Thursday, July 17, 2008

They could have played all night

As you probably already know, Tuesday's All-Star Game went 15 innings and came down to a very close play at the plate. It also nearly became a pitcher's duel between Mets third baseman David Wright and Red Sox outfielder JD Drew. (Rumor has it that National League considered using Brett Favre in the 15th, but he refused to play if he wasn't starting.)

This is kind of ridiculous, seeing as only six years ago, the All-Star Game ended in a tie because the teams ran out of pitchers. Bud Selig's famed shrug summed it all up then; and even then it seemed odd that the commissioner of the entirety of Major League Baseball couldn't think of some way to keep the game going.

Now, with six years gone by and people STILL shrugging, it's just sad. Why wouldn't you have a provision in place to re-use a few pitchers at need? Granted that there's a problem in pitching a couple of innings, sitting for three hours, and then coming back into the game - it is an injury risk for what is essentially an exhibition - but at the same time, some of these guys were saying that they'd already warmed up three or four times during the course of the game before coming in.

Sadly, in a game to remember one man had a night to forget. Dan Uggla, the world-class second baseman for the Marlins, made three errors afield, and went 0-4 at the plate: three strikeouts and an inning-ending double-play. It was almost a Nick Anderson moment, except Anderson's infamous four missed free throws came in the NBA Finals, and this was just an exhibition.

(PS - Jerry Crasnick, in the above article, writes, "And despite an ending that could have been scripted by M. Night Shyamalan, Uggla acted like a player whose confidence is still intact." Because he's secretly a DEAD ALIEN! What a twist!)

(PPS - sorry, certitude again. I just can't help it. And really I'm more mad at Crasnick. The twists all came earlier, with dozens of stranded baserunners, escapes from three-on and none-out jams, and Yankee Stadium's "ghosts" seemingly putting the whammy on the Red Sox' Jonathan Papelbon and the Mets' Billy Wagner in successive half-innings. Of course, I think that the Yankee Mystique had zippo to do with either of the Yanks' rivals having bad days - 1. Papelbon's wife had been threatened by fans [stay classy, New York!], 2. Wagner's been blowing saves at a Benitezian rate this year, and 3. Boston's JD Drew won the MVP award. Still, that was more of a twist than the ending - Crasnick's never seen a sacrifice fly to win a ball game? It's not like Otis Nixon bunting into the last out of a World's Series.)

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