Well, that was a pretty good All-Star Game. I mean, it wasn’t the total Royals takeover from last year. But Ned Yost was still making the lineup and calling the shots, Kelvin Herrera had a nice 1–2–3 inning in relief, and Eric Hosmer and Salvador Perez had the two biggest hits of the night. Off former Royal Johnny Cueto for added KC flavor.
It was a good, competitive game to watch that really summed up where baseball is today: the team that got to the middle of the game with the lead had an immense advantage as they rolled out one dominant reliever after another. The National League did make it interesting, getting runners on against everyone except Herrera. The 8th was especially dicey with the bases loaded, two outs, and a 3–2 count on Aledmys Diaz before a terrific fastball right on the paint from Will Harris ended the threat. The only thing that would have made it more Royals-y was if Hosmer and Perez had saved their second inning homers for the bottom of the 8th. And instead of home runs, they sandwiched doubles around a couple walks or singles. And Lorenzo Cain was the guy scoring the winning run.
With the Royals 7 games behind Cleveland and 4.5 out of the Wild Card spot at the break, I hope last night wasn’t the final great moment of the Royals two-plus year run.
Aside from the outcome, my biggest impression of the game was the confirmation that I just don’t have any depth of knowledge of today’s players despite how much baseball I watch. I know just about everyone from the American League. But other than the superstars from the NL, I kept grabbing my iPad to look up who second-tier players were. Yes, I watch a ton of baseball. But it’s all Royals. I never watch the ESPN evening games or Fox’s Saturday games. I don’t watch nightly highlights shows. Most notably, I don’t read a daily paper anymore, so there’s no pouring through box scores from both leagues each morning or Sunday reviews of the league leaders.
For example, I knew Johnny Cueto was having a fantastic year in San Francisco. But I had no idea he was 13–1 with a 2.47 ERA.
It’s not hard to find a website to review the stats I used to read in Sunday’s paper. Or pull up the standings in my At Bat app. But I’ve just never created that routine when I transitioned to digital. So I know all about the Royals, but that’s about it.
Some other random observations from the evening:
- I think I’m required to say in my ASG posts that I dig how players still break out wacky shoes for the game. They’re a lot cooler now than in the 80s when guys just put on white spikes for the night.
- M and L walked into the room in the first inning. When I told them Cueto was pitching, they started jumping up-and-down and began singing the Johnny Cueto song. Good times.
- I love Big Papi. But I thought they overdid things with making the game about him. He’s a Hall of Famer, an iconic player of his generation, and obviously immensely respected by his fellow players. But coming out of the dugout to greet him when he was pinch run for? I thought it was telling that the crowd reaction seemed a bit muted. It’s not like it was Hank Aaron. Granted, I think these celebrations of departing stars are overdone with everyone.
- San Diego seems like a nice city.
And now we’re off for the second half of the season. The Royals sure could use a starter (or two), some good luck on the injury front, and a nice six-week hot streak from everyone in the lineup.