Tuesday, July 12, 2011

MLB All-Star Game: A ho-hum affair with or without Jeter

Maybe there was a lack of star power. Maybe it was the crowd at Chase Field that resembled a funeral parlor at times.
Whatever the reason was, there was just no juice to this year's All-Star Game.
The one thing that I am quite certain of, though, this less than forgettable affair had nothing to do with the fact that Derek Jeter was somewhere in St. Petersburg, Florida watching the game with his gorgeous girlfriend Minka Kelly.
A Phoenix sports station actually said on Tuesday that this year's All-Star Game will be defined by Jeter's absence.
Because even though Jeter did not show up, the game somehow managed to go on. Tyler Clippard and all.
Should Jeter have shown up? Yea probably, but did he deserve the Manny Ramirez treatment from the media over the last couple of days? No. Are you kidding me? The same people ripping him for not showing up are likely the same ones who said he and his .270 average had no place being there in the first place.
It wouldn't have killed Jeter to make an appearance, tip his hat to the crowd and acknowledge the four-plus million people who voted him into the game. But you know what? He's done everything right in his career. I think he of all people probably deserves a pass this one time. Jeter said he was emotionally drained from the 3,000 chase. That's it. End of story.
For everyone that bashes him for not showing up remember that when he is selected next year when you write your story detailing how undeserving he is.
Now as far as the actual game goes, there's not much to talk about.
Adrian Gonzalez home run ... blah, blah, blah ...Prince Fielder three-run home run and the National League picks up its second straight win in a 5-1 triumph.
The aforementioned Clippard picked up the win, becoming perhaps the least deserving winner in an All-Star Game, as he gave up a hit to the only batter he faced.
It was fitting that Fielder captured MVP honors after serving as public enemy No. 1 for most of the week thanks to him not selecting hometown favorite Justin Upton as part of the National League's squad for Monday's Home Run Derby.
There was nothing special about this game at all. In fact the most noteworthy items came on the injury front. Boston's Josh Beckett warmed up and was going to replace Jered Weaver in the second inning but felt some soreness in his left knee stemming from Friday's fall on the wet Fenway grass, and he didn't pitch. Also Detroit's Miguel Cabrera pulled himself out of the contest after feeling a "twinge" in his side.
Both players said they would have played, though, had the game meant something. Hopefully Commissioner Bud Selig doesn't get wind of that, because you know, these games count now.
So the National League will get home field advantage this year. Not bad considering it didn't have to face the three best pitchers in the American League this season in CC Sabathia, Justin Verlander and James Shields.
This won't be an All-Star Game remembered for much. Perhaps the fact that a record 84 players were named to the team. Maybe we will look back at this game as a changing of the guard with 34 first timers.
One thing is for sure, though, it absolutely won't be remembered for Jeter not showing up.
And oh by the way, World Series Game One in Philadelphia on October 19.

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