I hope everyone by now knows that the American League won the 2019 All-Star Game 4-3 and that Indians pitcher Shane Bieber was named the MVP? If not, don’t worry. No one will remember it in just a few months time anyway.
To tell the truth, I’m not excited to go to Cleveland, but we have to. If I ever saw myself saying I’m excited going to Cleveland, I’d punch myself in the face, because I’m lying.—Ichiro Suzuki
- Eric Stephen thinks the All-Star Game was the perfect opportunity for MLB to showcase Mike Trout, possibly the greatest player to have ever played the game.
- Tim Brown reports that while Trout prefers to avoid the spotlight, he knows it is time for him to be a leader, not just for the Angels but for all of MLB.
- Brown noted that Trout’s leadership was on display in the team’s reaction to the death of Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs. Trout and Angels teammate Tommy La Stella honored Skaggs by wearing his number 45 for the All-Star Game.
- And in probably the most touching moment of the All-Star Game, during the “Stand Up For Cancer” event at the game, the participants from the hometown Indians “stood up” for teammate Carlos Carrasco, who is battling leukemia. Carrasco also joined his teammates on the field.
- One moment that a lot of people remember was when Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman went to the plate against Astros pitcher Justin Verlander while mic’d up and talking to the Fox Sports booth. A lot of people liked hearing what Freeman was thinking as he was facing Verlander.
- MLB doesn’t do an “In Memoriam” video in tribute to all those from the game who have passed away over the past year, but an enterprising fan does them anyway, highlighting all those we’ve lost since the previous All-Star Game. It’s worth your time. And no, he did not include any living members of the 1969 Mets.
- Jay Jaffe thought this year’s Home Run Derby was just awesome.
- Astros pitcher Justin Verlander accused MLB of intentionally juicing the ball to make more home runs.
- Commissioner Rob Manfred denied this is the case, saying that the owners want fewer home runs, not more. Manfred did admit that the ball is flying farther, they just don’t know why.
- Bob Nightengale thinks baseball has to decide whether or not it wants to be a game of home runs and strikeouts. There’s quite a bit of “get off my lawn” stuff here with Nightengale writing that the game was intended to have hit-and-runs, steals and bunts. (No, it wasn’t. That’s just what he grew up with in the sixties and seventies and it was dumb then and it’s dumb now.) But he is right that home runs and strikeouts have gotten out of control lately. How to fix that is the big question mark.
- MLB Players Association head Tony Clark said that the union’s primary goal in the upcoming collective bargaining talks is the re-establishment of “meaningful” free agency. I’m not sure what that means other than “not what we have now.”
- It certainly sounds like Manfred is open and willing to pay the minor leaguers more, although what “more” means is still pretty unclear. (The Athletic sub. req.) But there is the issue of who is going to be responsible for those pay increases (will the MLB teams require the minor league affiliates to chip in more?) or whether MLB might pay for the increase by cutting the number of minor league affiliates. (From a pure development point of view, there are probably too many minor league affiliates. From a marketing standpoint—developing baseball fans with cheaper ticket prices closer to the action—then there are probably too few.)
- Zach Kram has an All-Star Team of hitters who have exceeded expectations the most so far this season.
- Alden Gonzalez explains how Dodgers pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu made the changes that turned him into the starting pitcher in the All-Star Game and one of the best pitchers in the game, period.
- The Red Sox and Yankees have enquired about Mets starting pitcher Zack Wheeler, whom the Mets are said to be willing to trade.
- The Indians are reportedly shopping starting pitcher Trevor Bauer and Craig Calcaterra wonders why the Indians, who are still in the playoff hunt, would be willing to trade their best pitcher?
- Bob Nightengale looks at the future of Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor in Cleveland and thinks the Tribe would be making a huge mistake if they trede Lindor, and that’s a mistake they’ve made many times before.
- David Schoenfield notes that today’s young superstars care much more about the “OPS” stat than their batting average.
- Angels catcher Jonathan Lucroy has a concussion and a broken nose after his collision at home plate with Astros outfielder Jake Marisnick.
- In an excerpt from his new book that he wrote with Phil Rogers, former commissioner Bud Selig said he was in “misery” as Barry Bonds broke the all-time home run record. He also talks about his friendship with Henry Aaron but insists that his dislike of Bonds has nothing to do with his friendship with Aaron. (And everything to do with steroids and Bonds’ personality.)
- The papers of “Ball Four” author and former Yankees (and Seattle Pilots!) pitcher Jim Bouton have been donated to the Library of Congress. Official MLB historian John Thorn explains Bouton’s place in baseball history as well.
- Samuel Evers has the history of Braves Field in Boston and what remains of that ballpark since the Braves left for Milwaukee in 1953. Parts of it still survive as Boston University’s Nickerson Field.
- And finally, America’s greatest short film maker Andrew McCutchen, who in his spare time plays outfield for the Phillies, missed this year’s All-Star Game with an injury that has him out for the season. So McCutchen made a film that told about the incredible All-Star Party that his wife threw for him in their basement. You’ll always be an All-Star to us, Cutch. Also, maybe since you can’t win the MVP Award this year, maybe you can win an Oscar. Or at least an Independent Spirit Award.
And tomorrow will be a better day than today, Buster.