Tuesday, July 13, 2010

81st MLB All-Star Game

Photo courtesy Los Angeles Angels
Angel Stadium, site of tonight's All-Star Game.
For all its flaws -- and it has several -- Major League Baseball's All-Star Game remains by far the best of the all-star competitions held in all the major sports. There's still something about the midsummer classic that makes it ... well, a classic.

There should be a fair amount of intrigue to tonight's game in Anaheim. The National League, which is amazingly seeking its first victory since 1996, sends out a potent pitching staff that includes Ubaldo Jimenez, Josh Johnson, Roy Halladay and Tim Lincecum, among others. The American League counters with one of the greatest lineups ever assembled (how about that 7-8-9 of Joe Mauer, Robinson Cano and Carl Crawford?).

Nationals fans can only hope Matt Capps works his way into the game and perhaps gets to play a key role in securing a late NL lead.

All baseball fans will be interested to see what kind of tribute is planned for George Steinbrenner, who died this morning at age 80. I can only imagine what this game will be like for Derek Jeter and his Yankees teammates.

Obviously, I'm not in Anaheim for the game. But I will be watching it on TV with the rest of you. So I figured it only makes sense to provide a forum for discussion. I'll have some thoughts along the way, and if there's anything you're interested in discussing, just drop that into the comments section and I'll see what I can do.

Hope everyone enjoys the game...

Where: Angel Stadium
Gametime: 8 p.m.
TV: Fox
Radio: 980-AM, 94.3-FM, 92.7-FM.
Weather: Sunny, 76 degrees, Wind 11 mph out to RF
SS Hanley Ramirez
2B Martin Prado
1B Albert Pujols
DH Ryan Howard
3B David Wright
LF Ryan Braun
CF Andre Ethier
RF Corey Hart
C Yadier Molina
(P Ubaldo Jimenez)

RF Ichiro Suzuki
SS Derek Jeter
1B Miguel Cabrera
CF Josh Hamilton
DH Vladimir Guerrero
3B Evan Longoria
C Joe Mauer
2B Robinson Cano
LF Carl Crawford
(P David Price)

8:27 p.m. -- This game isn't going to start til about 8:45 p.m. and may run past midnight, but this All-Stars Among Us tribute is well worth the delay. A very nice touch MLB added to the midsummer classic last year and should continue as an annual tradition.

8:50 p.m. -- Guess I was overly optimistic by five minutes. At long last, David Price has thrown tonight's first pitch to Hanley Ramirez.

8:59 p.m. -- Wow, Derek Jeter walks to the plate introduced by Bob Sheppard. Very nice. Gotta believe this has been an emotional day for the Yankee captain.

9:00 p.m. -- Yes, that's Scott Boras standing directly behind the plate, his arm propped up on the railing. Nice to know the super agent tries to lay low and keep himself out of the spotlight.

9:09 p.m. -- Something tells me we're not going to see very much offense in this game. And that's with Stephen Strasburg watching from home in San Diego.

9:35 p.m. -- Gotta believe Cliff Lee is really proud tonight to wear the cap of the Texas Rangers, who he has represented for so long. Oh wait, he's only been a Ranger for five days.

9:42 p.m. -- How did Ryan Braun not break his left wrist on that diving catch? Fantastic play.

9:58 p.m. -- Great chance there for the NL in the top of the fifth, but David Wright wound up stranded on third. Had he been able to advance to third on Joe Mauer's wild throw on the stolen base, he would have scored on Andre Ethier's subsequent single. So it's still scoreless at the halfway point of the game. Only fitting in the Year of the Pitcher.

10:08 p.m. -- And thanks to a horrendous throwing error by Dodgers lefty Hong-Chih Kuo, the AL has taken a 1-0 lead in the fifth. Kuo was the final player added to the NL roster, the replacement actually for injured outfielder Jason Heyward.

