The 2012 edition of the MLB All-Star Game was utter domination by the National League (NL). Yeah, the game doesn’t really matter, and even home-field advantage for the winning team is over-rated (a sentiment shared by Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington). It’s really just a ratings-booster for the Majors, and a welcome treat for Kansas City, which has little to get excited about when it comes to baseball. (Now that the game is over, KC will shift complete focus to the Chiefs NFL mini camps and pre-season. And when their season doesn’t quite pan out, it’s back to baseball.)
Still, there were some notable moments in the All-Star Game, and even some fashion highlights (with orange hues leading the way). Here’s an off-the-cuff breakdown of last night’s mid-season classic:
From the Giants to the Orioles – and David Wright’s bright orange cleats – orange dominated the game. On the NL starting line-up, orange covered much of the field. The game should have been moved to Tropicana or Minute Maid. From Sandoval on third base, to Cain on the mound and Posey behind the plate, the Giants orange was the hue of the evening. Several innings later, when David Wright stepped to the plate, his bright orange cleats seemed to glow under the Kauffman Stadium flood lights. And when the O’s Jim Johnson stepped onto the mound, his white and orange cleats only compounded the theme of the night.
How Pablo Sandoval hit a triple is beyond me, especially considering his slow first steps out of the batter’s box. It was as if Sandoval could see some juicy San Francisco seafood sitting atop of third base, available only through direct transit from home plate. Justin Verlander came along for the ride.
CHAPMAN, KIMBREL DELIVER SMOKE
The fact that Kimbrel and Chapman both relieved for the National League is unfair. Even watching from my couch at home, I could feel the hisss on the fastballs launched from the two closers’ fingertips. I would never want to catch those guys, even with a heavily-padded catchers’ mitt. (And really, does Carlos Ruiz even want to do that?) What really gets me is that Kimbrel apparently plays catch with Atlanta Braves teammates at full speed. Whoever is on the receiving end from Kimbrel is lucky to avoid a broken palm – or make it out of pre-game warm-ups.
Verlander struggled from the get-go, and the NL batted around the line-up before three outs were even made. The game was for all intents and purposes over from the beginning.
Though he found himself in a wee bit of trouble, R.A. Dickey induced a double play to put a potential AL rally to rest. It’s a shame that Dickey didn’t start the game, but Matt Cain pitched well, as did Dickey.
BILLY BUTLER’S OVATION
It seems unlikely that Billy Butler will remain a Kansas City Royal next season – not to mention the end of the year – but he did receive a generous standing ovation from the KC faithful. His ovation, however, was dampened by a harmless groundout. And then a strikeout in the ninth.
HARPER: LOST IN THE LIGHTS
The high-set flood lights at Kaufmann caught Harper off-guard, when he lost a routine pop-up to left, letting it drop behind him. However, he made up for this by putting glove to ball on several routine poppers and flies.
Out of all the players on the field, few stand out more than Hamels. His uniform fits as if an experienced Italian tailor has taken to it. From the shoes to the uniforms, several players brought their style to the stadium.
The game juxtaposed the young with the old. While Harper, Trout, Miley and other young stars made their debuts, Chipper Jones capped off an illustrious career in Kansas City, tipping his hat (or more accurately, helmet) to the crowd, and then knocking a single into right.
PITCHING DOMINATES – AGAIN
It’s been another year of no-hitters and perfect games. And now, a shutout in the All-Star Game? Surprise? Nope. Apart from a shaky inning from Verlander, pitchers toasted hitters on this July 10 2012 night.
Overall, the All-Star Game was entertaining, though nothing close to edge-of-your-seat, popcorn-munching, one-run action that makes fans froth at the mouth.
But what does it matter? Clubs are in a gridlock for post-season berths, and the MVPs and Cy Youngs are anyone’s game. The second half is here. Anything can happen.
We know that for sure, with Pablo’s triple.