July 16, 2008

Surprise! The AL win!

by Dan Bilicki In: Baseball

Having a corner on the summer sports market might be the biggest blessing that major league baseball has. Thanks to the fact there are no other sports on the day of their all-star game (except tennis but I mean, come on) I had a rather slow night and got to enjoy the thrilling midsummer classic that took place. And what a classic it truly was. As a send-off to Yankee Stadium, the game more than lived up to the expectations. When a game comes down to a great throw from the outfield and a tag that was a second too late at home plate, well, that`s just one of the greatest finishes ever. There was just so much going on throughout the game, well, here were a few things I picked up.

J.D. Drew truly was the MVP. Was there even another choice? You can’t give it to a NL player since they lost and had no true standouts, no AL pitcher since the winner was Kazmir who only pitched one inning. The only other possible candidate would’ve been Justin Morneau, but going 2-for-4 with two runs scored isn’t as good as being the guy who drove him in twice – once with a homer.

If you had told me that the all-star game would feature a critical at bat between George Sherrill and Ryan Ludwick, well, I would’ve have walked away from you laughing. The same response would have came if you told me there would be three Rays on the field at the same time.

I still find it hard to believe that J.D. Drew was a first time all-star. The fact that he homered in his first-ever all-star at bat was even more shocking.

It almost seemed as if the managers were trying to steal bases like an XBox accomplishment was on the line. I never would have expected six steals and seven attempts, but then again, no matter what they say, it’s still an exhibition game.

You have to feel bad for Dan Uggla, the goat of the game. His three errors nearly cost the NL the game, even if the third was off one of the ugliest bounces I’ve ever seen. I may have even been better if he had blown the game on an error, it would have saved the managers the lack of comfort of using the “off limit” pitchers late in the game.

Sucks to be Brian McCann too. He was the only position player not to get a plate appearance and was the catcher that was a second too slow on the tag when the winning run was scored. But you can’t lay too much blame on him for that part. Jason Varitek didn’t step up to the plate either, but he didn’t deserve to be in the game in the first place.

I’ve got to say, looking at the NL’s lineup card was like looking at my team’s lineup in MLB 2K8. I also have Hanley Ramirez first and then Chase Utley second. Lance Berkman bats fifth though, behind a third baseman who bares my name and then Travis Hafner at cleanup. I also have the AL’s Josh Hamilton except he’s in a platoon seeing how the programmers had no idea he’d be THIS good.

And, in a non-all-star related note, the league hope to have video replay up and running for the playoffs. All I can say is: Finally! This sort of innovation should have been put into play years ago. It’s not that hard to have a system in which a team can challenge a fair/foul call or a home run call, it’s pretty simple actually. They shouldn’t take it too far though; there should never, ever be a debate about balls and strikes. I’m on the fence still regarding tag outs and “bang-bang” plays at the bag. It could help but it could also start a shit-storm of sorts. Let’s debate this after we get the ball rolling this October.

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