July 17, 2011

All-Star Weak

One of the things I look forward to most during the baseball season is All-Star Week. I have always found it so much fun to see all the stars from around baseball get together and put on a show for the fans. Of course, now the game isn’t just an exhibition, but we will get into that later. There have been so many great All-Star  moments over the years— Bo Jackson’s bomb off of Rick Reuschel, Cal Ripken’s swan song home run, and Fred McGriff blasting a game-winner. Something seems to stick with me every year.

It starts Sunday with the Futures Game (which has only been around for the last ten years or so). I think it’s so much fun to watch the star prospects that you don’t normally get to see flash their talents in a major league setting. It was fun to see Julio Teheran again this year—and even better, he started. The star for the Braves though was Arodys Vizcaino, who seemed to just look at the batter and he was out. His outing lasted all of 40 seconds…

Then of course we have the Home Run Derby on Monday night. This has really become the marquee event. I can remember back to the early 90’s when Ryne Sandberg and Cal Ripken Jr. won and it was barely televised. It used to take place during the day and shown on tape delay—now it takes 3 hours just to get through round 1. This year’s Derby seemed to drag on forever; personally I feel it was the most boring one yet. Of course, I was spoiled 3 years ago by Josh Hamilton at Yankee Stadium…

Most people think the Celebrity All-Star Softball Game is awful, but it is one of my guilty pleasures. I don’t know what it is but watching Rollie Fingers, Ricky Henderson  and Fred Lynn take on Dean Cain and whatever other B (or more like C) star celebrities is absolutely fascinating! Hey, Roger McDowell used to do these every year, sporting that rainbow clown wig. He should bring that back…

MLB Network has really brought the day of the All-Star game to life with coverage that rivals Super Bowl Sunday. They show a press conference, red carpet show, batting practice for both teams, and interviews with half the players. It’s probably overkill for most, but for me I just love it! It’s summer and it’s baseball; what else could you ask for?!

Unfortunately Fox has been carrying the game and we have to deal with crazy Tim McCarver and Joe Buck, who is most likely having an All-Star Game in his head where he is the only player. I think it would be great to have the host team’s announcers call the game. Now, I know most announcers are terrible, but ANYTHING is better than the Fox crew—I’d rather have a kid scratching rusty nails on a chalkboard call the game than these guys.

One of my favorite moments is when they are announcing the teams. There’s just nothing like hearing the players on ‘your’ team announced. It is something that has always stuck with me and something I will always enjoy. Of course this year I was VERY annoyed that Tommy Hanson was left out and even more that Jurrjens didn’t start, it was still a fun game.

Apparently, I was in the minority in my feelings this year as the 2011 All-Star Game was the lowest rated EVER. To a point, I totally get it; it didn’t help that Derek Jeter blew it off to ride in a helicopter with Lyla Garrity (for the FNL fans).

Now, the problem is that this game is supposed to be an exhibition of the best players in the game. Every team has to be represented (so you are getting ALL the best players), but it’s nice for every fan to have a guy (or five) to root for. So why this game STILL counts for home field in the World Series is beyond me. I get why they did it, but it’s not working. If there was no tie in Milwaukee it would have never happened, and I hope it never happens again.

This is the best All-Star Game of any sport and I hope it always will be. They just have to keep it to what it was meant for and what it should be—an exhibition.

Obscure Brave of the Week: Jesse Garcia.

Jesse Garcia was a 26th round pick of the Baltimore Orioles in the 1993 Amateur Draft. He kicked around the minors for a few years before making his MLB debut in 1999. On Dec. 18, 2000 Garcia was traded to the Braves for IF Steve Sisco (Obscure Brave shout out!). Garcia played for the Braves for parts of four seasons, with a career-high 50 games in 2004.

After the Braves, Garcia played a little for the Padres and played in the minor leagues for the Cubs and Astros. He was used as a utility infielder and didn’t hit for much (or at all).

I bring Garcia up now because he is the complete antithesis of an All-Star. Although I think he did play on his Jr. College All-Star team while attending Lee Junior College.

He is no relation to Jerry.

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(10 more days…)

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