Nothin’ like a parade! In Phoenix! In July! At noon!

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People keep asking me if I’m going to Phoenix for the All-Star Game.  I keep telling them no.

A number of reasons, really. For one thing, I’m not really a proper reporter, so I’m not sure what I’d do there except get in everyone’s way while I did that “what the heck am I doing here” Hunter S. Thompson thing that, while always good in theory, tends to just annoy everyone in practice.

Secondly, I was just in Phoenix for spring training, and while that lends itself to reporting too, a ten day boondoggle is a little different because you can grok the zeitgeist a little more than you can with a two-day kind of deal. And it’s easier to indulge the Thompson fantasies when you have more time and space to spread out.

There’s also the fact that I don’t find the All-Star Game particularly interesting, so I wouldn’t exactly be doing much besides grouching about things, and even a cynic like me has to acknowledge that that’s not the highest and best use of a press pass.

But mostly it’s the heat. I hate the heat, and I don’t want to be in 100 degree weather no matter how dry it is.  So forgive me if I watch this — straight from the press release factory at Major League Baseball — on TV:

Fans will have an opportunity to see their favorite 2011 MLB All-Stars up close on the streets of Phoenix and on television nationally on MLB Network as part of the seventh annual MLB All-Star Red Carpet Show presented by Chevrolet.

On Tuesday, July 12, fans are invited to watch the procession of All-Stars to the 82nd Midsummer Classic as they make their way down an approximately 1,750 foot red carpet stretching 1/3 of a mile from the corner of 1stSt. and Jefferson St. down 4th St. and ending at Chase Field.

The event, which begins at 12:00 p.m. local time, is scheduled to feature all the Major League Baseball All-Stars riding in Chevrolet Silverados. Serving as Grand Marshal, MLB All-Star Ambassador and five-time MLB All-Star Luis Gonzalez will lead the parade through the streets.

Nothing like a parade at high noon in Phoenix in July.  I’ll be in my fortified compound sipping cool beverages.

Angel Hernandez made a great call on a tough play

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Fans, and even some writers, tend to jump on umpires when they make bad calls, but rarely if ever point out when they make good calls on tough plays. Angel Hernandez is one of those umpires who gets a lot of flack — and I may suggest even deservedly so — but in the interest of giving credit where credit is due, he made a great call on a very tough play during Thursday afternoon’s game between the Phillies and Marlins.

With a runner on first base and two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning with the Phillies leading 2-1, first baseman Brock Stassi laced an Edison Volquez pitch down the first base line. Michael Saunders, who was on first base, came around third base and attempted to score. The relay throw from second baseman Dee Gordon beat Saunders, but Saunders slid expertly to the back of home plate, avoiding the tag from catcher J.T. Realmuto just long enough to slip his hand in and touch the plate. Hernandez ruled Stassi safe with no hesitation because he was in a great position to get a look at the play. In real time, it was a bang-bang play. The Marlins didn’t challenge the call.

The MLB.com video doesn’t have the best angle, but still shows what a close call it was in real time. This .gif from Meghan Montemurro of The News Journal provides the best angle:

Hernandez also made this nonchalant grab when catcher Andrew Knapp tossed it attempting to catch a foul pop-up:

Yoenis Cespedes leaves game with pulled hamstring

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The Mets and Braves are playing today and it’s not a great day for the Mets in the injury department.

First they scratched Noah Syndergaard with a “tired arm.” Now they’ve lost Yoenis Cespedes, who pulled up limping at second base following a double in the bottom of the fourth:

The team has announced that he has pulled his left hamstring.

Cespedes, of course, missed three games over the weekend due to hamstring issues. That was merely tightness, however, and following an off day and a rainout, Cespedes played last night without incident. But it now looks as though he’s going to miss some serious time.