Rob Carr/Getty Images

AL edges NL 2-1 to win fifth consecutive All-Star Game

5 Comments

It was fitting that, for the first time since 2002, the All-Star Game did not determine home field advantage in the World Series and went extra innings. In 2002, when the All-Star Game was held in Milwaukee, the midsummer classic ended in a 7-7 tie after 11 innings. Thus began then-commissioner Bud Selig’s motivation to tie the All-Star Game to home field advantage.

In all honesty, the 2017 All-Star Game was a snoozefest. We’ve heard stories of commissioner Rob Manfred’s desire to speed up the game, to reduce non-action plays. Over 10 innings, the American League pitching struck out nine and walked five while National League pitchers walked one and struck out 14. Out of 79 batters, walks and strikeouts accounted for over one-third of their at-bats — 36.7 percent, to be exact. One out of every three at-bats ended in a player either walking to first base or back to the dugout. Riveting baseball.

There were a couple of bright spots, though not everyone seemed to like them judging by my Twitter feed. The FOX broadcast had Ken Rosenthal interview Jose Altuve just before he stepped to the plate to begin Tuesday’s action. For a game that has struggled to push its stars into the pop culture mainstream, this was a good decision. Later, FOX had Alex Rodriguez roam around the infield for interviews with NL All-Stars Daniel Murphy, Zack Cozart, and Nolan Arenado. And then FOX had George Springer and Bryce Harper wear microphones and interviewed them in the middle of an inning.

Harper made a great play in the second inning, robbing Salvador Perez of a single to shallow right-center. Harper’s hat flew off in the process, so he flipped his long hair back as he got up. That was fun. Nelson Cruz had Yadier Molina take a picture of him with umpire Joe West before batting in the sixth. Also fun.

The American League took a 1-0 lead in the fifth when Miguel Sano hit a single to shallow right field off of Alex Wood. Molina tied the game at one apiece with a solo home run to right-center off of Ervin Santana. Robinson Cano un-tied the game with a solo home run in the top of the 10th off of Wade Davis. Andrew Miller took the mound in the bottom half of the 10th and retired Corey Seager and Ender Inciarte to start the inning. Joey Votto drew a walk — of course — to extend the game, but Miller struck out Cody Bellinger to end the game.

The American League has now won five consecutive All-Star Games. Impressively, that pales in comparison to the AL’s previous streak, which ran from 1997-2009 (excepting the 2002 tie).

Tony Clark: among players, the universal DH “is gaining momentum”

Getty Images
6 Comments

Major League Baseball Players Association executive director Tony Clark met the press late this morning and covered a wide array of topics.

One of them: free agency, which he referred to as being “under attack” based on the slow market for free agents last offseason.

“What the players saw last offseason was that their free-agent rights were under attack on what has been the bedrock of our system,” Clark said. He added that they “have some very difficult decisions to make.” Presumably in the form of grievances and, down the road, a negotiating strategy that seeks to claw back some of the many concessions the union has given owners in the past few Collective Bargaining Agreements. CBAs, it’s worth noting, that Clark negotiated. We’ve covered that territory in detail in the past.

Of more immediate interest was Clark’s comment that the idea of a universal designated hitter is, among players, “gaining momentum.” Clark says “players are talking about it more than they have in the past.” We’ve talked a lot about that as well.

Given that hating or loving the DH is the closest thing baseball has to a religion, no one’s mind is going to be changed by any of this, but I think, practically speaking, it’s inevitable that the National League will have the DH and I think it happens relatively soon. Perhaps in the next five years. The opposition to it at this point is solely subjective and based on tradition. People like pitchers batting and they like double switches and they like the leagues being different because they, well, like it. If the system were being set up today, however, they’d never have it this way and I think even the DH-haters know that well. That doesn’t mean that you can’t dislike a universal DH, but it does mean that you can’t expect the people who run the game to cater to that preference when it makes little sense for them to do it for their own purposes.

Anyway: enjoy convincing each other in the comments about how the side of that argument you dislike is wrong.