10:31 p.m. -- Elvis Andrus overslides second base and gets tagged out by Brandon Phillips in tonight's embarrassing moment of the game. I believe what Andrus just did is also referred to as a "Nyjer."

10:36 p.m. -- Whoa, here comes Matt Capps to face ... David Ortiz? Not exactly the matchup you were expecting.

10:39 p.m. -- Wow, Capps comes up big. Fell behind in the count 2-0, then battled back with three straight strikes, including a nasty two-seamer on the inside corner to catch Big Papi looking. Nicely done, Matt. Somewhere right now, your old man is mighty proud of you.

10:57 p.m. -- What a turn of events. Brian McCann just cleared the bases with a double to right. All of a sudden, the NL leads 3-1 in the seventh and Matt Capps is in line to earn the NL's first victory in 14 years!

11:08 p.m. -- Does the NL bullpen have nine outs in itself tonight? The fate of the free world -- well, at least the fate of the location of Game 1 of the World Series -- hangs in the balance.

11:17 p.m. -- Matt Holliday tried his best to ruin this for the National League by misplaying that fly ball to left. (The scary thing is, that wasn't the worst dropped fly ball of his career. Remember the way he blew that NLDS game at Dodger Stadium last October?) Fortunately, Adam Wainwright was able to channel his old closer mentality and come up big in striking out Torii Hunter to end the seventh. NL still leads 3-1. Capps still in line for the win.

11:31 p.m. -- Perfect eighth for Brian Wilson of the Giants, who I believe was singing "California Girls" as he walked off the mound. (Sorry, bad Beach Boys joke there.) NL now three outs away.

11:40 p.m. -- OK, here we go. The NL takes a 3-1 lead into the bottom of the ninth. It'll be Dodgers closer Jonathan Broxton trying to finish it off and preserve the win for Capps.

11:49 p.m. -- There it is! Ballgame over! National League wins! Matt Capps wins! Final score: NL 3, AL 1. The 13-year streak is no more. Game 1 of the World Series could now be at Nationals Park. Yeah, yeah, I know. But it's technically a possibility now. Had the NL lost, it would have been impossible.


natsfan1a said...

Thanks, Mark.

For those with MLB Network, they've been showing batting practice and workouts leading up to the All-Star game, and they will also have a red carpet show. (If you're into that type of thing - who am I kidding? I'll probably watch that, too. :-))

MLB Network started running a Steinbrenner retrospective earlier today, with comments from some of their regulars, fwiw.

Jim Kurtzke said...

Mark, what's your over/under on Dunn getting traded by the deadline?

court said...

Howard shouldn't be in the game, much less starting. Had Manuel including Votto over Howard, Zimmerman may have been able to beat RH in the voting. But Votto was such an obvious choice RZ had no chance.

Yet another reason to hate the Phillies.

court said...

I think the Olney report from a "baseball source" (read "agent") is just posturing from the Dunn camp - much like Rizzo's stance of entertaining offers. There's no way Rizzo will be able to get what he wants for a rental player, so I think a deal gets done at some point. I hope it happens before the offseason to send a message to other potential free agents that this is a team on the rise, not a rebuild.

I think Willingham is much better candidate to be moved since he's under team control for another year. Although I hope neither goes anywhere.

TimDz said...

@ court:
If Willingham gets moved, we better get something (or things) of significant value. I would prefer that the FO signs hammer for three to four years and Dunn for two to four (depending on what he is asking).
I also think that Rizzo won't consider anything (contract wise) until after the trading deadline, to keep his options open.

Bowdenball said...


Not only that, but Charlie Manuel is the manager, and he chose both Infante and Howard over, among others, Votto, Dunn and Zimm. And then when Heyward's injury gave him an opportunity to rectify his mistake, he instead chose another relief pitcher instead of Dunn, Zimm or Willigham (who could fill the gap in the OF).

Like you said, another reason to hate the Phillies. Honestly, I'm gonna have a hard time rooting for the NL tonight because of Manuel and the screw job the Nats got

Anonymous said...


