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AL bests NL 4-3 to win 2019 All-Star Game

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For the first time since 2014, an American League team hosted the All-Star Game. This time, it was at Progressive Field in Cleveland, Ohio, home of the Indians. For a seventh consecutive year, the American League emerged victorious, defeating the National League 4-3.

After the players were introduced on the field, the ballpark went silent in memory of Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs, who died last week at the age of 27. In his honor, All-Star teammates Mike Trout and Tommy La Stella wore Skaggs’ No. 45. Players donned “45” patches on their uniforms, but they had trouble staying attached.

CC Sabathia, who spent the first eight seasons of his career with the Indians and is retiring after this season, threw out the ceremonial first pitch to Sandy Alomar, Jr.

Dodger pitching yielded the first two runs to the AL. Clayton Kershaw allowed a run in the second inning on a one-out single by Alex Bregman followed by a two-out RBI double to Michael Brantley. Walker Buehler allowed the next run in the fifth when Gary Sánchez led off with a double. Sánchez moved to third base on a grounder, then scored on an infield single by Jorge Polanco.

Before the top of the fifth inning, the players, the broadcasters, and the crowd stood up with their Stand Up To Cancer signs. Many of the signs mentioned Carlos “Cookie” Carrasco, who was recently diagnosed with leukemia. Carrasco held his own sign, which said, “I stand.” His All-Star teammates Francisco Lindor, Carlos Santana, and Carlos Santana, as well as manager Terry Francona hugged him as he made his way back into the dugout.

Hometown hero Shane Bieber had a great moment after taking the mound for the top of the fifth. He struck out the side, becoming the first Indians player to do so in the All-Star Game.

The NL finally got on the board in the top of the sixth when Charlie Blackmon crushed a Liam Hendriks fastball out to center field for a two-out solo homer, cutting the deficit to 2-1. The AL would get that run back plus one in the bottom of the seventh against Brandon Woodruff. Matt Chapman drew a leadoff walk, then advanced to third base on a James McCann single and scored when Xander Bogaerts grounded into a 6-4-3 double play. After lefty Will Smith replaced Woodruff, Joey Gallo swung at the first pitch, driving a line drive solo home run out to right field to push the AL’s lead to 4-1.

Home Run Derby champion Pete Alonso played a key role in the NL’s eighth-inning rally against the Indians’ Brad Hand. Yasmani Grandal led off with a walk and moved to second on a David Dahl single. Paul DeJong drew a one-out walk to load the bases. Hand was able to strike out Blackmon, but Alonso ripped a line drive past Gleyber Torres, plating two runs.

The NL couldn’t figure out Aroldis Chapman in the ninth inning. J.T. Realmuto and Max Muncy each struck out swinging. As Grandal came to the plate for the final at-bat, Sabathia came out to the mound to “visit” Chapman. As Sabathia walked back to the dugout, he received a standing ovation from the Cleveland crowd. When play resumed, Chapman fanned Grandal, striking out the side and ending the game in a 4-3 victory for the American League.

Bieber won All-Star Game MVP. As mentioned, he struck out the side in his only inning of work. Bieber was added to the AL All-Star roster only four days ago.

The Players’ Weekend uniforms are terrible

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The Yankees and the Dodgers have a storied World Series history, having met in the Fall Classic 11 times. Part of what made those falls so classic was the livery worn by each club.

The Yankees’ uniforms have gone unchanged since 1936. The Dodgers, though changing cities in 1958, have had the same basic, classic look with only minor derivations for almost as long. You can’t even say the names of these teams without picturing pinstripes, those red Dodgers numbers, both teams’ clean road grays, the Yankees navy and the Dodgers’ Dodger blue.

They looked like a couple of expansion teams last night however, at least sartorially speaking.

As you probably know it’s Players’ Weekend this weekend, and teams all over the league wore either all black or all white with player-chosen nicknames on the back. We’ve had the nicknames for a couple of years now and that’s fine, but the black and white combo is new. It doesn’t look great, frankly. I riffed on that on Twitter yesterday a good bit. But beyond my mere distaste for the ensembles, they present a pretty problematic palette, too.

For one thing the guys in black blend in with the umpires. Quick, look at these infields and tell me who’s playing and who’s officiating:

The white batting helmets look especially bad:

But some guys — like Enrique Hernandez of the Dodgers, realized that pine tar makes the white helmets look super special:

There was also a general issue with the white-on-white uniforms in that it’s rather hard to read the names and the numbers on the backs of the jerseys. This was especially true during the Cubs-Nationals game in the afternoon sunlight. You’ll note this as much bigger problem on Sunday. It’s all rather ironic, of course, that the players have been given the right to put fun, quirky nicknames on the backs of their jerseys but no one can really see them.

The SNY booth was reading many people’s minds last night, noting how much Mad Magazine “Spy vs. Spy” energy this is throwing off:

I’ll also note that if you’re flipping between games or looking at highlights on social media it’s super hard to even tell which team is which just by looking which, you know, is sort of the point of having uniforms in the first place.

I’m glad the players have a weekend in which they’re allowed to wear what they want. I just wish they’d wear something, you know, better.