15 July 2009

All-Star Rage

I was as angry as I have ever been at the result of a game last night after the National League lost 4-3 to the American League.


It's hard to understand. I didn't even watch the first four innings. The All-Star game is not an event I look forward to. It seems more and more irrelevant each year. I'm ashamed that I would get so angry at the result of any game, let alone an All-Star game. And yet, when Tejada popped out to end the game, I was seething.

Why is it hard to understand? I wonder that, when I think of all the horrible, annoying things that have led up to the game, and that happened during the game. The American League's dominance. The Dodgers never getting to host a game since 1980. Charlie Manuel managing the team and stacking it with Phillies. Kemp not making the team. Fox doing a terrible, awful job of presenting the game. Interviews with players while the game is going on. The insistence on singing "God Bless America" during the seventh inning stretch. Tim McCarver. Joe Buck. Billingsley giving up a run. Mariano Rivera getting the save. Ryan Howard coming to the plate and striking out, and knowing it would happen because while he may be a productive hitter he can't hit good pitching to save his life, and the indignity of having to root for the overrated strikeout machine Phillie. Home field advantage being determined by the game.

That's the one. That's the one that has me so angry. Now look, I'm not assuming anything. Okay? I'm not assuming the Dodgers make the World Series; I'm not even assuming they make the playoffs. But if the Dodgers make the World Series, then they will have lost home field advantage through little fault of their own. See, if the Dodgers don't make the playoffs, or they don't advance past the first or second round, or if they enter the first or second round without home-field advantage, it will have been their fault. It will have been based on their play, their own failure in the field. But the World Series? It may be a relatively small thing, but if the Dodgers make the World Series they won't have home field advantage because of Ryan Howard and Heath Bell and Charlie Manuel.

What a thing. Why should Heath Bell have the power to alter the Dodgers destiny? Why? Why? For marketing. Because this time it counts.

Well, if it counted, why was Ryan Howard up there to strike out with the game on the line? If the National League was really trying their best to win, wouldn't Manny Ramirez have been named to the team? The problem with saying that "this time it counts" is that they don't construct the teams or manage the game as if it counts.


Dave said...

I hear you Josh.

This year however, I told myself I would not have a repeat of anger/cursing-like-a-sailor/slamming-my-computer-keyboard-hard-with-my-fist that has happened repeatedly over the last few years:
2003 - Gagne being used in the 8th (and not the ninth) and giving up the homerun to Blalock.
2006 - Hoffman giving up the triple to Young.
2008 - Last year's excruciating long game.

So, this year, I was finally able to be more detached. No cursing, no slamming of fists. But there was still a twinge of anger, upset that this stupid exhibition game is used to affect the World Series.
And still angry that the NL cannot find a way to win any of these close games to the - as my 3 year old son would say - smelly AL.

I find it incredible, and incredibly frustrating, that in the last seven All Star Games (since the tie game in 2002), 5 of the 7 have been one run games, and another one a two run game. You would think that the NL would be able to find a way to win at least 1 or 2 of those games.

So, yeah, not so much this year - but anger has defined my All Star Game experience basically this whole decade.

Wow - that was cathartic! Thanks for letting me vent...

Dave said...

Now that I think of it - I blame Shawn Green. I remember the 2002 All-Star Game, where he went 1-3. One of those at bats, he hit a long drive that was foul by less than a foot. With a runner on base, it would have been 2 more runs for the NL. Very likely the tie would not have happened, and no of this "Now it counts" stuff would have ever happened.
Grrrr, Shawn Green (although, at the time, I loved him).

Joshua Worley said...

I remember that 2003 game very well. Gagne's only blown save of the year.

Dave said...

I thought of another reason the All-Star game, in it's "This time it counts" era, really bugs me.

Baseball doesn't do one game series. This is not a football game, not a tennis match, not a horse race.

This is baseball - where a season fractals into series of games, each series a microcosm of the larger whole. Even when you get to an amazing winner-take-all Game 7, you only get there on the back of six prior games.

So what's with this one and done, thanks for the fun, gotta run, the AL's won, so give them the plum (oh - so close to a perfect rhyming scheme)? It just doesn't make sense!