Monday, July 14, 2008

Hey now you're an All-Star

It’s time once again for the big mid-summer’s classic – the All-Star game, held this year in historic Yankee Stadium soon to be torn down because they can’t jam enough luxury boxes into it. Come on you non-baseball fans, there may be some humorous tid bits in this post for you too.

To make the game fair they just start by giving the hapless National League a 3-0 lead.

Now that the All-Star game COUNTS I notice a much greater intensity on the part of the Seattle Mariner and Pittsburgh Pirate players for that coveted home field advantage in the World Series.

What good is the home run derby when elite power hitters like Alex Rodriguez decline to participate? Come on, Madonna, let him play.

Best home run derby moment was a few years ago when Barry Bonds stepped up to the plate and the Astros bullpen catcher signaled for an intentional walk.

Does anybody in their right mind keep score of an All-Star game?

The All-Star game is the only time a member of the Texas Rangers is ever on national television.

A number of ace reporters have blasted the fans for voting in Boston catcher Jason Varitek who’s hitting only .220. That’s fine except he’s a reserve so players voted him in not the fans.

Only one player (not active) was selected in All-Star games every year of his career. Answer below. Hint: It’s not Coco Crisp or Choo Choo Coleman or Hee Sop Choi.

Here's what I'd REALLY like to see in an All-Star game -- a benches clearing brawl. Would guys get suspended from future All-Star games? Would Yankees and Red Sox start wailing on each other even though they're on the same team?

Remember the year Lou Whittaker forgot to pack his uniform? He had to buy a jersey from a concession stand and he wrote his number on the back with a Sharpie.

NL manager Clint Hurdle did not name Joe Torre to his coaching staff so the former pinstripe manager won’t be returning to Yankee Stadium for one last time. And he couldn’t be more thrilled.

Josh Groban will sing “God Bless America” and Sheryl Crow will attempt the national anthem.

When the Indians decided to trade C.C. Sabathia there was a huge frenzy. He was like a Snickers Bar in a fat farm. Anyone notice that he didn’t make the All-Star squad? Same with Rich Harden.

Another question: Had Sabathia been selected, which team would he play for? He was with Cleveland in the American League and now is with Milwaukee in the National League. Harden went from the American League A’s to the National League Cubs.

This exact situation happened a few years ago. Carlos Beltran was voted into the starting line up of the AL as an outfielder of the Royals. Between then and the game he was traded to the Astros in the NL. Originally he was told he just couldn't play in the game at all (that'll show him for getting traded!) but when Ken Griffey Jr. bowed out due to injury he was allowed to take his spot on the NL roster.

At least there’s defense in a baseball All-Star game. Were it played like its NBA counterpart (or in Colorado) the final score would be 69-58.

The bunt sign is the third base coach yelling “bunt”!!

If you’re a relief pitcher and you’re not a closer you’ve got no shot. Several have better statistics than the glory guys who got in. Sorry to say it but “Chicks dig the long ball, not middle relief”.

And Fox analyst, Steve Lyons on my KABC radio show recently felt that there should be a spot for utility players. That’ll happen the day they give Tonys to understudies.

Fun betting pool: Which player will get seriously stabbed by a broken maple bat?

Kevin Youkilis is Jewish. Ian Kinsler and Ryan Braun are both half Jewish. So there are two Jews in the All-Star game. And then there’s Alex Rodriguez studying the Kabbalah.

More people watch the Home Run Derby than divisional playoff games (this is true).

I like the fact that every team has to have at least one representative to the All-Star game. That way viewers can say, “Hey, Kansas City is still in the league!”

There is one Los Angeles Dodger but three Tampa Bay Rays on the rosters. As it should be.

Now that you can vote on-line from anywhere in the world I bet American Idol David Cook got more votes for centerfield than Andruw Jones.

Joe DiMaggio is the only player to have played in All-Star games every year of his career.

The All-Star Game is a lot like the Academy Awards. It never lives up to the hype, you don’t recognize half the stars, and it’s usually too long, but every year you gotta be there. See you next summer in St. Louis.


Ray Randolph said...

I'd like to see them run the bases clockwise in the All-Star game. Something different.

And speaking of Andruw Jones, is the "w" silent like his bat?

Bill said...

