A few days ago, I wrote about how much I enjoyed the Major League Baseball All-Star game. Seeing the greatest ball players in the world battle it out first in the Home Run Derby, and then the game itself has always been something I’ve found special. Players who don’t often play each other compete while other players who are used to competing with each other team up for one night. In the American League dugout you’ll find rivals like Derek Jeter and David Ortiz playing and cheering on their team for the same purpose. It has always been a lot of fun to watch for me, an avid baseball fan. However, this All-Star game did not live up to my expectations what so ever. In fact, I’ll go even further to say that it absolutely sucked and I had a hard time sitting through and watching the action (even though I saw damn near every pitch).
First of all, the All-Star game itself was boring as hell. Justin Verlander came in and gave up five damn runs in the first inning and the game was pretty much over. All the life was taken out of the game at that point. As a Yankee fan, the fact that my team may finish with the best record in baseball but not get home field in the World Series thanks to Mr. Verlander is a fucking joke. Bud Selig really shit the bed when he made that rule up a few years ago following the infamous tie in 2002. At least if the Tigers make the World Series and don’t get home field, they can look at their own player as a main reason why. However, if any other team like the Yanks, Angels or Rangers make it through to the Fall Classic, how does it make any sense that they won’t get to host the deciding Game 7 in their building. Just look at last year as an example, as the Texas Rangers had to play Game 7 at St. Louis in the World Series and lost to the Cardinals on the road as a result of an exhibition game result. The fact that it was a blow out, and a first inning blow out makes the result even harder to swallow. Major League Baseball, you better check into this and fix it.
Also, why the hell is Tony La Russa managing the NL team? First of all, he is a miserable looking man, with a face that not even his own mother could really love. I understand his team won the World Series last year and that the World Series managers get the privilege the following year, but he retired! Why should he be allowed to call the shots when he doesn’t really have a dog in the fight? Now I know that he won the game but imagine he had to make a decision at the end of the game that would cost a rival of his the ability to play Game 7 at home? What if La Russa had an opportunity to screw over the Brewers or Cubs? Since he has nothing to really gain from any managing decision, there is no reason he should be pressing the buttons in this game. If MLB is going to make the game actually mean something, then they need to be consistent and treat it like it does. La Russa retired from baseball and should have watched the game on his couch like all the other ex managers did.
One of La Russa’s decisions that pissed me off, though ultimately didn’t effect the game too much was not starting R.A. Dickey. Now I am not a Mets fan, but as a fan of baseball, how could anyone not enjoy the year and story that Dickey has put together? Even if La Russa thinks that starter Matt Cain is a better pitcher, he has to understand that everyone wanted to see Dickey come in and throw his knuckleball out of the gate. R.A. got into the game in the middle innings, but by then it was already decided and the anticipation and excitement wasn’t there. Dickey’s numbers dictate that he should have 100% been the starter, as his ERA, WHIP, wins, K’s per 9 innings and hits per 9 innings are all superior to Matt Cain. Awful job by La Russa to not only disallow the best and most deserving pitcher an All-Star start, but by ruining the greatest story in baseball to come around in a long time.
As for the Home Run derby, how the hell can Kansas City Royal fans boo Robinson Cano during the entire competition? Actually, allow me to correct myself. They cheered when he made outs. Robinson, as the AL Derby captain didn’t pick Kansas City Royal Billy Butler to participate in the competition. I understand that fans can be disappointed, but to show the lack of class they did during the Derby is a travesty. Robinson Cano has never said or done anything offensive to anyone. He is a fun loving player who happens to be one of the top 5 in the world. For the Royal fans to boo him to the extent they did during an All-Star game competition which is supposed to be fun is bull shit. Cano tried to play it off like it didn’t bother him, but how could it not? Yesterday at the actual game, Royal fans continued to heckle Cano, even messing with his family in the stands. Now I know that the Royals won’t make the World Series (probably ever in my lifetime), but shouldn’t they be rooting for the American League? Also, it is never acceptable to go after a player’s family for any reason. If the reason is over Billy Butler however, it makes the Royal fans the biggest bunch of morons I have ever witnessed. Billy fucking Butler! Butler’s career high in HR’s is 21! Also, Cano’s American League picks ended up winning the competition so it looks like Robinson made some good decisions. Kansas City Royal fans showed they are the type of fans who breed losing baseball. Is there any wonder that as soon as any Royal player gets good and enters their contract year, they run the hell out of there as fast as possible. If George Brett was a Yankee he wouldn’t even be in their all time top 10. Your team is a joke and so are you.
