With all due respect to the ESPYS, there was only one real sporting event of note going on this week and it was Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game. This year’s Midsummer Classic did not fail to disappoint, either. In fact, both the game and the previous night’s Home Run Derby were pretty compelling viewing and made it a lot easier to endure the four-day absence of real baseball. With that in mind, here are a few things I thought of while watching the festivities.
Aaron Judge is a monster. I hate the fact that he plays for the Yankees, but I cannot take anything away from the rookie and his prodigious power. I am not usually a fan of watching guys hit batting practice home runs, but watching Judge on Monday night blast balls all over Marlins Park was a pretty impressive display. His skills are translating to the actual game, too. He has a legitimate shot at winning the triple crown and could very well be the first man to be named rookie of the year and MVP since Ichiro in 2001. While it might sting for me personally, it should be fun for everyone else to see just how good Judge becomes.
Everyone should wear gold catching gear. Did you see Yadier Molina’s getup behind home plate? It was all gold, and it was glorious!
Real baseball is exciting baseball. While plenty of balls flew out of Marlins Park in the Derby, far fewer left during the actual All-Star Game. Not only that, there were only three total runs scored at all, and I think it made for a much more exciting game. People love home runs, I get that. Those same people should be very happy with the supposedly juiced baseballs leaving MLB parks at an astonishing rate this year. However, there were just two of them hit in the game Tuesday, albeit one of them won the game in the 10th inning. I appreciated that the pitchers dominated for the most part. It was a reminder of how good pitching neutralizes good hitting the vast majority of the time.
Speaking of the pitchers, I was kind of disappointed the starters didn’t get more work. Just one inning for NL starter Max Scherzer and two for Chris Sale. I would really love to see these guys go five or six innings like they used to. Just to get an idea how good they are. I realize this is a pipe dream in a day and age where pitch counts are so closely monitored, but I still can’t help imagining the possibilities.
Finally, extra innings don’t have to be boring. I think we may have dodged a bullet here, actually. One extra inning is fine. I was curious to see what would happen if the game dragged on into the 15th or 16th frame. I would not be opposed to seeing them end the whole thing after an inning or two, and since the game doesn’t count anymore, maybe they could go ahead and have a home run derby to decide the winner. Similar to what they do in soccer!