The NL actually has more teams... 16-14. The AL has more talent almost entirely because of money. The Yankees and Red Sox pour money into their teams, so other AL teams have to do the same to compete. But there has been some redistribution of talent lately, so the NL isn't as bad off as they used to be.

Spencer said...

"What good is the home run derby when elite power hitters like Alex Rodriguez decline to participate?"

Your powers of prognostication were impeccable ;)

Frank Abe said...

Ken, Ichiro has also been an All-Star every year of his career. From "Ichiro makes his eighth consecutive appearance in the Midsummer Classic, and his seventh time as a starter." Ichiro was an All-Star in his first year in 2001, and every year since.

KEN LEVINE said...


Good catch. Thanks.


I guess I should have specified entire career that is now completed. Many players were all-stars the first ten years or so but in the last few didn't make it.

Anonymous said...

Sorry Ken, but the Yankee Clipper missed the All-Star game in both 1946 and 1950. He played in 141 and 116 games in each of those seasons, respectively. But as they were the only two in which he failed to hit .300, he did not make the teams those two years.

Bonnie Burn's Hubby

Anonymous said...

Sorry, it was 1951 and not 1950.


KEN LEVINE said...

Sorry Bonnie's hubby but Jolting Joe was selected for the all-star game both of those years, just didn't play.

Anonymous said...

Could be, but that makes us both wrong. You stated, "Joe DiMaggio is the only player to have PLAYED in All-Star games every year of his career." As Stephen Colbert would put it, "I accept your apology".

But who really cares? Tomorrow's game and your entertaining blog are what really matter, and not Joe D's. record. Go N.L.


Dave said...

Hey, I keep score of the All-Star Game! (Can't guarantee my sanity, though.)

Although I'm usually in rehearsal for a show, so I can watch it later and allot enough slots in the scorebook for the actual lineups.

emily said...

Correction: Chicks actually dig middle relief, not long balls.

DodgerGirl said...

My favorite all-star-oddness story is Jeff Shaw showing up in a Dodger uniform despite never having played a single game for the boys in blue.

Hoping for Better in Seattle said...

I like to occasionally keep the official score of a game though it requires a commitment to focus and no garlic fries breaks. But not an All Star game. There's not a scorebook big enough because they keep making all these hard-to-deep-up-with substitutions.

fitz said...

>>every year you gotta be there.

If you're rich. $750 for a seat at a meaningless game?


Doug Walsh said...

I watch the All-Star Game because you never know when you might get another chance to see Tommy Lasorda hit with a flying bat.

Best All-Star Game memory is when A-Rod graciously (two words that have never gone together before) let Cal Ripken play shortstop for an inning of his final season, then Cal belted a homerun. It was a cupcake pitch, but still... pretty awesome.

And I don't even like that guy.

The Curmudgeon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
A. Buck Short said...

They run clockwise in Australia.

STOP IT already. Still trying to get over Miss Dominican Republic coming out in Sunday’s Miss Universe pageant sporting Yankee pinstripes as her “national costume.” Honest.

Hey, I was surfing the channels, OK? Happened to land on NBC and Miss DR was up. Then I was up (thanks Emily for already extending our entendre streak). Had to change channels when the wife walked in. You know we’ve won the cold war when Trump selects Vietnam as the site of this year’s pageant. Now you also know why China has banned dog meat from all the Olympic restaurant menus. (AP July 11 BEIJING – “Canine cuisine is being sent to the doghouse during next month’s Beijing Olympic Games.”) To paraphrase Gerry Mulligan on cultural relativism, “A family from Hai Phong polished off that thing on Donald Trump’s head as an appetizer.”

Spoiler: for those who missed this year’s excitement, I know who’s already been pre-selected as next year’s Miss USA contestant, Chevy Chase.

BTW, aren't whatever Kabalistic tendencies one chooses to adopt pretty much cancelled out by having the name Madonna? Thanks for these awkward segues, but technically there is nothing to actually contradict the statement that I’ve been selected for All-Star Games in every year of my professional baseball career. Now if you’ll excuse, have to get back to finishing the promotional jingle, “Are you ready for All-Star Wednesday?”

adam _______________________ said...

For a critical blog that usually never fails to appease need for the caustic, I'm shocked that there's no criticism of the fact that the MLB is still using an exhibition game to decide home field advantage in the World Series.

