July 16, 2008

Best and Worst of MLB All-Star Game

Best Part of the All-Star Game: Getting to watch the game's best pitchers against the best hitters until the wee hours of the morning. The pitchers won easily this year, with only a couple exceptions.

Worst Part of the All-Star Game: Managing for the contingency of an extra-inning game. Managers are under pressure to get everyone in the game, and rightfully so. But when the game goes 15 innings, you just don't have enough pitchers on the roster. Obviously it's nice not to end in a tie, but there comes a point where you just run out of pitching. Making the game count did not fix this problem. You can't send some team's best starter out there for 5 innings in the All-Star Game, or in this case Cook for 3. (At least it was his own manager doing it.) And we would all feel robbed if they had a position player pitch, assuming there's even one left on the bench to do so. Another unfortunate aspect is that all the best players are already out of the game, so the fans aren't getting extra chances to see the players they voted for in extra innings.

Best Deja-Vu Moment: Michael Young getting another crucial, game-winning RBI in an All-Star Game off a top closer. And the AL winning again.

The Yankee fans were in pain with the struggles of their own.

Most Disappointing: The New York players. Captain Clutch did nothing with people on, grounding into a double play and leaving 2 on in his next AB, while A-Rod was 0-2 with a K. Rivera needed a well-turned DP to get out of the 10th. For the Mets, Wagner had the worst outing of any pitcher. So much for a big statement in the Yankee Stadium farewell. None of the Yankees even played the last 5 innings.

Most Embarrassing: The Marlins defense, specifically the middle infield of Ramirez and Uggla, posted 4 errors on grounders, two of them consecutively. One was on a bad hop, but the other three were just poor. 3 errors in an All-Star Game is not the record you want, especially with them all in extra innings. Only a magic show saved Uggla from being the goat. Interestingly, the AL error was also from a team in Florida.

Least Embarrassing: Nate McLouth gunning down Dioner Navarro at the plate to extend the game. Also, Russell Martin has some pretty sweet defensive skills.

Best Magic Act: Aaron Cook. Bases loaded with nobody out, and then 2 on with 1 out in consecutive innings. Runner on third with only one out in his third inning. 0 runs scored.

Most Deserving Player: Lots of people wrote off Miguel Tejada after the steroids stuff and the rumors about his age. He's been great for Houston this year, and he was great in this game. He made a great defensive play to bail out Uggla, and he generated a run to make it 3-2 with a hit and a steal. Tejada was 2-3 plus an intentional walk. I guess he's not as out of his prime as everyone thought. JD Drew gets some credit too, he did one or two things right.

Least Deserving Player: Billy Wagner showed why he did not deserve to play in this game, giving up an ER after coming into the game with no one on and 2 out, surrendering the one-run lead.

Francona's managing in this game was very considerate.

Most Classy Act: Terry Francona, manager of the most hated team of the fans in attendance, did a wonderful job of giving the fans every chance to applaud each and every Yankee. By making switches mid-inning, the fans could applaud each player individually, instead of just realizing they weren't out there any more. In addition, Francona spared everyone the pain of seeing Varitek hit. It was much appreciated. The only thing that went a little wrong was that pulling K-Rod for Rivera so quickly took away innings from his bullpen, innings that would have been nice to have later in the evening.

Least Classy Act: The Yankees fans booing Papelbon so lustily. And Joe Buck. Wonder where he wishes he could have been this time.

Best Commercial: Well, not exactly a commercial, but this is what I watched during the commercials: Best Damn Hooters Swimsuit Pageant. Of course I was only watching to hear them answer the questions on the world's problems.

Who needs cheerleaders when you can flip to this?

Worst Commercial: Honda Pilot wants to advertise it's "Ride Ready". I'm definitely going to buy a big SUV on the off chance that a hot-air balloon full of nudists (not hot females) need a ride. Right.

5 Responses:

brooke said...

Terry Francona said in the press conference that every one of "his" AL players were 'up on the step' and 'knew where they were' but it seemed as if A.Rod disappeared? Maybe he showered quickly, kissed his soul-mate, Madonna and got back to cheer his fellow all-star mates, I didn't see him anywhere, and hardly doubt he cares enough to stick around.

J-Red said...

Francona was totally out of options had the game gone another inning. With no one on the bench or in the bullpen, Francona was either going to have to pitch Kazmir further (against TB's wishes) or shuffle players around, leaving Kazmir to play a defensive position, forfeiting the DH, and having a position player pitch. I suspect Selig would have called the game before letting that happen.

Jeremy said...

This game illustrates to me that if an all-star game is to go extra innings, the rules for this one game should be amended to allow players who have already been subbed out the opportunity to be placed back in the game by the manager. What we saw was managers, who were doing their damndest to make sure everybody got in by removing their best players, penalized for doing this by being unable to use these best players with the game on the line. And for these managers like Francona, there actually is something tangible now that they are playing for. Why should he have to be forced to continue to sit Jeter and Hamilton and the like with the game on the line? Pitchers I understand. Mechanically and physically they probably can't pitch the first or second inning, then come back eight innings later and pitch again. But position players - maybe this is a rule worth looking into.

J-Red said...

I considered during the game a rule that would allow any subbed out position player to return as a pitcher (without batting). Running out of pitchers will always be the problem, not position players.

Paul said...

i was impressed with how francona took jete and arod out it was pretty classy. The Mariano entrance so quickly made perfect sense whether anyone likes it or not. he wanted to make sure Mo got into the game, if AL scored in bottom of the 9th he would of never saw any action. Remember even thou "it counts" this is for the fans, and the fans there wanted to see Mo.

And i LOVED the booing of papelbon, the same would of happened to Mo in the 8th inning if he gave up a run that gave the NL the lead, and would possibly keep the home town boy from getting a win or save. It's why it's the best rivalry in the game!

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