Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A Bronx Tale

What a night!

Just when you thought nothing could live up to Josh Hamilton's Ruthesque performance from Monday, the 2008 All Star Game became an instant classic.

Overall, NYC and Yankee Stadium represented the Mid Summer Classic just like that, a Classic. Hamilton stole the show in Monday's Home Run Derby with an epic performance for the ages. The red carpet parade up Sixth Avenue was freakin sweet. Hall of Famers galore. And of course a game for the ages in The House That Ruth Built.

Probably the only thing missing was the absence of longtime Yankee Stadium PA announcer Bob Shepherd, a Stadium staple.

Tuesday also failed to bring an emotional pregame ceremony similar to the 99 game at Fenway when Ted Williams rode around the field in a golf cart. George Steinbrenner doesn't have that kind of cred.

I thought for sure the starting lineups would trot out one by one from Monument Park.
I already had chills and my eyes were starting to water. So of course I was greatly disappointed when the starters did the regular walk out from the dugout. And why was there a lady standing at the top of the dugout cuing each starter? I'm sure they could hear their names being called and knew what to do.

I later heard a rumor that MLB canceled the Monument Park walk because of Shepherd's absence.

But still, no Tino, no Paul O'neil, no Jim Leyritz, no Bernie, no Cone or Wells? Not even Scott Brosius or Aaron Boone.

I will give Terry Francona major props. Pulling A-Rod and Jeter in the middle of an inning so they could receive standing ovations. Classy. Francona even batted Jeter second in the order over his own player Dustin Pedroia. And of course, giving Rivera the call with one out in the ninth. Maybe the only thing I would hold against Francona, not selecting Mike Mussina.

As for the game itself, it looked as if the game would end in two hours and really lacked any excitement. Then J.D. tied the game with a line drive two out homer to left. Jonathan (prick) Papelbon's appearance in the 8th, the crowd booing, chanting for Rivera and "overrated."

Mariano Rivera's highly anticipated appearance in the ninth was awesome! Even before, seeing Joe Girardi in the bullpen catching Rivera's warmup pitches. When Rivera made his patented walk in from the bullpen with "Enter Sandman" blaring through the stadium speakers, FOX cut to a commercial half way through. What the hell are you thinking!

Yeah the game was way to long, but for anybody who stayed up to the end, it was worth it. Great pitching, great defense, and an unfortunate night for the Marlins' Dan Uggla.

Uggla set an All Star record with 3 errors, 3 strikeouts, an 0-4 night and grounded into a double play. Ouch!

How about all the plays at the plate! Wow! Dodgers' catcher Russell Martin really made a name for himself, and I'm sure he'll now be considered as the best defensive player in the game. Martin even threw out Ian Kinsler trying to steal second. Kinsler had been caught stealing only once all year! Kinsler has 23 stolen bases up to the break.

Another guy making a name for himself, Rockies' pitcher Aaron Cook. All Cook did was get out of a no out bases loaded jam in the tenth inning. Cook went on to pitch three scoreless innings.

The biggest, and maybe the best defensive play of the night, happened in that tenth inning. With the bases loaded and two outs, Justin Morneau hit a slow roller to short. Miguel Tejada made an incredible play and throw to first to get Morneau by a half a foot and keep the NL's hopes alive.

How about Michael Young driving in the winning run in the All Star Game for the second time in the last 3 years!

When all said and done, the American League was victorious again, unbeaten in the last 12 All Star Games,with a 4-3, 15 inning marathon victory. The one negative, Boston's J.D. Drew winning the MVP at Yankee Stadium. It was pretty funny seeing the fans' reaction win Drew hit the tying homerun in the seventh inning. They weren't sure whether to cheer or boo.

To be honest with you, I didn't want the game to end. It was so much fun to watch. I guess it would have been better if the starters were all still in the game and not the reserves stealing the show and playing the majority of the game.

During one of the aerial shots of both Stadiums, Joe Buck informed the viewing audience, "There's the new Yankee Stadium, just a short train ride away from the current stadium." What? A short train ride? How bout a short walk. I'm guessing Buck has never rode the Subway.

More 2008 All Star Game highlights.

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