All-Star Game! Or, the over-honoring of Yankee Stadium.

Before I start this post, my apologies for missing a couple days. I wasn’t able to watch Sunday’s game (which was good for my blood pressure, it sounds like), so I didn’t want to comment on a close game.

Also, HUGE congratulations to both Justin Morneau and Josh Hamilton. Last night’s home run derby was by far the best I have ever witnessed. Josh Hamilton may have had the compelling story of the night, but the homer in me still shouted “YES!!!” after he didn’t match Morneau in the final round loudly enough for the neighbors to bang on their ceiling/my floor.

Before the game, I need to make my feelings known about the idiocy of the celebration that is happening today. I don’t know a lot of history about the All-Star game, so I don’t know if it is the first time this has ever happened or not (my guess is that no, it hasn’t). I am tired of the hero worship of Yankee Stadium.

Yes, I went there. I watch all the Twins games of the season on MLB.TV (with a few rare exceptions that I don’t watch or that are on ESPN or FOX). So I am intimately familiar with the idiotic Statue of Liberty advertising campaign that is going on in New York City. I am also guessing that nothing similar has ever happened for another All-Star Game. The obsession that Major League Baseball has with Yankee Stadium borders on an obsessive form of idolatry.

I have never attended a game at Yankee Stadium. However, I have talked to several people that have. They compared it (unfavorably) to attending games at Atlanta’s Fulton County Stadium, Three Rivers Stadium in Cincinnati, or even the King Dome in Seattle.

Sure, a lot of historic stuff happened in Yankee Stadium. But if you go anywhere that is suitably old, stuff will have happened there.

Oh, and FOX announcers? Yankee Stadium isn’t a “jewel.” It isn’t “the” stadium, ESPN announcers of yesterday. It is an old stadium, surely a historic stadium, but it is just another old stadium, which happens to be the home of the (arguably) most popular, most expensive to see play, most irritatingly commercial, most ridiculously overhyped, and most hated team in the major leagues. THAT is what makes it different.

I’m sure today means a lot to a lot of people BECAUSE the game is being held in Yankee Stadium. But I am not one of them.

So, down to business: Today’s All-Star Game.

They finally did something right. The presence of all the living all-stars on the field was one of the most moving things I have ever seen happening on a baseball field in my life.

Side note: Now that Anheuser-Busch has been bought by a Belgian firm, can it still call itself the “Great American Lager?”

You’d think Ben Sheets could have managed to find time to shave before the game. It is, like, on tv and all.

I like that the players are able to wear the away/visiting uniforms of their own teams. I didn’t like it last year when the teams had to wear orange/black. Mostly, because it didn’t look good with the navy Twins hat Hunter, Santana, and Morneau all wore.

Mauer’s first at-bat was very Mauer-ish of him, drawing a six-pitch walk. I hope he gets another (and he should, given that he was the elected starter). But being the elected starter doesn’t mean anything when the team manager works with the other guy every day… if Papelbon pitches, expect Varitek to come in if he hadn’t already.

Yes, it is cool and all to talk to hall of famers, but we don’t need to see them when a game is going on. We just missed two pitches to Kosuke Fukodome (sp?). I’m talking to you, TV broadcasters.

Oh, also. I don’t see the sentimental value of bringing Sensenbrenner in on a golf cart to hand out the first pitch balls. I’m sorry, but the guy has hurt the game’s reputation as much as any single person has, not to mention the amount of hurt he put on the game by spending more money in a year than any average city will earn in the same time period.

It’s a good thing David Ortiz wasn’t so hurt (while missing essentially a month) that he couldn’t record a Vitamin Water commercial. Otherwise, there would be one less baseball-related irritating commercial out there.

It is weird to want Alex Rodriguez to hit a home run. I haven’t done that since he played for Seattle. Too bad for him that he ended up striking out.

Whoa… Zambrano just threw at Manny. I love the passion of it, though I would never endorse throwing at a player, even at Manny, who makes me want to vomit.

Good hit by Mauer. Very Twins of him, and I have to say I understand the decision to pinch-run for him, although it turned out not to matter.

Dan Haren. Weird. He is still refusing to use his version of the stretch with runners on 1st and 2nd. Especially after handing second base to Kinsler by using the high leg kick.

Oops, there’s the stretch.

