Over the last 15 or so seasons, I’ve done by best to give the All Star Break festivities as much attention as I could. I did not make the slightest effort to acquire tickets when the game was here at Yankee Stadium and probably won’t when it comes to Citi Field in a year or two, but still, I watched a fair amount of coverage on TV.
NOTE: If you found a way to watch workout day coverage, Bud Selig should kiss you full on the lips – tongue/no tongue, you’re choice.
I should mention that in the recent past, I have not felt any excitement leading up to the All Star festivities and watched them out of some strange sense of obligation. I think I hit a low point last year while I watched the Home Run Derby while replacing tiles on the basement floor.
This year, I decided, "The hell with it. I’ll watch movies on these nights. I’ll play with the dogs. I’ll cook dinner. I’ll change the oil in my car. I’ll get a head start on my 2011 tax returns. I’ll go to the dentist! But I am not, NOT, NOT going to bother with the All Star festivities.
So I skipped the derby and watched the first inning of the game. Hey, I can’t go baseball cold turkey, just like that – I’m hooked, I needed my fix!
The Home Run Derby
Anyway, Robinson Cano, as I’m sure you’ve already heard, won the home run derby. This immediately brought to mind articles I’ve read about the Home Run Derby effect. The home run derby effect (which I have heard championed by one Dr Alex Rodriguez a reason for not participating in said contest) states that if you participate in the home run derby, it’ll ruin your swing for the rest of the year, the primary example (and only that I remember) being Bobby Abreu. This article explains that because analysis that says the home run derby ruins a hitter’s swings is invalid because the experiment lacked a control group. Uhm… yeah, I guess so! That’s a little over my head; but this all started because of Abreu. Check it:
The idea grew in part from Bobby Abreu‘s performance in 2005, when he hit 18 home runs before the break, then 41 home runs in the actual Derby, but wasn’t the same player afterward. From July 14-to-October 2 of that year, Abreu belted only six big flies.
However, a lot of people don’t believe that argument. This article explains that many winners of the derby have seen an INCREASE IN POWER.
In fact, since 2000, the only year during which Derby participants experienced an increase in power after the contest was 2001, when the likes of Sammy Sosa, Jason Giambi, Barry Bonds and Alex Rodriguez were competing.
I wonder why.
Six of the past 10 Derby winners have seen their rates improve in the second half. For example, Prince Fielder went from hitting long balls once every 14 at-bats before the All-Star break last year to once every 11.8 afterwards.
Anyway, let’s hope that Cano sees an increase in power down the stretch and doesn’t fall off the map like Abreu did.
All Star Game – Who didn’t show up:
I feel as though almost all of the talk I’ve heard leading up to the All Star game was regarding who was going to be there. After all, who wouldn’t want to go to Arizona in July? Finally, after much gyrations and snubbing, CC Sabathia was selected to the All Star team. I have no idea what took so long, but I also don’t care. Anyway, he couldn’t pitch as he just pitched on Sunday, and I believe he didn’t go to the game. (Tampa Bay’s David Price was in the exact same situation and I believe he also did not attend. Haven’t heard a word about that from anyone… shocking.) As we all know, Alex Rodriguez had knee surgery and didn’t go to the game – obviously, he wouldn’t be available to play in it. Mariano Rivera did not play and I believe he also didn’t attend – I believe his arm is still sore. Derek Jeter bowed out, citing mental fatigue from his 3000 hits chase and that his calf is still not 100% – people seemed to have the biggest problem with Jeter’s absence. Apparently, MLB (or FOX) planned a video montage of his career and wanted to honor him, so even if he wasn’t going to play, they still wanted him to show up and wave his hat to the crowd – I guess he wasn’t into that idea. I’ve also heard a lot of people/sports media saying that as Jeter was voted into the game by the fans, so he had an obligation to go. I head Boomer & Carton (which is like a really pathetic version of Mike and the Mad Dog – which is way better with just Mike, by the way) saying that if George Steinbrenner was still alive, Jeter would have went and played in the game; uhm, presume much, guys? How on earth could you speculate what someone would do if they were still alive? And which George Steinbrenner do you mean: the one who spoke his mind loudly and often, or the one that was content to spend time with his family in Tampa and let other people run the team? Maybe they meant to say, "If this was 1997, Steinbrenner would have made Jeter play in the game." (Anyway, that show sucks.) The point is, the thought is that if you’re a player and your selected to the All Star team, you have an obligation to play, or, at the very least, go to the game. I don’t agree with this idea at all. The All Star game is a farce, and the idea that it determines home field advantage for the World Series is ludicrous. As long as the best pitcher doesn’t start the game and stay in for as long as possible, it’s not a real game. As soon as you make substitutions just to give everyone who showed playing time, it’s not a real game. And any time you interrupt a game (even in between innings) to give Roger Clemens a set of commemorative candle sticks, its not a real game! Hence, at this point, it’s probably best if they just shut the whole thing down all together – have the home run derby, and that’s it – although I don’t think even that is necessary. If the players need 3 days off in a row in July, I’m fine with that – they work every weekend for 6 months straight. I know that’s why they get paid the big bucks (amongst other reasons), but it still sucks, and a little break in the middle is a nice respite for the fans, too – even if you watch the festivities. But for me, I don’t want a single Yankee going to the All Star game, because if anyone gets hurt in that travesty (anyone see that sliding catch Jose Bautista made near the right field wall?), I will lose my mind! Can you imagine what Phillies fans would say if Cliff Lee or Roy Halladay got hurt during this game? They would curve the All Star Game until they were blue in the face, and they’d be right.
Anyway, the NL won – two years in a row after a long drought! There goes home field advantage. I bet the AL team would have scored more than 1 run if Jeter was there – don’t you?
TODAY’S MARKETING MAIL FROM THE YANKEES: Rent with Mini U Storage and get 2 tickets to a Yankees game.
You can’t make this stuff up. This is cross marketing at its finest. Kudos to everybody on this gem. Yankee fans everywhere could be heard to remark, "Damn it, if only I had something to put in storage – then I could get free Yankee tickets!"