Well it's that time of year in the MLB season. Yes the time where some veterans show up and go through the motions, and others soak in every second because it may be the only time they will be introduced as an All Star. Personally I think the MLB version is the best out of them all. It's probably a combination of the fact that it's in the middle of the season, you have a home run derby, and July may be the slowest month in American sports.
Last night was the home run derby, which is still one of my favorite novelties and pro sports. It was also special to me because it was in the STL and it's always fun to watch taters in a stadium you've sat in. Prince Fielder ended up winning in the end, showing surprisingly great stamina for a guy who is a vegetarian. Fielder didn't put up an insane number like Hamilton or Abreu, but his total of 23 will go overlooked.
Chris Berman has pushed me to the breaking point. When I was younger he was only slightly annoying with his back back back schtick, and his name/nickname/name deal was never funny and it never will be. Later he was just too over the top. "That ball is on it's way to Latrobe!!!" Way to look at google maps jackass. But last night it was all about Boomer. I don't know what happened, at least when he was over the top the coverage actually focused on the derby. Last night it was just sick. Nelson Cruz hit some effing shots in the first round. One of which landed above Big Mac land, and personally it was the longest I've seen in that stadium. But while Cruz is on a tear, Berman is just bumbling on. It was the first time I actually muted an event and put on my headphones.
As a Cardinals fan El Hombre is awesome even when he loses. In fact he was perfect. He didn't hurt himself, or change his swing and he lasted long enough to keep the fans happy. Well done Albert.
Before I get on the rambling I'll talk very briefly about the actual game tonight. I still don't understand why MLB needs to "make these count." I could go on about how stupid it is to let an all star game decide home field advantage, but Hobbers are smarter than that. I actually think since the game matters it takes away from the entertainment. Imagine this. First inning, and Ichiro gets on base. Yadi, the best defensive catcher in the league is behind the plate. Jeter is up to bat with no outs. Normally you don't steal in this situation, but Ichiro decides he's going to go for it. Badass. Yes? it would only be better if Crawford led off, but you get my point. I think watching Lincecum pitch to Mauer in the first is good enough for me. I really don't need things to "matter."
Now on to a typical Lattimer rant. Icehouse made an interesting observation last night. We have a home run derby in STL and we only get two mentions of McGwire. Naturally this has to do with steroids, and more recently the righteous indignation of certain ass hats that think they are the moral compass for all fans. Hey Plaschke I think more people can't stand you over Manny because you are trying to tell them how the hell they should act. People don't want to hear it, but steroids saved baseball. Oh yes I cheered during the race of 98 and guys like Plaschke soaked it all in. And you know what? I loved it. I loved Mark and Sammy, and I still do because as a fan that summer may be one of the best. I still remember everyone having a 62 markdown calender in their house and calling to notify that Sammy was coming up to bat. Sure we want everyone to be the best. We cheer them when knock balls out of the park, and we curse TV's when they hit into a double play. So what now when they take something to hit it out of the park? Boo? What about all the "greats" who popped greenies all these years. Should I start hating every player from the 1950's on? And better yet, who exactly did these drugs hurt? As opposed to Stallworth's car?
I'll ask some questions. Who has ever used something to enhance their performance? Who has used some ADD drug to nail that research paper? Who intentionally held in football? Fake a foul in basketball? Would you take a drug to make you one of the best in your industry, especially if it meant millions of dollars? And just for you Plaschke. Tweek that quote just a bit to make that Sunday column really hit home?
I don't know the answers, and I really don't care. Not my business. All I'm saying is that in American sports we ask literally everyone who participates to be the best they can be. To win. Yet we're supposed to hate them when they don't do it the right way?
Trust me, I see all sides of this. I get the "play by the rules", I get the "what about the kids" and I really get the "what about the guy who played by the rules." However, I don't get some guy telling me, the fan, the guy who shells out hundreds of dollars each year to watch/support my team, telling me how to act. Guess what. When Mike Vick comes back I'm going to cheer my ass off, I like Mike, and that's my right. MLB, get over yourself, celebrate the past right or wrong.