On the 2019 All Star Game

Just a few random notes – in no particular order – about this year’s All-Star Game.

Determining that one league dominates the other based on one single game – where the managers seem to place more importance on getting every player in the game instead of, you know, winning – is ludicrous. Especially in an era when players switch leagues so easily. Aside from the significant role of chance in any individual contest, taking that logic to its extreme means that Don Larsen is the greatest pitcher of all time. And how can you say one team “dominated” the other when the final score was 4-3?

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On the 2018 All Star Game

Well, another “Midsummer Classic” has come and gone, and will be forgotten in due time.

Much of what I said last year still holds. FOX using their robot football guy to introduce a baseball game, not showing the names of the players as they are being introduced….

I hope the people at the game got more information about the Medal of Honor recipients than we did. The announcers could have at least sent us to a website to learn more.

Anyway, while there are official regulations governing who is eligible for the award (they were finally put in writing in the early 60s), there are some unwritten, unofficial requirements:

* There must be at least two eyewitnesses to the incident. Got to have proof.
* You must put your life in danger. Fair enough.
* It must be something that if you didn’t do it, no one could blame you.

Go check out the official citations of the honorees, and hope that if you do find yourself in such a dangerous situation, you behave with even a fraction of their courage.

The game itself? A perfect example of baseball these days. Homeruns, strikeouts, and practically nothing else.

Total plate appearances: 90
Total home runs: 10
Total strikeouts: 25
Total walks: 9

Half the plate appearances didn’t need a fielder to do anything.

I get it’s an exhibition, so the pitchers are all throwing flames and the batters are all swinging for the seats. But good heavens, it’s dull viewing. Major League Baseball really needs to make some changes in the off season.

By the way, Nationals Stadium did have its traditional President’s Race in the middle of the fourth inning. This time, Theodore Roosevelt jumped out to an early lead, but was blindsided by a flying rabbit. George Washington dashed past the ensuing pile-up and won handily.

They had a couple of players hooked up with microphones for in-game conversations again. Mike Trout and Bryce Harper were rather dull (except for Trout’s in-game weather commentary). Thankfully, Francisco Lindor and Charlie “I check my hole for gloves” Blackmon made up for it. If they do it again, get talkative and fun players like those guys.

Speaking of weather, MLB must have contingency plans in case there’s a rain delay or a rainout. Right?

By the way, what’s the deal with those wild socks that some players were wearing? And do enough people (other than collectors) buy those silly special All Star Game caps to justify making them?

All Star Week

Next week is when baseball’s annual All Star Game is played. Major League Baseball tries to make a week-long festival out of it, but for some reason they schedule the game itself on Tuesday night, which means all the pre-game stuff gets compressed into two days, while there are two days after the game when there’s absolutely nothing going on.

That seems rather inefficient to me. I know the players want and deserve a couple of days off, but there should be a better way to do it.

Like moving the All Star Game to Wednesday.

Here’s what that would allow:

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Notes on the 2017 All-Star Game

So, FOX Sports is still using that football robot thing to lead in to a baseball game?

Is it just me, or does Alex Rodriguez sound like he’s reading off a teleprompter during the interview segments?

Nice segment honoring Latin Hall of Fame players. I wonder what an All-Time Latino Team would look like.

Anyone see Mike Trout? I know he’s rehabbing from a thumb injury, but he’s been playing rehab games, is the only representative of his team at the ASG, and was voted to start by the fans. He could have at least showed up in uniform….

Hey, FOX! How about showing the names of the reserves and coaching staff as they are being introduced? It would be a nice courtesy to the fans who haven’t seen these players before (and closed captioning is on too long a delay).

How about announcing the full umpiring crew? Pretty much every broadcast (TV *and* radio) takes a minute to run down the umpires for the game….

Finally gotten rid of that stupid “winning league in the ASG gets home-field advantage in the World Series” thing. I understand why it was felt to be necessary, but it’s should have been retired years ago.

Nice touch to have the gold stars with the number of ASG selections on the sleeves of the players. Did you notice that they were all single digits? Robinson Cano and Yadier Molina led the players with eight each (and given their ages, they’re not going to get many more). Looks like Henry Aaron’s record of 25 ASGs is safe (and not just because they don’t have two ASGs in a year anymore). I’m not sure what it says that we have no veteran players still playing well enough to be an All-Star. You have to wonder if all these young players will still be performing at anywhere near the same level in five years…. And how many of today’s players are “locks” on being chosen for the Hall of Fame?

The “in game” chats were kind of neat, but they will get tired very, very fast. Lucky for everyone that nothing was hit to a player while they were being interviewed….

Were the managers allowed to use the Replay Challenge? There wasn’t anything close enough for one, so we didn’t find out.

I wonder if Nelson Cruz is going to get reprimanded for the photo….

A nicely played, crisp, quick game. And not just because there was little offense. Pitchers were ready to pitch, hitters were ready to hit… And no visits to the mound or mid-inning pitching changes. Do you think Commissioner Manfred was paying attention?