Hurdle wasn’t joking about using the pitching he thought was best. We have seen three pitchers through six innings. We might see six pitchers tonight… we have seen more than that in some regular season games.

HOLY CRAP! Joe Nathan is in! Wow!! I was NOT expecting him to play, especially after Sherrill was warming up in the sixth. And he is at his fidgety best. Good Job, Joe!

Morneau certainly had an easy first inning in play. Strikeout, flyout, flyout.

I have to say, I miss “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” Call me a crazy pinko commie, but I would much rather hear it during the all-star game than “God Bless America.” Not that Josh Groban didn’t do a pretty awesome job, but I do have to say that the photographer that was pacing near the edge of the frame the whole time was rather distracting (kind of like the low angle shots they insisted upon using to film the song.

Best question of all-time on ESPN’s gamecast chat: “Jim, who would win in a fight to the death- the eagle on the NL logo or the eagle on the AL logo? You’d be tempted to go with the AL due to size, but check out the NL eagle’s hardware.” Response: “That’s the most intelligent question I’ve heard yet.”

GREAT DOUBLE, Justin! That’s his first All-Star hit (0-fer-2 last year).

Again, it is really strange to be cheering for a JD Drew Home Run. But impressive off Edinson Volquez.

I like the AL’s chances at this point, given that Papelbon and Rivera are likely the next two pitchers (if the AL take a lead).

Not that I was expecting a ton of class, but the chanting of “Overrated” by the Yankees fans was a whole new level of classless.

Quentin really could have had Tejada at home had he backed up the ball and made a good throw. The throw was in plenty of time, but off the mark.

I am going to go out on a limb and say that if the Yankees end up in the World Series and don’t have home field advantage, their fans have no one to blame but themselves.

How about Evan Longoria. I’ve always liked the kid, but wow. 2 outs, bottom of the eighth, runner on second, and he comes through with a Ground Rule Double.

Morneau didn’t do so great, but he already got his double.

I REALLY hope that the AL (or the NL) scores in the ninth so there is a winner to this game. It has been too good of a game for an ambiguous ending.

Notwithstanding what I wrote earlier, it is kind of cool to see Mariano Rivera finishing the top of the ninth inning here.

Anyone else notice how classy Fancona was tonight? He pulled both Jeter and A-Rod in the middle of an inning so they could have a curtain call, then gave Rivera the last outs of the ninth.

HUGE strike-em-out throw-em-out double play by Rivera and Navarro (almost makes up for Navarro handing the NL the lead in the eighth with that bad throw.

Did the bottom of the 10th remind anyone of the kind of thing we see with the Twins a lot? Bases Loaded, no outs, no runs scored.

Justin Morneau just barely fails to beat out an infield single.

Bottom of the 11, Ian Kinsler hit a bloop single, then tried to steal second on a pitchout. He was clearly safe; the tag never touched his leg. Then, one pitch later, Navarro walked, and then JD Drew got a single up the middle. With a correct call, Kinsler would have scored easily.

Why, Why, Why, Why, Why did Navarro try to take home on Young’s single? Had he stayed at third, a sac fly (or almost anything else) would have scored him.

Again, it is really weird for me to want Carlos Quentin to hit a big one here.

Uggla is having a really poor game. 2 straight errors in the 10th, two strikeouts, and hit into a double play. Talk about a rough line.

Wow. This game is REALLY like a Twins game: no one is scoring after they get on base.

Quick Prediction: this game will be won with a bomb. No one is really playing well enough to small-ball it.

Now that I said that, Carlos Guillen doubles off the wall on the first pitch from Aaron Cook (who already miraculously got out of a jam).

Again, there is a runner on third base and Justin is up with two outs, but he gets an intentional walk.

Ian Kinsler comes up and grounds out to 3rd.

They keep showing Bud Selig looking like he is about to cry. I would too if I had to make the decision to end a game like this.

Sherrill is lights-out. I wonder if he is available to pitch set-up for the Twins.

Uggla got a terrible hop off the bat of JD Drew, but the scorer called it an error, his third of the night. Bad, bad call by the official scorer. Hopefully they will change it. When Michael Young struck out, Drew took second base.

I am again in the surreal position of wanting Carlos Quentin to do good, but he strikes out.

