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All-Star Break Festivities... Oh, Yes, There Was A Game Too

Sheffield Avenue is closed on Tuesday to begin setup for the Elton John/Billy Joel concert on Thursday.<em> (BCB photo by David Sameshima)</em>
Sheffield Avenue is closed on Tuesday to begin setup for the Elton John/Billy Joel concert on Thursday. (BCB photo by David Sameshima)

The AL All-Stars beat the NL All-Stars last night 4-3, their 12th straight win (and 13th in a row without a loss, thanks to Bud's Famous 2002 Tie) and fourth in a row by one run.

The game was reasonably entertaining, close with some good defense, although the lone Cub on the NL roster, Ted Lilly, didn't get anywhere close to actually playing (likely being saved for extra innings, and instead he'll be ready for his next start on Friday).

While all this was going on I went out to Road Ranger Field in Rockford, home of the Frontier League's Riverhawks, to take in their own pre-All-Star festivities. That included a "Legends" game between former Cubs and White Sox, wearing jerseys reading "Northside Legends" and "Southside Legends". Because there weren't enough players available, local media types from Rockford (including the writer of the link above) filled out the rosters.

It's nice to see guys like this who we rooted for years ago -- Keith Moreland, Bob Dernier, Jody Davis among them -- still on the field enjoying the game. Dernier and Willie Wilson, just to cite a couple of examples, still are in pretty good shape and could run the bases and play the field reasonably well. Steve Trout, living up to his "Rainbow" nickname, had to be different -- he was the only man on the field not wearing one of the "legends" jerseys, instead wearing a White Sox shirt, pitching one inning and then getting into a couple of mock arguments with the umpires.

The two men who appeared to enjoy the affair most were Donn Pall, a native of Evergreen Park who played for both the Cubs and White Sox in a ten-year career, and ex-White Sox first baseman Carlos May. Pall had quite a few family members who happened to be seated across the aisle from me, and who loudly cheered him when he got a couple of hits. May, whose promising career got derailed when he lost part of his right thumb in a military training accident, is now 61 years old (he's the only MLB player who wore his birthday -- May 17 -- on his shirt) and was slowed by arthritis. But the joy he felt being on a baseball field and in a uniform again radiated from the smile on his face.

And isn't that what this game is supposed to be about? Sure, as Cubs fans we cheer and want them to win every single day. But let's not forget the fun everyone's supposed to have.

The Legends game was followed by the Frontier League HR derby, dominated in the early rounds by Brad Miller, of the Southern Illinois Miners, who cranked out a ton of homers -- physically, he reminded me of former Los Angeles Dodger Billy Ashley, a man who had tremendous power but never made it because he struck out too much. The derby was finally won by Grant Psomas of the Washington Wild Things (the "Washington" in question is near Pittsburgh).

Speaking of Washington, I'm on the way there. Enjoy the rest of the All-Star break.