On the 2014 Baseball All-Star Game

Once again, in the voting before the game, we have seen the eternal conflict between fans who want the absolute best players at each position (based on some unspecified criteria) selected to start and the fans who think it should be the players that fans in general want to see (i.e. the most popular). In most cases, the two are the same. People usually want to see the best players. The discussion gets most wordy when it comes to the reserves and bench players. Who has been snubbed? Who doesn’t really deserve to be there? Why must each team have a representative? Meanwhile, they overlook the fact that a lot of these reserves aren’t going to get into the game until the late innings, might never come to bat, and probably won’t even be mentioned in the broadcast unless and until they are involved in a play. So it doesn’t really matter that much – at least not to the level of debate on the matter.

It’s time for the Deification of Derek Jeter this year. Just like they did with Mariano Rivera last year. At least Jeter is rather more deserving of it. But I’m still getting sick of it. How about a little attention to the current crop of young stars who are the beginning of a great career? Like the Pirates’ Andrew McCutchen, who led off by just beating out a throw for an infield single, went to second on a wild pitch, and then stole third. Or Mike Trout (double, triple, game MVP).

Those special All-Star caps? Ugly, for the most part.

Would it kill them to show the Ceremonial First Pitch as it happens?

That little six note jingle-thing (naa na naaah, nuh nuh NAAAH!) that FOX uses gets really annoying after a while.

Ken Rosenthal is short. When interviewing people in the dugout, they should probably have him stand on a step while his interviewee is on the floor – if only because it would look better on screen.

I read all over that the ratings for the game have been steadily declining. Would it have to do with the fact that all the superstar players are usually gone after the first few innings, which tends to make the game rather anticlimactic? Especially when in the late innings, you’ve got relief specialist after relief specialist entering the game to face mid-level stars. The outcome of the game is pretty much decided after the fifth inning. I know that there’s the desire to get as many players into the game as possible, but somehow that feels counterproductive when you want to get as many viewers as possible.

So, *that’s* Jose Altuve! Finally, I get to see one of the best players around! When you don’t have cable TV (Surprise! Not everyone does!) and rely on network broadcasts to watch games, you aren’t going to get to see every team over the course of a season. You are at the mercy of whatever FOX decides you should see. And even if you do have basic cable, you’re still stuck with what the networks decide to have as their primary game. Small market team near the bottom of the standings? If you’re lucky, you’ll see something on the highlight show. But that’s it.

A tip of the hat to AL manager John Farrell for letting the home team Twins’ only representatives on the roster – pitcher Glenn Perkins and catcher Kurt Suzuki get into the game to close it out in the ninth inning.

So, Adam Wainright “grooved” one to Derek Jeter in the first inning? Maybe he did, maybe he didn’t. So what. Jeter’s still got to hit it – and given his stats so far this year, that’s not likely – and even if he does hit it, there are plenty of talented defenders out there trying to stop him from getting on base. Even at his best, Jeter was more often than not going to make an out. Just like every other MLB player ever….

And he did no worse than Justin Verlander in 2012, who gave up five runs in the first inning. I recall Verlander saying that he believed that fans wanted to see him light up the radar gun, so instead of building up to 100+ mph fastballs like he usually did, he threw as hard as he possibly could right from the start. The resulting wildness led to two walks in the inning, both of which turned into runs.

The game itself was better than average. Plenty of hits (15 altogether), smart baserunning, cracking-good defense (only one error, and that was on a very tough play), and decent pitching (22 strikeouts against two walks total). A very nice exhibition of what baseball can be.

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