Posted 07/16/2009 at 01:29 AM
Chalk up another win for the American League as they maintained their mastery over their NL counterparts with Tuesday’s 4-3 win. Here are a few observations from the mid-summer classic as well as the accompanying events.
First off, the game itself. I enjoyed it, as it was my type of baseball. Good pitching, good defense (aside from some early inning mistakes), and played at a very crisp pace. Carl Crawford’s great catch was the highlight of the battle, and he was the rightful recipient of the game’s MVP Award.
I really enjoyed the pre-game festivities. The involvement of all our living Presidents, talking about the fans that were being recognized for all their community efforts, was outstanding and I thought it was a great idea to have the winners on the field along with the players prior to the game. Very cool deal!
The Home Run Derby wasn’t so cool. It went on forever. MLB needs to tweak the rules to get this thing moving a little faster. I have a suggestion along those lines. Some of you may recall the original Home Run Derby from nearly 50 years ago. Granted, the telecasts themselves were pretty awful. But that was due to primitive production values plus sappy and dull commentary. But I liked the format much better than what we have today. There was an umpire present to call strikes on pitches that the hitters didn’t swing at, and I wouldn’t mind a bit if that was brought back into play. Watching hitters take pitch after pitch is just plain boring and turned what should have been an exciting event into a marathon.
I also liked the head to head format where the combatants played a nine-inning game, getting three outs per inning. This allows the players to stay fresher, and also makes for what I believe is more tension if there’s a close battle going on. After the monotony of Monday’s three-hour plus epic, I’m hoping MLB strongly considers making some changes. The idea is to entertain rather than bore, and the idea of the Home Run Derby not concluding until well after 11 PM Eastern Time is ridiculous, as it basically shuts out the younger audience in much of the country. My guess is baseball won’t do anything about it, however, as the game’s old guard is seemingly stuck in low gear all the time.
I’d also like to see MLB add some skill competitions to the All-Star fest. There are all kinds of possibilities, and including some different types of competitions would present more opportunities to showcase players and make the event more than just a game. I’ll maintain hope the decision makers grasp the concept of gearing this event to a younger demographic as that’s something they desperately need to focus on. I just won’t hold my breath.
Ervin Santana is hoping his second half of the season is an improvement what’s taken place thus far. The Angels righty started the season on the DL and has been unable to get it together. Santana has great stuff, but he’s been getting hammered. Until he shows signs of righting the ship, he’s fade material. Oakland is not the most attractive favorite in the world, as they’re a legitimate last place team. But Dallas Braden has pitched good ball, particularly at home and the Halos are somewhat beat up right now. Good opportunity for the A’s to pick up the win tonight.