Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Random baseball thoughts: All-Star edition

That was an embarrassing performance by the American League All-Stars, who got spanked by the National League 8-0 and lost home-field advantage for the third year in a row. Remember when the American League had that 13-game unbeaten streak in All-Star contests? That is now a thing of the past. What was most disappointing was that the early drubbing made the rest of the game a total snoozefest. I got so bored that I fell asleep and missed the last two innings of the game. I didn’t even know that Melky Cabrera won the Most Valuable Player award until this morning. Good for him.

I     * I can’t say I was thrilled to see Justin Verlander laughing it up on the sidelines after getting pounded for five runs in the first inning, putting the American League in a hole they didn’t have a chance of climbing out of, especially since “this time it counts” gave the National League home-field advantage in the World Series. I bet Verlander will rue his performance if he finds himself pitching Game 1 of the World Series for the Detroit Tigers in some National League ballpark.

       * Just when you thought Kansas City Royals fans couldn’t behave any more despicably, now comes word that Robinson Cano of the New York Yankees had to have extra security guard his family during the All-Star game because of the disgraceful behavior of Royals fans upset at Cano for supposedly snubbing their hometown hero Billy Butler in the Home Run Derby. I thought the merciless booing of Cano was extreme, but this just takes it to a whole new level. To be fair, Yankee fans have been guilty of similar boorish behavior as Cliff Lee’s wife reported getting spit at and beer thrown in her direction during the 2009 World Series. But that doesn’t make it right, either in New York or Kansas City.  

Bud Selig and Joe Torre both expressed remorse for Cano’s treatment at the hands of Kansas City fans. Hopefully, it will be enough to convince them that they are setting these players up for this kind of treatment by putting them in the position of having to choose the Derby participants. Major League Baseball should retake control of that responsibility. They can be assured that they would be safe from that type of vicious treatment since most fans couldn’t pick baseball officials not named Selig and Torre out of a lineup.  

* You have to admire R.A. Dickey, not only for the way he has dominated opposing baseball teams this year with that knuckleball, but for what he has survived in his life to get to this point of tremendous success. My admiration for him grew stronger this week as he expressed disappointment over not starting the All-Star game, a start that he earned, without criticizing National League manager Tony LaRussa for taking the start away from him. Dickey is a class act. I make it a point to turn on the Mets games when I know he is starting just to watch him pitch. I’m rooting for him to continue his fantastic run in the second half. 

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