As I lamented last week, the All-Star Game counts now. It shouldn’t given how much a of a circus it is from a purely competitive baseball standpoint, but it does count. And today is the tenth anniversary of the thing that led to this state of affairs: the ugly 2002 All-Star Game which ended in a tie when each side ran out of players.
Chris Jaffe has a remembrance of that over at The Hardball Times today. It just warms my heart to recall a game reaching the end of regulation play with only Vicente Padilla and Freddy Garcia available and hitters like Jose Hernandez and Tony Batista taking the key at bats. Star power, baby.
The thing about it: Bud Selig’s solution of making the All-Star Game count for home field advantage has done little to change the approach of the All-Star Game managers. Sure, there are now safeties in place to ensure that teams can reuse position players and hold pitchers in reserve, but the underlying dynamic which led to the trouble — managers trying to give everyone playing time and all the truly great players being showered and gone by the time the game reaches the late innings — still reigns.
The Yankees fell behind early to the Orioles on Sunday afternoon, a day after dropping both ends of Saturday’s doubleheader. Their game, as did every other game on Sunday with the exception of the Braves-Cardinals doubleheader, started at 3:05 or 3:10 EDT, a change Major League Baseball recently made to create fairness on the final day of the season.
Girardi is not a fan. Per the Associated Press:
It was cloudy at Camden Yards at 3:05 p.m., but late-afternoon games often make it difficult for batters to see pitches.
Girardi said, “Here’s the thing that bothers me: If it’s a sunny day you’re playing in shadows.”
He added, “If it’s the most important game of the year to get in, I don’t think that’s right.”
Understanding the idea is for every team to play at the same time, Girardi said, “Then play all night games.”
One wonders if MLB had scheduled Sunday’s slate of games for the night, if Girardi would have instead complained about batters losing fly balls in the stadium lights. Furthermore, both teams have to play in the same conditions.
Marlins outfielder Ichiro Suzuki was given an opportunity to play a new position in Sunday’s series finale against the Phillies. After the Phillies rallied to take a 6-2 lead in the seventh, the Marlins let Suzuki take the hill in the eighth. And, in news that surprises no one, he was impressive.
Though Suzuki gave up a run on two hits, he flashed a fastball that hit the mid-80’s and a breaking ball with some bite.
Suzuki, who turns 42 years old later this month, is 65 hits of 3,000 in his major league career. The Marlins are interested in bringing him back in 2016.