Now that the All-Star Game is back to being an exhibition — it no longer decides home-field advantage in the World Series — everyone can go back to having fun again. The FOX broadcast took advantage of this, putting Ken Rosenthal on the field for an interview with Jose Altuve just before he stepped up to the plate to kick off the game.
Later, FOX had Alex Rodriguez rove around the infield for quick interviews with National League All-Stars Daniel Murphy, Zack Cozart, and Nolan Arenado.
In the top of the sixth inning, Mariners DH Nelson Cruz decided to use the opportunity to get a picture with home plate umpire Joe West. He asked Yadier Molina, decked out with a gold chest protector, to snap the picture for him.
Why Cruz wanted a picture with West, of all people, is anyone’s guess. But it was a fun moment in what has otherwise been a dull All-Star Game.
Molina, by the way, tied the game up at 1-1 in the bottom half with a solo home run. He’s the oldest player to homer in an All-Star Game since Barry Bonds in 2002.
It’s can’t be easy being a Mets fan. Your team plays in the biggest city in America and should, theoretically, have big payrolls and always be in contention. They aren’t, however, partially because of horrendous luck and ill-timed injuries, partially because of poor baseball decisions and partially because the team’s ownership got taken down by a Ponzi scheme that, one would think anyway, sophisticated businessmen would recognize as a Ponzi scheme. We’ll leave that go, though.
What Mets fans are left with are (a) occasional windows of contention, such as we saw in 2014-16; (b) times of frustrating austerity on the part of ownership when, one would hope anyway, some money would be spent; (c) an inordinate focus on tabloidy and scandalous nonsense which just always seems to surround the club; and (c) a lot of disappointment.
You can file this latest bit under any of or many of the above categories, but it is uniquely Mets.
Team president Jeff Wilpon spoke to the press this afternoon about team payroll. In talking about payroll, David Wright‘s salary was included despite the fact that he may never play again and despite the fact that insurance is picking up most of the tab. Wilpon’s comment:
I’m guessing every team has a line item, someplace, about the costs of insurance. They’re businesses after all, and all businesses have to deal with that. They do not talk about it as a barrier to spending more money on players to the press, however, as they likely know that fans want to be told a story of hope and baseball-driven decisions heading into a new season and do not want to hear about all of the reasons the club will not spend any money despite sitting in a huge market.
This doesn’t change a thing about what the Mets were going to do or not do, but it does have the added bonus of making Mets fans roll their eyes and ask themselves what they did to deserve these owners. And that, more than almost anything, is the essence of Mets fandom these days.