Once again, the managers of the All-Star game did their best to make it as horrible of a viewing experience as they could. It’s hardly worth watching the whole game anymore, unless it’s for general curiosity to see if the AL will keep winning.
Late in the game, the NL walked Victor Martinez intentionally with the go-ahead run at third to set up a possible inning ending double play. Nothing wrong with the move really…although it may have been too early in the game to put insurance runs on base with one out. But, it was the reaction of the announcers. They were convinced, or at least trying to convince me, that this was proof of how much the game mattered. Using such a strategy was proof that the teams were really trying. I guess that just left me with one question. If the NL was really trying to win, why did it take its best player out of the game? Why was Pujols on the bench? Don’t insult me by saying that the teams are playing to win when they don’t keep the best players in the line-up. The managers need a new directive. The starters are starters for a reason. The pinch hitter for the pitchers can be whomever you want. Keep everyone else in the game.
Even beyond the “trying to win” angle, taking Pujols out of the game was practically a crime. MLB uses this game to showcase its stars, and let everyone see the best players out there. Wouldn’t they want Pujols to be seen as much as possible if he’s the best player around? To make it worse, the game was in St Louis! So, they cheated the home fans the chance to see their best player just to get more players in the game? That’s ludicrous. They even did the “replacing him after warm-ups” routine, so Albert could walk off to an ovation. I’m thinking that the fans would have rather seen him take another whack at the plate. It reminded me of when Joe Torre sent Jeter out to replace Nomar after warm-up so Nomar could walk off to applause in Fenway. After the game, Torre commented that it was the only way he could think of to get his guy into the game without being booed. Doesn’t that just about sum it up? It wasn’t about having the best player in there. It wasn’t about giving the fans who they want to see. It was about getting everyone a chance to play. Torre had to come up with a way to try to fool the fans, rather than give them what they want.
Bud Selig needs to figure out what he wants the All-Star game to be. MLB insists on using the moronic fan balloting with the line that it gets the starters that the fans want to see. If that’s the case, why are they all replaced after 5 innings? What amazed me especially last night is that Josh Hamilton was the last AL starting outfielder to be replaced, and he was the one who got the fewest votes. Huh? He was the one who said he probably didn’t really deserve to start since he’s been on the DL. So, what’s the deal Bud? You can’t have it both ways. If you want to make an argument that people deserve to see Adam Jones play, even if they don’t know who he his, then take away the fan voting to stop putting people in the game who don’t belong. Otherwise, let the best players finish the game.
The fact that Tim Wakefield didn’t pitch is a little curious for a few reasons. He should have been rested enough to allow it. It’s not like Beckett who pitched Sunday. With all the moves being made to get players in the game, it seemed odd not to play the 42-year old in his first game. He couldn’t have pitched in place of, say, Mark Buehrle? Does that mean that the AL was really trying to win? Apparently Joe Madden decided early on that he was the extra innings guy? Was that his role when Wake was selected? Did Madden decide he wasn’t going to run out of pitchers, so he pitched the guy with the rubber arm over Kevin Millwood? If the game went extra innings, the AL would have the advantage throwing Wake as long as they needed. It also makes a Buchholz start on Friday more interesting. The reasoning given for the call-up was that Beckett and Wake would need rest from the AS Game. But, neither one pitched, so neither one should need rest. If Clay still gets the nod, does that confirm that it’s to showcase him to Toronto?
I still enjoy watching the MLB All-Star game. The pre-games are starting to drive me batty, but the game is still great. I just wish that MLB cared as much as I do about making it an enjoyable game.
They should just follow my guidelines, I guess.
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