With that all said, I’m ready for the second half of baseball to kick off. I hope Robinson Cano gets fueled by the haters and explodes in the next few weeks, which I totally expect. I hope the American League World Series representative destroys whoever comes out of the weak National League. I hope R.A. Dickey continues to pitch better than Matt Cain. I hope Tony La Russa finds something else to do with his spare time. I hope Bud Selig grows a brain. But mostly, I hope that Billy Butler and the Kansas City Royals don’t win another game for the rest of their year. Their fans 100% deserve it!
The Home Run Derby will take place tonight at 8 p.m. from Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City. It is one of the sporting events that people either love or hate. Personally, I am infatuated with the Derby. I was brought up in a generation in which we grew up loving the long ball. The longer, higher and farther the ball is hit, the better as far as I am concerned. I am one of those fans who enjoys getting to the park hours before to watch teams taking batting practice and tonight is a glorified, elongated version of that. The contestants are taking their practice cuts and the fans sitting in the outfield are oiling up their gloves. The other All-Stars who are not competing tonight are getting set to sit on the sidelines and watch their peers put on a show. MLB changed the format last year, making the derby a team competition and allowing a team captain to pick the contestants. The captains for this year’s team are Robinson Cano of the Yankees and Matt Kemp of the Dodgers. Each captain asked players around the league and the collection of power that will be on display tonight is fantastic.
For the American League, Jose Bautista, Prince Fielder, Mark Trumbo and Cano will be taking the hacks. Though Bautista, Fielder and Cano are the better known players in the AL, Trumbo is really the player to watch. Of all the competitors, Trumbo averages the longest homerun on the season as his 22 jacks have travelled an average of 419.5 feet. He has also managed to hit the longest homerun of the AL competitors, as he hit a blast 459 feet earlier this season. He is thought to be one of the best raw, young power hitters in the game and if he gets on a roll, watch out!
Last year Robinson Cano won the competition, edging Adrian Gonzalez in a classic final. It was a truly special moment for Cano since his father was throwing the pitches to his son. As a Yankee fan, I am more than aware that Cano is one of the best talents in the league and when he is on a good streak, he has the potential to be as good as anyone. I can easily see him taking this competition again, though I have to give Trumbo the edge because he has power that hasn’t been seen in the league since McGwire and Sosa were hitting 500 ft. shots (that were steroid induced) in the late 90’s.
The National League team will consist of Carlos Beltran, Carlos Gonzalez, Andrew McCutchen and Matt Kemp. Kemp jumped out to an early MVP campaign this year, but has been slowed for the past month and a half due to a hamstring issue. I am shocked that the Dodgers are going to let him compete in the competition, as he hasn’t been playing in any games for them in over a month. He is unquestionably a candidate to win the contest if he is healthy, but I don’t understand the risk involved. The player I am most excited to see is the Pirates youngster Andrew McCutchen. McCutchen is by far the smallest player in the field but he has such unbelievable power due to ridiculous fast twitch muscles that remind me of when Alfonso Soriano was in his prime in the early 2000’s for the Yankees. McCutchen is single-handedly leading the Pirates to a first place record, and his 18 homers are only a small part of his all around game. If the season ended today, he would have to be in the conversation of NL MVP, along with David Wright and the shocking Melky Cabrera. Though McCutchen excites me, I think the top NL performer will be Carlos Gonzalez of the Rockies, as his 17 homers this year travel further than the other NL players, averaging 412.8 ft per shot, probably aided by Coors Field conditions.
WIth that said, I think the AL players will dominate tonight and I wouldn’t be expected if every AL player finished with higher totals than the NL’s best. Either way, I’ll be at the edge of my seat and though I am not certain about who is going to win, my official prediction will be Mark Trumbo, followed by Cano (though I will 100% be rooting for Robbie to prevail). With the said, I wouldn’t be shocked if any of the AL players took the trophy home tonight. I am so excited for the competition that I will watch it even though I am subjected to listening to Chris Berman utter the words “back, back, back, back, back…..gone!” 500 times. Even though Berman can be irritating during the broadcast, there is nothing else I don’t love about the Derby and I can’t wait to tune in tonight. Enjoy!