Go Lou.

The Curmudgeon said...

I thought it was nice of the Cubs to open up their roster this year for some players on other teams to come to New York and play, too. Gosh, I hope it doesn't backfire on them.... They really think they are playing for home field advantage.

And seriously, if the NL roster isn't just a matter of Cubs-plus, how could anyone explain the selection of Carlos "Meltdown" Marmol?

Meanwhile, my son the conspiracy theorist figures that the reason White Sox third baseman (and soon to be free agent) Joe Crede and his 17 errors got selected this year (for the first time!) as a reserve was to permit Terry Francona and the Boston staff to pitch him and his agent, Scott Boras, about taking up similar responsibilities next year in Fenway. Without tampering, see?

VP81955 said...

The last time the National League won an All-Star game, I was there (the Vet in Philadelphia, 1996).

As a Nationals fan, I hope Cristian Guzman plays, and doesn't embarrass himself or get hurt; for everyone else on the Nats this year, it's been either one or the other, or both. (And Ken, Nats lead radio man Charlie Slowes -- whom you'll see next weekend -- left Tampa Bay for D.C. in 2005, which means he's yet to broadcast a winning season in 11 years in the booth. That's like working in Pittsburgh.)

Stacey said...

Nice to see someone other than me thinks Sheryl Crow is over rated and can't really sing well. I still think she got her big record deal with other "talents"

John said...

I'm surprised they're not playing 4 1/2 innings at Yankee Stadium and 4 1/2 innings at Shea -- not to also mark that stadium's demise, but so Fox would have an added hour or so to jam in their summer promos and MLB could charge another 55,000 fans full price to watch half a game.

Mike Barer said...

I believe that the Oakland A's had Mike Epstein "The Next Hank Greenberg" and Ken Holtzman "The Next Sandy Koufax" playing on their team at the same time. Speaking of Jewish players.

Buttermilk Sky said...

Did I miss someone, or was the "Home Run Derby" open only to white players? Where were Ryan Howard, Prince Fielder, Carlos Beltran, David Ortiz (OK, he's been on the DL), not to mention A-Rod and Derek Jeter?

DodgerGirl said...

Yeah, whites only. And those players you mentioned have to drink from a separate water fountain as well. *eye roll*

Lots of players elect not to participate in the home run derby. It's not mandatory.

The Crutnacker said...

Hey Ken, how about a shout out for the AAA All Star Game, tomorrow in Louisville at Louisville Slugger Field.

Personally, I've stopped watching the All Star game since Lenn Sakata never once got elected to the team.

I can't watch the Home Run Derby because it is just too hard on the horses.

Anonymous said...

"Josh Groban will sing “God Bless America” and Sheryl Crow will attempt the national anthem."

Yep, you nailed this one. Crow was strange. Groban was sensational. The ballgame was the ballgame - or is - it's still going and going.

Anonymous said...

Seattle Mariner and Pittsburgh Pirate players ...

Grammatically I don't want to be a dick. Yet, I was corrected on this one by my dick bosses when I worked for a major League team some years ago.

Let me state I am by no means a grammarian. Yet a team's name is Mariners and Pirates, not singular.

So Seattle Mariners and Pittsburgh Pirates players ... is actually the proper way to write this. So I've been told.

Now I did it your way too.

The argument with my weasel boss went all the way to a Stanford Grammarian who said technically Giants is correct. To which my boss became even more smug than usual, until the Stanford grammar guru said, "Yet, we are talking baseball here, so I think you can allow GIant in some instances."

Cardinal cop out. (Stanford is the Cardinal, a color not a bird. Unless you work for ESPN, then it becomes Cardinals.)

The argument continued for the next year and a half.

Maybe you can give the final word on this?

KEN LEVINE said...

My final word is -- did the joke work? If so, I don't really care whether it's grammatically correct or not.

Anonymous said...

As with Dodgers east coast games, the All Star game couldn't get my attention because it started at 5pm pacific. The west coast always gets short shrift.

Monty Ashley said...

It may have started at 5:00 on the west coast (really 5:45 once the opening ceremonies were finally over), but the exciting part of the game was right in prime time. That's innings seven through fifteen. Too bad about the east coasters who would have had to stay up until 1:30 am to see the good stuff.