Anyone else have a Ryan Dempster moment last night?
The All-Star game was flying along, despite the Fox-mandated three-plus minute commercial breaks. It was, as usual, fairly dull up to the ninth inning -- I had barely watched since Carlos Beltran scored the then NL-leading second run on a wild pitch.
And Trevor Hoffman, who with 460 career saves will probably break Lee Smith's career record of 478 sometime in late September, had gotten the first two AL outs of the ninth inning on weak comebackers, nursing that 2-1 lead.
I had barely blinked -- and was nodding out falling asleep -- when Paul Konerko singled. Troy Glaus doubled. And with one strike to go on Michael Young -- stop me if you've heard this before -- a double into the gap scored both runs. How many times this year have we seen Dempster blow saves in similar spectacular fashion?
Beltran tried to start a NL rally in the last of the ninth, but Mariano Rivera got future Cub Carlos Lee to pop up, and so the
Yankees American League champion will have home-field in the World Series this October, after what wound up as a surprisingly exciting ending to the AL's 3-2 win over the NL in what I heard billed in a radio ad yesterday as "The 77th Annual All-Star Game".
Um, nope. It's the "77th All-Star Game". If it were "77th Annual", the first one would have been in 1930. It wasn't, of course; the first one was in 1933. The reason that last night's was the 77th, of course, is that from 1959-1962, in an effort to get more money to the players' pension fund, two games were played.
Can't expect Fox people to know about that, though; that's something that happened before the mid-1990's.
It was the AL's 10th straight win. Whoops, no it wasn't -- it was their ninth win in the last ten, the other one being the Bud Selig Memorial Tie Game in 2002.
No Cubs played in last night's game. I was going to write "No Cubs were harmed in the playing of last night's game", but unfortunately, that may not turn out to be true. As noted in this diary, Carlos Zambrano, the only Cub chosen for this year's NL squad, was hit in the elbow in batting practice by White Sox coach Joey Cora's bat, while he was giving interviews to some Venezuelan reporters.
Man, what else can go wrong in this catastrophe of a season?
I'm sure the Dusty Baker bashers will find some way to blame Baker for this possible injury -- X-rays were negative, and it may just be a bad bruise -- but considering Baker was nearly 2500 miles from where Z was last night, this one simply can't be laid on Baker. Nor is it something any Cub fan can bash the White Sox for -- it could have happened to anyone, done by anyone. This is simply a terrible accident.
All we can do is hope Z is OK. He's not scheduled to pitch till Saturday, so by then maybe we can laugh about this. In today's Sun-Times, Chris DeLuca claims Z could go on the DL, but in the same article he says Z was supposed to pitch Friday -- which simply is wrong, so that calls the rest of DeLuca's comments into question.
About the rest of the game, I have little to say, because, as I mentioned, it was pretty dull.
But here's one thing that really rubbed me the wrong way. It was great of MLB to honor the memory of the great Roberto Clemente, particularly in the city where he played and is still revered and where there is a statue in honor of him.
But why would they interrupt the game in the fifth inning to do this? What's the point of this? So it can be seen in prime time on the West Coast?
Sorry, but that's ridiculous. This sort of ceremony has to be part of the pregame festivities.
One piece of good news: apparently some of your voices have been heard loud and clear by MLB. Bud Selig said yesterday that MLB is going to do something about its arcane blackout policies:
While he did not outline a plan, Selig said he had spoken with Major League Baseball about addressing the blackout issue.
"Right now," he said, "I don't know what to do about it. We'll figure it out."
More than 1,000 fans emailed Yahoo! Sports to voice their frustration with baseball's territorial-rights rules that black out games on the Extra Innings pay-per-view package and MLB.TV. The rules, developed about 40 years ago to protect teams' marketing areas, have fallen woefully out of date with a sport able to televise every game.
Well, at least he noticed.