photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein
These are just some random thoughts and the like from the All Star Game. The game itself is kind of fuzzy and incoherent, so I shall hold the post about to the same standards.
–My thoughts on the Eric Byrnes dog incident are right over here. In short, I side with the dog.
—Jim Leyland was taking the whole thing pretty seriously. Aside from joking that he was tempted to use JJ Putz for 6 innings (something that at least one manager jokes about EVERY year), he seemed even more serious about this game than he is for most regular season games. I expect he wanted to win really badly and maaaaaybe was hoping that home field advantage will be applied to the Tigers this year, but it seems to me he could’ve had a little more fun with it. Maybe he was out ’til all hours the previous night partying with his coaching staff.
Actually, I’m gonna go right ahead and believe that that was the case. Because that is an awesome mental image.
“I didn’t enjoy it a bit,” [Leyland] said afterwards. “I enjoyed it about five minutes ago, and I’m dead serious about that.”
Ha ha, oh dear.
–Some things from team introductions:
Magglio as a Sideshow Bob-esque Simpsons character was incredibly disturbing (it didn’t even LOOK like Maggs, which was kinda disappointing).
Andy Van Slyke, when introduced, leaned in towards the camera and said, “Hi mom!” How glorious was that? ADORKABLE. You expect that from some rookie in his first ASG. To get it from one of the coaches is pure joy.
AL: BRob is soooo freakin’ tiny. Beckett was not paying attention til the last minute. Oh, he was talking to Manny. And Lowell. Lotsa Sox, jeez. Okie bows, twice. Awww. VMart has his little boy with him, both doing the peace sign. Awww. Lackey gets booed, and KRod. To their credit, they both laugh. Also sooooo tiny: Johan Santana. Posada gets booed?!?? Manny reaches out for a high five of Leyland he goes past. Ichiro does some kind of goofy adorable point with his reserve teammates. Pudge is schmoozing with ARod and Vlad. omg. Polanco gets in line… Pudge is standing next to him and pats his rump several times. IT’S THE ALL STAR GAME. HE STILL CAN’T HELP HIMSELF.
NL: Booing started as they introduced Carlos Lee, because he was standing next to the Dodgers. Lee looked amusedly over at Brad Penny and said, “oh sh-t,” which FOX was unable to bleep out. Billy Wagner is chewing gum hardcore and pauses only to nod at the camera. Opposite of soooo tiny: Chris Young, who is awkwardly tall. Oh dear, I forgot that Dmitri made it. He takes off his hat and says, self satisfied smirk and everything, “aaaaaalll right.” What. Chase Utley briefly caresses the back of Dmitri Young’s neck. What. What. Did I just hallucinate that?
–Awesome Willie Mays moment: they had him throw out the “first pitch” from centerfield to Jose Reyes. Reyes was set up to catch it, Willie looked at him and started waving, yelling, “Back up! C’mon!” Reyes moved back and sure enough, Willie threw it to him without so much as a bounce. Love that.
—Cal Ripken read the AL lineups, and when he got to Pudge he said, “A guy who controls the game just with his arm,” all admiring and such. This is true and good on Mr. Ripken for giving Pudge some love in a game where most people thought Posada should be starting (erm… probably because he should have been. WHATEVAH.)
–How bad did you all feel when Prince Fielder made that error? The poor kid. Ortiz hadn’t even been running down to first, more like barely trotting, and he just dropped the baseball. He hung his head and looked for a second like he was going to cry. Papi should have given him a hug.
–The fact that both Chris Young and Derrek Lee were on the All Star team meant it was inevitable that we would get a rerun of the Cubs/Padres girly fight from earlier this year. We didn’t really need to see it again. Derrek Lee ran away like a big ween, and neither he nor Young could land a proper punch. Everyone came away from it looking silly, except for Marcus Giles, who tried to hold back Chris Young’s 6’10 frame with his 5’7ish one, and ended up looking AWESOMELY silly.
–When Brian Roberts came around to score on Ichiro’s inside the park home run (!!), Pudge greeted him back in the dugout with a vintage Pudge butt pat. You know, not a usual baseball butt pat, but a good solid, yet lingering, whack. I hope BRob took the time to appreciate it.
–I didn’t like seeing Verlander struggle against NL hitters. Beltran tripling off the wall? All those pitches thrown? Surely it wasn’t nerves, he’s been in more tense/exciting situations than this before. I choose to believe that it’s because he was pitching to Jorge Posada. Throwing to a filthy Yankee would be enough to put most people off their pitching, I bet. (I use this same excuse for JJ Putz’s performance later in the game.)
–I realized that JJ Putz was pitching to JJ Hardy at the exact same time that McCarver did. Talk about feeling dirty. However, I felt somewhat redeemed by knowing more fun facts about the both of them than McCarver apparently did. JJ Putz, Michigan Wolverine! JJ Hardy was on an incredibly awkward episode of The Young and The Restless earlier this year! Which I watched, but only because a friend of mine who’s a Brewers fan had tipped me onto it.
–I am very happy that Polanco got an at-bat in the All Star Game, because you just know that it meant a lot to him. I am equally happy that one was all that Leyland was willing to give him.
–Irony: giving Ichiro a Chevy. Like he needs it? Like he wouldn’t prefer an infinitely better-made Japanese car anyways? (Don’t even start with me, Detroiters, I’ve taken enough flak at school for this. When American companies start making better cars, I’ll stop being such a fan of Japanese cars). Maybe he’ll give it to a charity or something.
As you may or may not know (if you follow me over at BCRS you probably do already know this), I am a BIG Ichiro fan. So that was definitely one of my favorite bits of the ASG, getting to see him play and generally rock out the ballpark like the ridiculously good baseball player that he is. AND we got to see him in a rather sharp outfit that probably no one in the universe except for Ichiro could pull off… but holy cats, he did VERY much pull it off.
–I thought, overall, Barry Bonds acquitted himself quite well. This was a big event for San Francisco and the Giants, and there was the potential for a lot of Barry-hatin’ to go down, but everything I saw with him involved made him seem normal, not irritable/irritating, and, dare I say it, like a guy with an actual sense of humor. Well done, Barry and Barry Boosters. Well done.
edit: A conversation I had with an Orioles fan about BRob’s “error” and Ichiro. This is exactly why none of you should ever IM me/get in an email conversation with me during games. This is the stuff that happens.