ASG ’17

Some All Star Game, huh!?!? So good that I waited a full day before sharing my thoughts on it.[1]

I’m being sarcastic: the game kind of sucked. Under most circumstances a tense, 2–1 game that goes 10 innings would be highly compelling. But it’s the freaking All Star Game in a year of the juiced ball. We want to see homers soaring through the South Florida air. We want runs, baby!

Worse, unlike a 2–1 game played during the regular season, this wasn’t a tight affair because two pitchers were throwing brilliance at each other. When the managers run a new pitcher out every inning, there’s no one to earn/deserve the credit or build the tension with the viewers.

Anyway, I found myself spending as much time scrolling through Twitter and Instagram, or otherwise checking things on my iPad as I was paying attention to the game. Of course, I might have been doing that anyway even if the game was exciting, so warped has my brain become by constantly flooding it with feeds.

A few observations:

  • People love to talk about what’s wrong with baseball. The games take too long, there are too many strikeouts, not enough action, etc. etc. etc. I felt like MLB fed into those arguments with how they timed the pregame activities. During Monday’s Home Run Derby, the constant refrain was to watch the ASG “at 7:30 tomorrow on Fox.” Which we all know means the game probably starts right after 8:00, because there are going to be all kinds of extended pregame activities that require airtime. And that’s fine. But then they save the excellent honoring of the Latino Hall of Famers and group first pitch until after 8:00, too. So first game pitch doesn’t come until after 8:20 Eastern, nearly an hour after the broadcast began. When people have 1000 channels of other things they can watch, you can’t stretch shit out like that, especially when it’s just for an exhibition game.
  • Worse, Fox runs a freaking ad for their own college football coverage immediately before the first pitch. Kind of sums up the current state of American sports.
  • Fox is always going to push the boundaries in their broadcasts, especially when it gives them a chance to force players and managers to talk to them during the game. I thought it was dumb to have Ken Rosenthal and Tom Verducci ask the lead off hitters about their approaches seconds before they stepped to the plate. Neither player seemed super excited about it. Those moments summed up the current state of sports media: two of the best baseball writers out there are reduced to asking weak questions of reluctant-to-participate athletes. Having A-Rod walk around the field and talk to players between innings was also dumb.
  • And I was prepared to think mic-ing up George Springer and Bryce Harper during their defensive innings was dumb. But that turned out to be kind of cool. I thought both players handled it well, gave interesting responses and observations, and – thankfully – it didn’t interfere with action on the field. Until Harper asked Joe Buck a football question. COME ON! You just talked about how great the future of baseball was with all the young guys coming up, then you willingly pivot to the NFL.
  • I watch a ton of baseball. But 95% of it is the Royals. Without This Week In Baseball, a Saturday game of the week, The Sporting News, or me getting a morning paper with good MLB coverage, I honestly don’t have a great idea of what’s going on around the leagues. So there were several moments of “Who is this guy?” for me. That’s totally my bad. If I put the effort into it, it could still be like 1983 where I had deep knowledge of every player in the game.
  • Both a shame and unsurprising that there seemed to be more Yankees fans than Marlins fans in the house.
  • Also a shame that Aaron Judge seems like such a good dude. I always found it easy to root against Derek Jeter, for a variety of reasons. And maybe I’ll hate Judge in due time, especially if he leads the Yankees back to dominance. But for now, I kind of like the guy. You can’t deny being impressed by his unreal first half. We’ll see if he can keep it going.
  • Pittsburgh’s Josh Harrison wins the best shoes award, going with one gold cleat and one white cleat. Harper’s Jose Fernandez tribute cleats were solid, too. Yadier Molina’s C3PO catching get up was a little much, though.
  • L watched about the first 7 innings with me. I didn’t really explain the concept of the game to her beforehand, and she doesn’t know a thing about the differences in the leagues. So she was pretty confused for much of the night. “Which team do we want to win? Why is Salvy catching for that guy on the Red Sox? Why isn’t Moose playing now?”
  • I very much wanted the American League to win, just because that’s the way it’s been since I first watched the All-Star Game back in 1979. But it made me sad that Wade Davis gave up the game-winning homer.
  • My man Dave V. had a fine comment immediately after Robby Cano’s blast, “That’s some sort of crazy 2012 irony.” For those who don’t get the reference immediately, Cano was booed mercilessly in Kansas City in ’12 when he failed to pick Royal Billy Butler for the Home Run Derby. To the delight of the booing Royals fans, Cano failed to hit a ball out in his turn. Davis may not be a Royal anymore, but as it hurt Royals fans to watch him fail, perhaps Robby got a measure of revenge.
  • A rather boring game with few memorable moments. And now we have the extended break with no teams returning to play until tomorrow. MLB really knows how to screw itself.

Next week I’ll share some thoughts about the Royals prospects in the last two weeks before the trade deadline and through the second half. Things have changed a wee bit since the last time I wrote about them. Hopefully they haven’t swung back the other way before I get a chance to write.


  1. Which says something, as my ASG post has been a tentpole of my summer content for 14 years.  ↩