For a while there it looked like the National League might actually win the All-Star Game last night in Pittsburgh. They led most of the way, 2-1, until two outs in the ninth when the AL put together three consecutive hits, which finished with Michael Young's tripling in two runs off Trevor Hoffman. Young was voted the game's MVP. The last time the game was won by the NL was 1996.
David Wright hit a homer for the NL and Carlos Beltran scored on a wild pitch by Roy Halladay, and it looked like that would hold up. The AL's run was on a homer by Vladimir Guerrero. It was a very well pitched game, and Beltran looked like he'd be MVP. So now the AL gets the home-field advantage in the World Series.
A few odds and ends about this All-Star Game:
Manny Ramirez missed the All-Star Game. To Bud Selig and everyone else who made such a big deal over his absence: get over it.
I know that the Home Run Derby and other festivities are for the fans enjoyment, and that's fine. But I'm not a huge fan of HRD. (I've always just been a fan of the actual game.) ESPN has to shove it down our throats night and day before it happens, and then during the actual event, they insist on putting loudmouth/showoff Chris Berman on to call it. I can do without him calling ANY sporting event. His mistakes, plus those inane "nicknames"he makes up, are a total and complete turn off for me. One media critic once called him a "a national treasure." Fine, can we bury him some place then?
I thought it was fine that MLB honored Roberto Clemente in the town where he made his name and gave his widow an award. Nicely done (and it brought Ozzie Guillen to tears). I don't want to sound insensitive, but all that can be done BEFORE the game starts. I'm not in favor of interrupting baseball games in the middle (the ceremony was held before the bottom of the fifth), unless some great event has occurred DURING the game. Examples include Hank Aaron's 715th home run, Cal Ripken's breaking Lou Gehrig's consecutive game streak, and Mark McGwire's 62nd home run. They all stopped games to honor them, and that's fine.
But Fox insists on starting the All-Star Game late (first pitch last night was thrown at 8:44 ET), so having mid-game ceremonies just makes games longer. (Last night was an exception as it was a rare fast-moving game.) One year I remember the game ending close to midnight, and it was a nine-inning game. I don't understand why the pregame ceremonies can't begin at 7:30, and the first pitch thrown by 8 PM. (Yeah, yeah, I know. West Coast.) And the bigwigs wonder why the ratings are in the toilet. Starting games earlier just might get more people watching, no?
Did any of you catch the first word out of Tim McCarver's mouth when Bronson Arroyo came in to pitch for the NL in the fifth?
Well, I guess some things never change. You may recall he kept calling Arroyo "Brandon" during the 2004 ALCS. He also goofed in the ninth as well. He said that Troy Glaus' ground rule double with a man on first was a break for "the AL." I'd like that explained to me. Ol' Timmy didn't even bother to correct himself after that goof.
Did you also see Joe Buck after he got the mic after the award ceremonies on the field ended in the fifth? He yelled to the crowd, "Are you having a good time?" Very lame, and he came off sounding like a carnival barker.
And this morning I read that MLB has extended their contract with Fox through the 2013. So these boys aren't going away any time soon. But TBS has acquired the rights to Sunday Night Baseball, and that will start next year. That is good news (or is it?) to the boys at the Fire Joe Morgan blog site. Makes me wonder if Joe will pull up stakes and head over to TBS. Stay tuned.