscenter, so perhaps it’s Old-fashioned to complain when Frankie practically drops to his knees and starts screaming at the Heavens… in April…against the Royals…
Taking a cue from the late, great George Carlin, maybe it wouldn’t be so bad if he “blamed” Jesus when he BLEW a SAVE. Instead of two hands, just use one finger, straight up. Or maybe blame Satan, and stomp around on the ground yelling something about El Diablo.
Really — It’s NOT about the Religion, or the Spanish, any more than yesterday was about mental retardation — It’s about winning with CLASS, and not rubbing your opponent’s face in it. That kind of reaction should be reserved for when you break your Rival’s 7-game streak against you, or you clinch the Playoffs, at least. Pretty soon, even the Bruins will be pointing up to the sky in a mock-religious stupor of ecstacy after every g-d tackle, every run, and every TV Timeout. Enough already — Save it for Church. God and Jesus not watching the riveting Oregon State/UCLA game, or the Anaheim Baseball game — even if they ARE called the “ANGELS.”