The National League’s five-run first inning against Justin Verlander immediately put the American League in a hole and it was one they couldn’t recover from.
However, the All-Star Game really isn’t something to be analysed. It’s a fun exhibition event and even though the result was one-sided, the game produced enough moments to make it enjoyable, my favourites being …
Triples all ’round. Yes, ‘chicks dig the long ball’, but true baseball connoisseurs love a triple just as much as a big fly. Pablo Sandoval, Rafael Furcal and Ryan Braun all sprinted around to third base – well, maybe not quite a sprint in Sandoval’s case – for the National League.
Flashing some leather. There were a couple of notable fielding plays. Jose Bautista made an impressive diving catch in right-field that Rick Sutcliffe initially thought was a certain ‘trap’ catch until he saw the replay and immediately admitted his mistake. Ryan Braun’s catch in left-field wasn’t quite so flashy, but the fact that it robbed former teammate Prince Fielder of a double made up for it.
The Melk-Man delivered. Melky Cabrera continued his incredible 2012 season with an MVP performance. If you’re going to wear a dazzling pair of orange shoes, you had better play well. Cabrera did just that.
I’ve got it … no I haven’t. Even the most talented players can suffer some misfortune every now and then and Bryce Harper had one of those ‘oh no’ moments when he completely lost a fly ball in the lights and stood helpless as it landed behind him. Cue his National League teammates, particularly his Washington Nationals teammates, chuckling away in the dugout.
Cheers for Chipper. Finally, it was great to see Chipper Jones receiving a rousing standing ovation as he came to bat in his final All-Star Game and even better to see the reaction to his seeing-eye single. Whether you are at the beginning of your career like Harper, or near the end like Jones, you can be sure your teammates will take every opportunity to take the mick whenever they can. Jones knew what was coming his way and joined in with the fun.
That’s the best part of the All-Star Game for me, watching the ballplayers having a good time and having some fun with it all.
The slightly more serious part to it is that the Senior Circuit’s representative in the World Series will once again get the benefit of home-field advantage thanks to their 8-0 victory. The battle to make it to the postseason and then on to that Fall Classic continues on Friday when the regular season resumes.