Thursday, July 16, 2009

Yo, Meathead!

Some musings at the All-Star break.…

(Sorry, Ed, but I was too upset at the Mets' freefall to pick my own set of All-Stars!)

Let’s start with the All-Star Game itself. I almost never watch the All-Star Game. I think the last time I saw the game from start to finish must have been at least ten years ago. But this year, I was curious to see what our dear president, Barack Obama, would add to the spectacle on Tuesday night.

I was a little excited, and a little disappointed.

It was fun to see Obama throw out the ceremonial first pitch to Albert Pujols, though I’m not sure why Pujols was backstopping. I get the idea that the game was in St. Louis, but Yadier Molina, a Cardinals catcher, was also on the roster, so why not have him receive the pitch? Well, no big deal—Pujols certainly is deserving of the honor. I think it’s pretty silly that people are being critical that Obama floated the pitch—at least he made it to the plate! And though this is a sports blog, not political commentary, I find it interesting that our previous president, who used to own the Texas Rangers, never was asked to throw out the first pitch at an All-Star Game. There’s a lesson there, but I’ll let you figure out what it is.…

Obama made it the broadcast booth with Joe Buck and Tim McCarver for the bottom of the second. He kept the banter light, discussing his ceremonial pitch, the White Sox jacket he was wearing (was there, perhaps, a bit of Kevlar underneath?), and the season in general. I was definitely entertained but was hoping that Barack would stick around for more than just a half-inning.

Being something of a National League baby myself, since the NL plays the purest form of the game, I was a little bummed that the American League won yet again, but what can you do? It only rubs salt in the wound that the game now decides home-field advantage for the World Series. I always hated that rule—home-field for the championship should go to the team with the better record, plain and simple.

But it was a good game, for what it’s worth. It was close, and the pitching and defense were mostly worthy of an All-Star Game. The AL won fair and square, and Tampa’s Carl Crawford got the MVP, mainly due to an outstanding catch that robbed Brad Hawpe of Colorado of an almost-certain home run. It was the first time that the MVP went to a player who did not score a run or have an RBI.

A few other notes:

Everyone knows by now that my allegiance is with the Mets in the NL and the A’s in the Al. However, now that I live outside Seattle, it’s much harder to keep up with the A’s this year because they’re so bad. (As of this writing, the A’s were the third-worst team in all of baseball. Yeesh!) If I still lived down in Oakland, I’d be going to the games, and I’d be on top of the nitty-gritty details of the team. Here is Washington, I know the A’s stink, and so it’s more difficult to pay attention. Imagine my chagrin when I heard that the lone A’s All-Star was Andrew Bailey. My first thought when I heard this was, “Who?” Now I know he’s their new closer, but it was quite a jolt to realize that the team who I’ve seen live perhaps five to ten times more than any other team was sending a complete stranger to me to the Midsummer Classic.

How about Pedro Martinez going to the Phillies? As a Mets fan, how could I possibly hope to find anything positive in that development? As much as I like Pedro and wish him the best on a personal level, I can’t help hoping that Pedro crashes and burns as a Phillie, perhaps allowing the Mets to climb back into contention in the second half after all their injuries left them struggling as they went into the break.

The biggest surprise so far must be the Texas Rangers, who, after years of awful baseball, are only a game and a half out of first behind Anaheim in the AL West. Kudos to the Angels for being able to focus so well after the death of one of their starting pitchers, Nick Adenhart, in April.

So here we go into the second half. Everyone buckle up!


Ed Attanasio said...

Good points all, Meat. You've taken a few hot topics, marinated then, tenderized them and then served them up with a nice sauce and a creativbe garnish. Well done!

Michael Burgan said...

Hey Matt,

I always try to watch the All-Star game if only to see what the Sox players do, and it was nice to Youk and Papelbon do well. But watching them since the break has been painful - though thankfully they are still not as bad as your Mets. So when you make it back east some time, we should see a game at the new field; can you believe I never went to Shea? Glad to see the recent posts (you're doing better than me...) and hope all is well.