Helicopters - awesome!

Helicopters – awesome!

I was once like you, alternating between feelings of indifference and hostility towards baseball’s All Star Game. The hollow “this time it counts” conceit grated and the diluted pool of talent was a turn-off. I lamented the game for what it wasn’t and longed for it to be what it was when I was young – or at least how I falsely remembered it.

All of which were mistakes on my part.

The All Star game isn’t perfect but, if you just give it room to breathe and be what it is, it can be a good time and a fun annual tradition. Fun? Perish the thought!

Hey, we all agree the massive rosters and peculiar selection process robs the game of some credibility. But, when you think about it, who cares about credibility? It’s an exhibition game at its core, a showcase event for the league and its sponsors. The integrity of the athletic endevaour is all relative, anyway. There aren’t a lot of ways to half-ass a 97 mile per hour fastball.

When was the last time you cared about the legitimacy of your entertainment? More to the point: do you really need to get out of your own just to be entertained?

Does watching Matt Harvey face Mike Trout (the most exciting young pitcher and the best player in baseball, head to head!) in front of a stadium full of adoring hometown fans not entertain you?

Does the knowledge that Hiroki Kuroda should probably be in the dugout watching this instead of spending time doing…whatever Big Hirok does over the All Star break interfere with your enjoyment of Matt Harvey mowing down some of the best hitters in the game?

If so, that’s a shame.

Yeah, the broadcast is bloated and much of the experience is corny, but every so often you get to watch Cliff Lee do something awesome and distinctly Cliff Lee-ish. And then you are imbued with a sense of joy and a sense of purpose: quite simply, live more like Cliff Lee.

Then Chris Sale came in and did freaky Chris Sale stuff and it was great! Then Carlos Beltran got a hit! Rather than focus on who might not be there or who might deserve to be, think about a lineup that featured Bryce Harper hitting ninth. NINTH! That’s a lot of good baseball players all in one place.

Don’t think the level of game play is on par with an ever-important midweek battle between the Cubs and Padres? Jim Leyland deployed an infield shift against Dom Brown, he used his army of situational relievers situationally (to great effect) – he wanted it bad!

The field was lined with great players and they did their best to do cool things. Like Manny Machado making the most of his experience to introduce the uninitiated to his superlative defense.

Hey, I’m sure its more fun to spend your time immersed in the excruciating minutia of the medium-leverage reliever usage for your favorite .500 club. Perhaps you prefer fretting over the development of prospects — the bulk of which, if they’re incredibly lucky, might earn the honor of being overlooked for an All Star game — rather than sitting back and watching one of the game’s unique talents and enduring stars (media created or otherwise) sheepishly bask in the respect of his peers and fans.

Let the game be what it is and you can have a grand old time watching. Look at Miguel Cabrera, he had a grand old time playing in the game, even though he had to face Matt Harvey and Jose Fernandez in the same night. This was his face after Fernandez threw the second of three straight 98 mph fastballs to the Tigers slugger.

miggy smiles lolse

All the good will the early, Matt Harvey’d part of the game earned from me persisted through the pitching changes and new player bingo of the later innings. The game moved briskly and never threatened to bore me. Not “perfect” and the deification of Mariano Rivera was a little much but, again, who cares? Fox has a job to do and bills to pay, I suppose.

But the game came in a shade over three hours and most fans went home happy. It wasn’t the perfect All Star game but it had its share of moments which are sure to live long(ish) in the memory. And, for me, that’s sort of the point. Just enjoy it, rather than scream and shout about how to fix it and what it is supposed to mean or represent.

It is a show, a show that can sometimes disappoint but, with expectations managed accordingly, can satisfy without a lot of effort. The 2013 Major League Baseball All Start Game – nothing if not satisfying. A complete success*, in other words.

* – I really, really hope Robinson Cano is okay. Enjoyable exhibitions are still just exhibitions, hopefully all players escape unscathed.

Comments (16)

  1. Great post.

    As a fan who has only been aggressively following MLB for 3 seasons, I’d not watched an Allstar game before this one. I found it to be rather enjoyable. Being Orioles Scum allowed me to simply revel in Chris Davis’ single, JJ Hardy’s amazing speed down the line, and Machado’s “Fuck Off” defense.

    Fun.

  2. That Cliff Lee gif is amazing. It was a fun game to watch.

  3. Thank you for writing this.

  4. I’m getting sick of so many people thinking they are so above the all star game and how they’d never watch it and how it’s blah blah blah. A great example of this is the game threat from djf. We get it, you hate the all star game and fun. But, this was a nice article, thanks

  5. What does Big Hirok do during the break?

  6. + also the Prince triple. Fun as shit.

    • Personally, I was more excited about seeing Prince Fielder slide.

      • The moment that ball got by Gomez I was hitting my roommate to get his attention. Not because Fielder was looking three, but because if that ball came in quick then he was gonna have to get down to beat the throw.

        The best part of this? The fact that Fielder tripled on a play scored 4-6-5.

  7. I watch so much baseball during the season that much like the players, I’m grateful to just take the three days off but that doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with the game per say. You don’t have to trash something to give yourself an excuse not to watch it.

  8. Great post drew, I enjoyed this game way more than last year. Mostly because verlander didn’t fuck up/play.

  9. As a Blue Jays fan, Machado makes me happy that I get to see the Orioles umpteen times a year. It`s been a long time since Ripken that I cared who was on that team at all.

    • As a Blue Jays fan, nothing about the Orioles can make me happy. Other than the bulldozers moving into Camden Yards, that is.

      To extend on my other post. Shouldn’t we be getting angry at far more important things than the All Star Game. Like the fact that somehow the Orioles are good?

  10. Ah crap, now I wished I watched it.

    As someone who came to baseball as an adult, I kind of saw the point of the ASG in the early years (especially as at that point I could only watch two games a week, starting at midnight). You got to see players you never saw at any other time. The first time I saw Torii Hunter was when he made that catch off Barry Bonds. Even the Home Run Derby was pretty fun with Barry doing his thing.

    The only catch is that a) every year is the same and b) the geeky sorts who read blogs like this have already seen, say, Mike Trout perform multiple times before the ASG comes around these days, so the novelty wears off.

    Whatever. Hating the All Star Game is like the people who hate the Harry Potter books because ‘they’re not that good’. Just because you don’t like it, you feel the need for millions of other people to also not like it, despite the mountains of evidence that they get fantastic enjoyment from them. Really, aren’t there much better things to direct one’s ire at?

    • Ignore these upbeat people. It was probably the most boring baseball game I have ever watched. That I didn’t change the channel and watched the entire stupid thing probably reveals something unfortunate about my personality.

      • …that you should turn in your Fun Police badge?

        Personally, seeing these guys have a good time – and seeing Rivera have his moment – resonates. It was almost enough to be less cynical about Fox and Selig’s attempts to ruin the thing.

  11. From the Tampa Bay Rays… BEN ZOBRIST (camera pans to Matt Moore).

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