Is it “All-Star” or “All Star”?

It was fun, wasn’t it?

Who Actually IS an All-Star?

Well, the voting has ended, and the teams have been announced – the starters as selected by fan voting, and the remaining rosters as selected by the Commissioner’s Office (taking into account fan voting, the need to have at least one representative from each team, and the need to have a balanced roster). To my dismay, I find that I got the number of players on each team wrong. It’s 32, not 35. That’ll show me….

Anyway, one can see the full rosters in many places. These are all listed by position. But what if they were listed by team? What would they look like? Let’s compare them with my selections, and see how off I was. You will also note that there are only 31 chosen players for each team here. The last spot is chosen in one final round of fan voting. We shall see…..

Don’t forget. The actual rosters are subject to change due to players being injured. Mike Trout will still be rehabbing by the time the game comes around; his starting spot has been given to Boston’s Mookie Betts.

NOTE: Italics indicate the starters as chosen by the fans.

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Who Wants to be an All-Star?

It’s been a fun and exciting first half of the season. Teams expected to be average (Rockies) are suddenly amazing; teams expected to do well are, well…. (Giants). Some players are maintaining their usual level of awesomeness (Mike Trout, Clayton Kershaw), others have come out of nowhere (Aaron Judge).

With all that, there’s barely time to consider making an All-Star team.

But we must. Now, a few things have to be kept in mind:

1. The fans pick the starting position players and DH.
2. Each team must have a representative.
3. Each team gets a total of 35 players.

Those are the basics. You’ll want at least three catchers and two or three people for each of the other defensive positions. And with #2, each team has *someone* who is having a good season.

With that in mind, what would my All-Star teams look like?

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Random Thoughts on the 2016 All-Star Game

Well, the 2016 Major League Baseball All-Star Game has come and gone. The American League won by the score of 4-2. Not a particularly exciting game, but that’s baseball. Individual games, even All-Star Games, are rarely exciting. But you watch, because of the *possibilty* of seeing something exciting.

Anyway, my thoughts, in no particular order:
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Random Thoughts on the 2015 All-Star Game

Pete Rose did pretty well in the pre-game show. A little work on knowing when to stop talking and let the other guys speak, and he’ll be OK. He’s got a wealth of baseball knowledge, and is a fine raconteur.

The “Franchise Four” was a pretty neat idea. Rather odd comparing the young expansion teams to the “classic” franchises. Evan Longoria is a very good player, but he’s no Mike Schmidt. But every team does have players to be proud of.

So, Nolan Ryan’s a “Franchise Four” with three teams! Hmm!!!

To those complaining about the selections: This was done via a fan vote. For all the problems with that method, keep in mind that the results will probably be forgotten before the season is out. Sure, you could simply pick the four players with the highest career WAR over their time with the team, but where’s the fun in that?

Same thing goes for the “Greatest Living Legends”….

Mike Trout reminds me of Johnny Mize or Ted Kluszewski. Not just the skills, but the clean-cut, square-jawed, wholesome good looks.

Johnny Mize, Mike Trout, Ted Kluszewski

Johnny Mize, Mike Trout, Ted Kluszewski

By the way, that home run of his was no “monster blast” (like McCutchen’s upper deck shot later in the game). It traveled something like 340-350 feet. Would have been caught in center field… Heck, it would have been caught in right center (370′ to the wall).

In a pitching-heavy era like the present, a low-scoring game is to be expected. Makes for somewhat dull viewing, unfortunately. 24 of the 54 outs were recorded via the strikeout.

Speaking of strikeouts, did anyone else notice that when Jacob deGrom struck out the side in the 6th on 10 pitches, not one of the batters so much as made contact? Looking, looking, swing and miss. Looking, looking, outside, swing and miss. Three swings and misses.

A three-run lead going into the bottom of the seventh, with plenty of top-notch pitching arms available? And all of the big bats for the NL already out of the lineup? Yeah, it’s pretty much over.

While it’s nice to win, the All-Star Game MVP Award is probably the least significant of all the pieces of hardware a player can get. It’s the equivalent of a “Player of the Game” award – the kind where the local radio station gives you a free dinner for giving them a post-game interview. Yeah, there are a lot of great names in the list of winners. But that’s simply because the players in an All-Star Game are already likely to be great players. There’s more luck than talent involved. The list of winners includes such legendary players as Jeff Conine, Garrett Anderson, and Terry Steinbach….

The 2015 All-Stars

The voting has closed for this year’s Baseball All-Star Game. But even while it was still open, there was a lot of chatter about What’s Wrong With The Voting. It’s nothing new. Fans always gripe about both the voting and the selection process. Being able to complain is part of the fun. One of the lesser complaints is that every team is required to have a representative on the rosters. Often, this means that a “clearly deserving” player is left out. However, when you get right down to it, every team has at least one player who deserves to be an All-Star.

Without further ado, here are the best players on each team.

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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.

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