Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A Midsummer Night's Observations

Last night, millions of baseball fans tuned into Fox for the 80th Midsummer Classic, or more commonly known: the MLB All-Star Game. The American League won 4-3 on an RBI sac-fly by Adam Jones (no, not that Adam Jones) of the Orioles. The win stretched the NL's winless streak to 13 years, with a 2002 tie being the lone non-loss for the NL. The win gives the AL homefield advantage in the World Series again this season. But that doesn't seem to matter much, since the NL has won three of the last six World Series titles despite not having homefield.

Here are a few of my observations from the night's festivities:

- Fox initially screwed the pooch when they failed to get a decent camera angle on President Obama's ceremonial first pitch. Viewers couldn't even see if it crossed the plate.

- They did finally show the center field replay of the pitch later in the evening, and Albert Pujols acted like a good host should and did Obama a favor by reaching for the ball before it could bounce off the plate.

- There were some solid defensive plays throughout the game, none more impressive (or important) than Carl Crawford's home run-robbing catch in the bottom of the seventh. He was subsequently named MVP for that play.

- As a Marlins fan, I'm glad Josh Johnson didn't get to pitch, since he threw over 110 pitches in his Sunday start prior to the break. But as Marlins Die-Hards pointed out, let it be known that JJ wouldn't have allowed any runs if he did make an appearance.

- As a baseball fan, AL (and Rays') manager Joe Maddon made the biggest error of the game: not calling on knuckleballer Tim Wakefield to make an appearance on the mound. Wakefield, 43, garnered his first appearance on an All-Star roster this season. The least Maddon could've done was give the veteran a shot to pitch an inning, especially since throwing the knuckleball leaves less wear and tear on the pitcher's arm.

One final note: There's been talk in recent years of the Home Run Derby champion being "cursed" in the second half of the season by a dropoff in production. Well The Rookies have a great post with ACTUAL ANALYSIS about the supposed curse. The conclusion: the players affected most by the Derby are those who lose in the first round. Interesting.

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