Major League Baseball's All-Star Game can be fun if you'd just look at it as what it should be, an exhibition of baseball with the game's best players. Unfortunately, Bud Selig ruined that with "This Time It Counts," a ridiculous notion in the first place, and especially dumb when this game isn't played in the same fashion as any other baseball game -- with its multiple substitutions and pitchers not used in the normal way.
Nice work, Bud. I'm hoping your successor will undo this nonsense and let us go back to just having fun with it.
The starting time of this game is... well, I've put 7 p.m. CT, but that isn't really right. There's a pregame show at 6:30 that won't tell you anything you don't already know, and the game telecast starts at 7 p.m. CT. That will include the usual blathering of Joe Buck and likely way too many other Fox announcers, a national anthem that you hope (probably beyond hope) won't completely be a botch, and many TV shots of Hollywood types who are on Fox shows. The first pitch will likely hit somewhere around 7:40 or so.
National League lineup:
Andrew McCutchen, Pirates, CF Yasiel Puig, Dodgers, RF Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies, SS Paul Goldschmidt, Diamondbacks, 1B Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins, DH Aramis Ramirez, Brewers, 3B Chase Utley, Phillies, 2B Jonathan Lucroy, Brewers, C Carlos Gomez, Brewers, CF
Three Brewers in the starting lineup. Will you be able to stand it?
American League lineup:
Derek Jeter, Yankees, SS Mike Trout, Angels, LF Robinson Cano, Mariners, 2B Miguel Cabrera, Tigers, 1B Jose Bautista, Blue Jays, RF Nelson Cruz, Orioles, DH Adam Jones, Orioles, CF Josh Donaldson, Athletics, 3B Salvador Perez, Royals, C
All-Star Starting Pitchers
This is Adam Wainwright's third All-Star Game selection and second in a row. He threw a scoreless inning in 2010, but did not appear in last year's game. Wainwright is having an excellent year, but Clayton Kershaw is having a slightly better one. Wainwright's manager is managing the N.L. squad. Draw your own conclusions.
Felix Hernandez has made his fifth All-Star team, and fourth straight. Oddly, the year he won the Cy Young Award (2010) was the one season in that sequence where he didn't make the All-Star squad. Of the four previous selections, he pitched in only two of the games -- a scoreless inning in 2009, and another one last year.
This will be the only thread for the ASG. Discuss, etc.