Maybe someday your name will be in lights
St. Louis has been waiting more than 40 years to host an All-Star Game. It certainly seems like it was worth the wait.
As an outsider who swooped into town three days ago and who has become a regular attendee of the Midsummer Classic, I have been legitimately impressed with the way the people here rally around their baseball.
And I’m far from alone in that opinion.
“This has got to be the best baseball city I’ve been to,” Twins closer Joe Nathan said. “It’s almost like a football Sunday when the Cardinals are in town.”
Last year was all about paying tribute to Yankee Stadium and the legends who have inhabited it over the years. But this year has taken the game back to basics and allowed us to soak in the flavor of the city a little bit. And yes, that includes toasted ravioli at every stop along the way.
For me, a big highlight came last night, when the legendary Chuck Berry rocked the All-Star Gala.
I saw Chuck at one of those Cleveland rib cook-offs around 1995, and I thought he was old then. But he’s still got it. He doesn’t get as low to the ground for the duckwalk. I’m pretty sure he only played one chord the entire show. And he most definitely got confused after an instrumental break in the middle of “Back in the U.S.A.,” when he began singing the lyrics to “Let it Rock” (which had already been played about five songs earlier). But if you can’t get behind Chuck Berry and fellow St. Louis native Nelly dueting on a show-closing “Johnny B. Goode,” you’re no friend of mine.
Well, we’ve done all the pre-partying and interviewing and Derby-watching (just a shade under three hours… nice). Now, it’s time for the main event. So let’s get to it.
AMERICAN LEAGUE (37-40-2): RF Ichiro Suzuki, SS Derek Jeter, C Joe Mauer, 1B Mark Teixeira, LF Jason Bay, CF Josh Hamilton, 3B Michael Young (Evan Longoria was scratched), 2B Aaron Hill, RHP Roy Halladay.
NATIONAL LEAGUE (40-37-2): SS Hanley Ramirez, 2B Chase Utley, 1B Albert Pujols, RF Ryan Braun, LF Raul Ibanez, 3B David Wright, CF Shane Victorino, C Yadier Molina. RHP Tim Lincecum.
EXCRUCIATING MINUTIA OF THE DAY…
- The Boston media members gathered here have Victor Martinez on their minds. It’s been reported all season that the Red Sox have interest in Martinez, but the Indians hold a $7 million option on him for next season and are inclined to keep him, unless they’re completely bowled over.
- Between Lee and Martinez, I’d say Martinez is much, much more likely to remain a member of the Tribe long-term. Call me naïve, but I really believe his love for this organization is genuine (witness the below-market contract he signed to stay here long-term). Perhaps that would help the Indians work out an extension with him sometime in the next year. And to the Indians, his value as a mentor to the young Latin guys, as a leader on an off the field and as a productive member of the lineup would be extremely difficult to replace. You could argue that he’s become the face of the franchise.
- President Barack Obama is tossing the ceremonial first pitch to Pujols. He’ll be the fourth president (fifth time) to throw an All-Star first pitch. Franklin D. Roosevelt was the first in 1937, and George H.W. Bush was the most recent, in 1992.
- The NL is 4-0 in the previous four All-Star games in which a U.S. president has thrown out a ceremonial first pitch. How un-American is that?
- Longoria was scratched because of an infected ring finger on his right hand. He was replaced on the AL roster by Angels third baseman Chone Figgins.
- This is the fifth All-Star game to be played in St. Louis, and, of course, the first in the new Busch Stadium. Only four other cities have hosted at least five All-Star Games. The others are: New York (8), Chicago (7), Cleveland (5) and Pittsburgh (5).
- A total of 25 All-Star Games have been decided by one run, including each of the last three and four of the last six.
- Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera are both making their 10 appearances in the All-Star Game. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, they are the only pair of teammates ever to be named to the All-Star team with their current team at least 10 times.
- Eight participants in tonight’s game have represented both leagues in the All-Star Game. They are: Jason Bay, Francisco Cordero, Brian Fuentes, Dan Haren, Ted Lilly, Francisco Rodriguez, Johan Santana and Miguel Tejada.
- The Phillies have their entire starting outfield on the All-Star team. That’s happened 12 other times previously.
- Oakland’s Andrew Bailey is the only rookie here.
- You might have heard that the AL is unbeaten in the last 12 All-Star Games. Tends to get mentioned now and then. That’s the longest such streak in All-Star history.
- You heard it here 378th: The NL will win tonight. And in case you were unaware, this time it counts!
Enjoy the game.