You know, that's a good point. I didn't realize it until you said it, but I think I'd like to see the NL lose, and I'd like it to be for a reason you can directly blame on Manuel. Perhaps Omar Infante can be the last man on the bench and ground into a game ending 6-4-3 with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 9th.

Anonymous said...

Ok, so... right... it's in an AL park, so top of the 9th. You get the point.

Section 222 said...

How about Infante and Ryan Howard both strike out in key situations and Scott Rolen makes a late inning error that allows the AL to pull within 1, but Capps comes on to save the win?

Traveler8 said...

Please, stop with the schadenfreude! I want all those NL pitchers to be the game story for tomorrow, and would be quite happy for Ryan Howard to blast one for a 1-0 score.

Naturally Yours said...

Anybody else seen/heard this? "Phenom", all about our own you-know-who, from the excellent Baseball Project (Steve Wynn, Peter Buck, Scott McGaughey, Linda Pitmon)
"And they say that I'm the most in The Washington Post..."

natsfan1a said...

Phillies? Gag...gack...blechh...patooie...humph!

Wouldn't mind seeing Capps or former Nat Marlon Byrd come up big, though...

Harrison Goodman said...

Mark not having to write a gamer on deadline tonight: Priceless

Jim Webster said...

Forty-nine minutes after eight and they're just ready for the first pitch. MLB and Fox sure do their darnedest to tick off baseball fans.

Mark Zuckerman said...

Harrison: Come on, you know I miss that stuff. There's no greater rush in this profession than scrambling to get a game story from a big event like this turned in before deadline. (And then no worse letdown than finding out with two outs in the ninth that it's too late to make any papers.)

Harrison Goodman said...

Yes and then the rush of realizing the game made like 2% of the papers the next day even though we were working till 1 a.m.

Mrs. Z. said...

Having now reached our Kuo-ta, we ask not for whom the Bell tolls; it tolls for Heath.

Michael J. Hayde said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael J. Hayde said...

And Big PopOut strikes (out) again. Way to go, Matt!

LoveDaNats said...

So Manuel takes out Roy Halladay to put in Matt Capps to face David Ortiz. Matt, you did the Nats proud! Good job!

A DC Wonk said...

Awesome play by Byrd, eh?

Anonymous said...

LE'S GO CAPPS! N.L. wins! And he beat a stinkin' Yankee, to boot (Phil Hughes), so eat that Steinbrenner. Oh wait, you can't eat anything anymore! Bwahahahahaha! Thank you Matt Capps!

Matt in DC said...

Hey Mark, here's a question for you: If McCann strikes out, and the rest of the game goes exactly the same, who's the MVP? Price with 2.0 IP? Cano who went 0-1 with 1 RBI? Are there even any other candidates?

K.D. said...

Once started it was a fun game last night. Way to represent, Mr. Capps! So proud. Manuel out managed Girardi last night. Infante is a class act and had tons of fun just standing and cheering at the rail. Personally I don't think Zimm felt he was having an Allstar season.

natsfan1a said...

Yep, that was a good game, after it *finally* started. NL takes one from AL (about time), and it was great to see my Capps/Byrd wish come true as well. Went to bed with a smile on my face, believe you me. :-)

Mark Zuckerman said...

Matt in DC: That's a great question. The AL's lone run was unearned and it scored on a sac fly, so it would have been tough to give MVP to a position player. But how about Jose Valverde? He wound up striking out the side in the top of the ninth. In reality, he did that trailing by two runs. But suppose he did it to save a 1-0 victory. That would be worthy of an MVP, in my opinion.

320R2S15 said...

Pretty nice production, couple of observations

The traditional home white and away greys were a nice touch. I hate the softball shirts they wear these days.

The music was sub par, I now I'm showing my age, bur who were those people anyway?

McArver needs to retire.

Did Matt Capps represent or what?

Doc said...

There is a God! A Nats wins the All-Star Game!!!!

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