July 12, 2000
The Daily Prospectus
Well, I suppose the bright side is that I know people are reading:
"It was my understanding that Girardi is an All-Star replacing Piazza b/c 1) Hundley turned them down due to family concerns & 2) Javy Lopez had already skipped the country on his vacation plans. Girardi was just the best of a bad remaining lot."
"I read two days ago (I believe it was on Rotonews) that Todd Hundley had refused the All-Star assignment because of a nagging injury..."
"One note on your Daily Prospectus item for today: Hundley actually was invited before Girardi, but declined due to a sore shoulder and bruised forearm...."
"I'm probably not the only one to tell you this, but Hundley was, of course, MLB's first choice..."
"Just an FYI, Joe Girardi was selected primarily because Javy Lopez and Todd Hundley were unavailable for the weekend."
"Articles I have read reported that Hundley turned down an All-Star roster spot offer from Cox..."
Etc., etc., etc....
We'll call this one "E-DP." It's reassuring to note that the National League chose wisely but was denied the best option. It doesn't explain going down the list to the middle of the pack in NL catchers, especially when the team already had two, the rules allow catchers to return to the game and Kris Benson still had Tuesday free.
In the big picture, it doesn't matter much. Plus, I got to test the column's emergency response system, so everyone wins. Well, except the National League, which dropped a 6-3 decision to the AL last night in the latest in a string of nondescript All-Star games.
I don't want to sound crotchety, but I can't remember the last riveting All-Star Game. Maybe it's that I'm getting older, or maybe it's living on the West Coast and missing the start of them for too long. The first game I remember vividly was the 1979 game, with Dave Parker throwing out a runner at the plate, Lee Mazzilli hitting a tying home run and the NL ekeing out a 7-6 win on Mazzilli's ninth-inning walk. The post-strike game in 1981 in which Gary Carter hit two bombs sticks in my head as well, as does the 13-inning game in 1987.
But while the games since then have had some fun moments, the games themselves have been bland. Even in the eighth inning of tonight's contest, with the AL clinging to a one-run lead, there was no sense of excitement or drama. The biggest question seemed to be whether Joe Torre was going to run his bench and bullpen or hold someone back for extra innings. It seems like somewhere along the line the balance between "getting everyone in" and "winning the game" shifted, with the former assuming a much greater importance.
I'm not saying that this is good, bad or indifferent. I am saying that I personally don't find the All-Star Game to be as exciting as I used to, and that saddens me.
Even with this sense that the competitive nature of the game has been diminished, I greatly enjoyed the night's highlights. Andres Galarraga, of course, was a great story, and watching Chipper Jones go deep in front of the home fans was a nice moment. As a Yankee fan, watching Derek Jeter rope three hits and pick up MVP honors was sweet. Jim Edmonds made a nice recovery after getting turned around on Mike Bordick's blast in the third.
With the exhibition out of the way, we're free to look again at the real games. Today, we've posted BP's midseason awards poll results. There's an unnatural level of agreement for this point in the season, attributable to some tremendous performances by the best players in the game.
Joe Sheehan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.