Ahhh, the All-Star Game! The mid-summer moment when we set aside our differences and come together as Americans to celebrate our once-and-always National Pastime.
Well, except for this year, which was ruined by the forces that want to keep us apart, that want us to continue arguing about manufactured wedge issues to distract us from the true damage being done to our sacred, national institutions.
Yes, I’m talking about those fucking terrible, straight ass uniforms.
For about the 8000th time in recent years, Major League Baseball has shown how they are clueless, tone deaf, run by the worst people, and care more about pleasing their advertising partners than catering to the fans of the game.
One of the greatest parts of baseball’s All-Star Game is always seeing the players collected from every team in the league, wearing their varied jerseys on the same field. In eras of excellent uniforms, the team/field pics were glorious, multi-hued snapshots of moment in baseball, and American, history. Even in bad years, when almost every team wears the same shade of gray on the road, it’s still fun to see the different caps scattered about the field.
But, for $ome rea$on, ba$eball decided to $crap nearly 100 year$ of tradition and ae$thetic $plendor to put the team$ in league-$pecific uniform$.
It’s not just that the idea of AL and NL uniforms was bad, it’s that they were executed so incredibly poorly. They were ugly and filled with awful design elements. One of the beauties of the All-Star Game has always been a quick glance at the screen can tell you who an unfamiliar player’s home squad is. All of that was lost, as you had to catch the camera view just right to see a player’s home logo plastered onto the All Star logo on his cap, or try to decipher the rec-league quality graphics on the fronts of their jerseys.
Honestly I’m shocked it took MLB this long to fuck up the All Star uniforms. Each year they roll out another set of “special” caps for any and every holiday that falls during the season, all of which cater to the America First/Support the Troops crowd even if the holiday has no patriotic angle. These alt caps are almost always terrible. Why MLB didn’t realize they could use the summer’s biggest showcase to force another shitty hat on the public sooner is really a small miracle.
The uniforms put me in a bad mood from the start, so most of the notes I took during the game were cranky, snarky, and cynical. Since I’ve written enough about the uniforms already, I’ll dispense with most of those and just focus on one other major point from the night.
I’ve never liked anything about Fox bothering mangers in the dugouts or miking-up players on the field during the game. In regular/postseason games, the conversations with the managers rarely provide any real insight into what’s happening during the game as they are reluctant to share any information that might put them at a disadvantage. The ASG in-game miked-up moments are usually awkward between technical difficulties and guys, you know, trying to play the game.
Last night was no different.
Freddy Freeman was solid, as he is affable and seemed eager to be involved. He did seem to have scripted some lines ahead of time. Which is fine; his segment was filled with “banter” rather than awkward pauses.
I enjoyed the Ozzie Albies and Khris Bryant segments, too, as they seemed the most like what a conversation with those guys would actually be like. They both seemed like laid back dudes who were enjoying being part of the event.
But the others? Yeesh.
Fernando Tatis Jr. is one of the great young stars in the game and is super media savvy. But his segment showed how tough it is to find guys who can speak naturally to people he can only hear while also trying to play a game. Maybe the worst broadcast moment of the night was when Joe Buck yelled into Tatis’ ear “Say something to him!” when his pal Vladimir Guerrero Jr. sauntered by after his massive home run. It seemed like a desperate attempt to salvage an awkward segment and ignored the fact that there was a 100% chance that Tatis was going to say something without being prompted. I wish Tatis chose Spanish for his comments as an F-you to Buck and Fox, but I think he’s too nice for that and just used the language Guerrero was most comfortable with.
Talking the Xander Bogaerts while he’s in the batter’s box seemed like a horrible idea, and made for bad TV. It also kept Fox from giving any attention to Guerrero Jr. nearly killing Max Scherzer with a wicked line drive and then going over and to hug him in apology afterward. They were too busy trying to get Bogaerts to share his approach in the box.
AL closer Liam Hendricks was miked-up, too, but apparently couldn’t hear Buck. Fox kept his mike on, though, which allowed us to hear his grunts on each pitch and a shouted “GODDAMMIT!” when he spiked a breaking ball. Later he dropped a clear f-bomb. It all came together when he conferenced with catcher Mike Zunino and Zunino advised him to keep quiet because of his mike.
“It’s ok, it’s not working,” we clearly heard Hendricks reply.
Thank goodness he didn’t say something truly offensive.
Trying to talk to batters in the box and pitchers on the bump is taking this too far. They should be focused on playing the game safely, not on what Joe Buck is saying in their ear or what they might accidentally say that goes out over the airwaves.
I’m open to trying new things tp spice up the broadcast. Sports coverage shouldn’t be static over time. If it was, we wouldn’t always be able to see the time and score or get other information on the screen. We wouldn’t have constant replays from 100 angles. And so on.
But when these innovations distract from the game rather than add to it, someone at Fox has to make the call to scale back rather than add another layer every year. Then again, all the attention they put everywhere other than the action on the field is a reminder of what the All-Star Game has become: a massive marketing event where the game is secondary to moving product.
That said, maybe all those distractions were a good thing. Baseball is pretty boring right now, and the game was indicative of that. Lots of swings-and-misses punctuated by a few home runs. At least the game wasn’t interrupted by a bunch of replay reviews.
This long run of American League dominance still feels weird to me, as I bet it does to most children of the ‘70s and ‘80s. We were raised on the idea that the National League always was, and always would be, superior. Sure enough, most Julys the NL would come out and beat the AL no matter how stacked the AL roster was.
My first sports gambling moment came when I was 8 and my uncle bet me a nickel that the National League would win. Dave Parker’s unforgettable outfield assist was the capper on a night when I first discovered sports bitterness and cemented in the idea that the AL was inferior.
Even after the 26 wins in 32 years, though, it feels very strange to me that the AL runs the game.
Finally, a shout out to the many, many, many, many minority-owned businesses in Cobb County Georgia who were decimated by MLB’s cruel decision to yank the All-Star Game away from them. Cobb County has long been a bastion of racial equality and minority empowerment and it is a damn shame that they got barreled over by the leftist, socialist, critical racial theory, politically correct agenda.