Top of the 14th: George Sherrill is no longer lights out, but he has now pitched 2 1/3 innings, with no runs given up, which ties his season high. This inning he gave up a couple super-deep fly balls and a grounder, but nothing bad.

Bottom 14: Brandon Webb is in after throwing 108 pitches on Sunday. He and Kazmir (104 pitches on Sunday) were on a don’t use unless there is a knife to your throat list. but that time is now. He gets a line-out and two strike-outs.

Top 15: Kazmir is in, and he’s the last player for the American League (the NL is saving Brad Lidge for a possible save, but we might see him in an inning or so), so you have to figure there are two innings left max to this game. It will tie for the longest game ever (15 innings). He strikes out Uggla. Terrible night for him. Three errors, three strikeouts, and one double-play. Kazmir looks pretty rough right now. A fly-out, a walk, and a ground-out to Morneau that almost went through the webbing of his glove. I think it is time he trades in for a new one.

I just had a thought: if the game keeps going, the only way to keep it on is to have a position player pitch. the thought of that makes me very happy.

Bottom 15: Brad Lidge is in, so probably one more inning after this, max. Morneau got a solid single to center. The announcers think Kinsler will bunt, but given the fact that Morneau isn’t exactly Gogomez. Kinsler hit a line drive to right that Ryan Ludwick made an amazing diving catch to save it. THAT was an All-star play. Dionner Navarro gets a single to center as well, and there is a real rally chance here, with Drew up. The fans booed Morneau when he stayed at second on the play. Problem: Navarro is the easiest possible person to double off in this game. Brian McCann of the Braves is in at catcher for the first time of the night. If my Minnesota math is correct, he is the NL’s last bench option. Drew walks, so there is one out with Michael Young at the plate and the bases loaded. He hits a sac fly to right and Morneau beats the throw by a millisecond.

Game over.

Time: 4:50

Number of pitchers used: 23

Number of players used: All of them.

Winner: Kazmir, Loser: Lidge

Total number of pitches thrown: 443

This is Jonas, signing out.

8 Responses

  1. 443 pitches. And you watched them all?

    Crazy.

  2. Great writeup, found you from sethspeaks.net, I watched the game and alot of your points were what I was thinking. The mute button works great watching the game after they kept calling Justin’s last name Morno. The game should have been over the 11th with instant replay and have you ever seen a worse all star appearance other then Uggla’s performance? 3 Errors, 3 K’s and a hit into double play.

  3. Andrew – I might be off on the pitch number – ESPN is giving 434. But, yes, I watched them all. Not too bad to be a reserve player, eh? Navarro played for twice as many innings as Mauer; Morneau played for twice as many as Youk. The Twins really pulled it off!

    SoCal – Thanks for the Comment. There were several terrible umpiring calls, but the stolen base one? Gross. I haven’t seen as poor a performance as Uggla’s; from listening to Hurdle, he hadn’t either. I looked it up, and there has never been a player turn in more than 2 errors in an All-Star game and there has never been a player make 2 errors in an inning, or on back-to-back plays (that I could find, I had to do my own number crunching on that one). Uggla will not sleep well tonight. I hope he goes on a tear when he gets back to the Marlins on Saturday to make up for it. He is better than he was tonight.

  4. Am I the only one who thinks Justin Morneau is a little under rated and under appreciated? This guy plays solid defense, doesn’t cause trouble, was a past MVP, won the Home Run derby, went 2/4 and scored half the AL runs, and scored a very close game winning run. He also ran the bases well despite what yankee fans thought.

    I thought he should have been in the discussion for the MVP and he didn’t strike out like JD Drew. As Twins fans we haven’t gotten a player who can hit .300 30+ HR 100+ RBI’s and Runs and play decent D in a long time. Especially for a team that is power starved like the Twins. The scary thing is Morneau can get better. He is also a very humble guy and has the great Minnesota attitude about him.

  5. I wonder if Morneau would have been voted MVP if he would have beaten the throw earlier with bases loaded.

  6. SoCal Al- See the post that will go up in a few minutes (read: sometime today). You gave me the idea.

  7. […] on to Yankee Stadium. If you look at this post from a week ago, you will notice that I have little use for the “mystique” of Yankee […]

  8. […] I wanted everyone to stop glorifying Yankee Stadium. […]

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