I would need both hands to count the number of times I cried during the 2014 All-Star game. I am not ashamed by this and I am certain I was not the only one shedding some tears. Tuesday represented the last time we would see Derek Jeter in an All-Star game, and it was the perfect send-off. Between his classic Bob Sheppard introduction, “New York, New York” blasting through the stadium as he walked off the field, the amazing Jordan commercial that aired right before his first at-bat, and the standing ovation from everyone as he stepped up to the plate, it was a perfect celebration from one of the greatest ballplayers on my generation.
Lots of people thought Derek Jeter did not deserve to be the starting shortstop. Yes, he is 40 years old, and yes, he is not the best shortstop on the field. But you bet your ass he was the only shortstop who should have started the All-Star game. Not only was he a sentimental pick, but during the game he proved that he is more than capable of playing at a major league level. He ripped a double in his first at-bat, did the signature inside-out swing to hit a single in the next at-bat, AND made a fabulous sliding defensive stop in the first at-bat of the game.
Yes, the All-Star game is a celebration of the biggest stars in baseball, and it was. Jeter didn’t want all the attention on him, but the other stars there wouldn’t let him leave the spotlight. Jeter seems like a great teammate, which really showed after he was pulled from the game. He hugged every single guy in the dugout before going out for a curtain call. Class act, right? Starting NL pitcher Adam Wainwright said he “grooved” some pitches for Jeter to hit, and honestly, who cares? As Jeter put it, “You still have to hit it”. Seeing Jeter get on base was fantastic, no matter how he got there.
There were plenty of other exciting things that happened during the All-Star game. Mike Trout destroyed EVERYTHING. He was driving in runs left and right, hit a triple to drive in Derek Jeter, and doubled to bring in more runs. This kid. This kid is insane. He was the MVP, hands down, and he deserved it. Was I a little sad Jeter didn’t win it? Yeah, I was, but I was not disappointed Trout won it.
And let’s not forget about Miguel Cabrera! He was the first Tiger since the 1980’s to hit a homer during the All-Star game. Mashing baseballs is one his strengths and he did not disappoint last night. Who did disappoint? Some of the pitchers. These guys were supposed to be the best of the best, but they did not pitch that way. Jon Lester and Adam Wainwright in particular were not very strong, which was a disappointment.
In terms of overall effectiveness, I think the American League had the upper hand from the get-go. Their lineup was the best and their pitching by-in-large was better. The National League may have had some fast runners and big bats, but the bats did not really do much to drive in runs. Say what you will about the pitching, but no matter how well a pitcher is pitching, he can’t win the game unless he has run support.
The only thing I was truly disappointed with was no tribute of any kind to the late greats Tony Gwynn and Don Zimmer. With the exception of David Price, who patted the “Zim” patch on his uniform during the player introduction, no one honored these guys. If I could change anything, I would have done something.
Overall, this was a great game! It was probably one of the more exciting All-Star games in the last few years. It gave us some great moments, most of which made me cry or cheer or both. And isn’t that what the All-Star is all about?
And besides, if I am having a bad day, I can just remind myself that I would have done just as well during the game as Yasiel Puig.