Nine Quick reflections…
1. No sport makes tributes to its heroes like baseball. Ted Williams in 1999. Cal Ripken in 2001. Derek Jeter in 2014. The All-Star Game is designed for moments like those and I’m glad baseball takes advantage of them.
2. The fans got it right, for the most part. The part they got most right was voting a star like Jeter into the starting lineup. Is he a productive player at this point in his career? The numbers suggest otherwise. But, honestly, who would you have rather seen play more last night? Alexi Ramirez? Please.
3. American League Manager John Farrell got it right. Bloggers and sabermetricians lamented Jeter batting leadoff. And they’re right. Except when they’re not. It wouldn’t have mattered if Jeter had struck out twice…batting him leadoff was worth it, just to hear Bob Sheppard’s voice introducing him first one more time.
4. The game really shouldn’t matter. Maybe it’s just an old man being stubborn, but Bud Selig needs to call a “do-over” on this one. So, Adam Wainwright grooved a fastball for Jeter…who cares? Except, we have to care because the game “matters.” If the game really matters, let the managers pick the rosters, every spot, and then let the starters throw 100 pitches and the reserves sit the bench the whole game.
5. Where was Tony Gwynn’s tribute? I get it. The night was about Jeter. But it’s not like Jeter or anyone in baseball would have been offended or confused if there was a moment of silence or a video montage about Gwynn and the other baseball greats lost so far this year (e.g. Ralph Kiner, Jim Fregosi, and Don Zimmer). For all of Baseball’s honoring of its past and its heroes, it dropped the ball here.
6. Mike Trout is really good at baseball. Top 5 in history good.
7. Miguel Cabrera is one of the top 5 hitters to ever play the game. Watch him. Slow him down on video. Let your kids see what a great hitter looks like. (Hint: there’s no extension at contact or squashing the bug or anything else you and I were likely taught once upon a time).
8. Why not select the host TV or radio broadcast team to do the national telecast for the All-Star game? They actually watch games every day. They might actually tell us something about a player we didn’t know. Better yet, just get Vin Scully.
9. The two days after the All-Star game…baseball’s form of torture.