Americans Win Another Midsummer Classic

This is becoming a rather familiar refrain as the American League wins yet another All Star Game by 1 run, this time 4-3 was the final score.  MVP honors went to Tampa’s Crawford for his catch at the wall denying Brad Hawpe of Colorado a go-ahead home run in the bottom of the 7th.  The AL then went ahead by the decisive margin in the next half inning when, with one out, Curtis Granderson of Detroit tripled and was brought home by a sacrifice fly.  Once again San Diego’s closer is the loser.  The interesting thing in that inning was NL manager Charlie Manuel’s decision to issue an intentional walk to Cleveland’s Victor Martinez.  Its not something you tend to do in an ASG; after all, all the hitters are generally rather good being All Stars.  Also, for what it is worth, it did deny Indians fans of their one chance to see their one All Star bat in the game.  But Manuel was aware that “this one counts” and he pretty much knew going behind there would be game over with Joe Nathan and Mariano Rivera waiting in the AL ‘pen.  The NL did get a rally going against Nathan but Ryan Howard struck out swinging w/ runners at 2nd and 3rd and Rivera breezed through the NL in the 9th for his record 4th career ASG save.

It was a pleasant game to watch, though, with a brisk pace and several defensive gems after early runs scored in part because of nervous defense.  There was the above-said Crawford play, but also some nice plays by Albert Pujols among others.  One thing that did detract during the pregame scenario was Fox’ use of camera angles, though.  Who thought a thigh level and ultra zoomed in shot was a good way to showcase the AL reserves?  You couldn’t even see their faces unless they completely removed their hats.  And who was the genius that decided to show Obama’s 1st pitch in such a way you couldn’t see home plate?

Some fans in Pittsburgh and Oakland are doubtless disappointed that they didn’t get to see any of their guys play in the game.  But such is the reality of the situation now that “it counts” and we’ll play forever if we have to to get a winner that some guys have to be held in reserve for extra innings, especially pitchers.  And in the case of Freddy Sanchez, his recent back troubles might also be a reason he wasn’t used when not necessary.

So, the American League, as has been the case every year since 2002, will have home field advantage should the Fall Classic go 7 games.  Of course, it hasn’t mattered thus far as the World Series hasn’t gone the distance since 2001 when Arizona beat the Yankees on their last ups.  The relative rarity of it actually going 7 is why I still treat the ASG mostly as it should be; a pleasurable exhibition game between the best and most popular players in the game.

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