Tuesday, July 10, 2007

A Midsummer Night's Dream

So count me among the few who still enjoy tuning into the Major League Baseball All-Star Game (Fox, 8 p.m.) for what it is: A matchup of the best talent between the two leagues.

People criticize the All-Star Game for having no importance at all because of interleague play, or having artificially inflated importance because it now decides home-field advantage for the World Series. While these may be valid criticisms, it still doesn't diminish the fun of the game for me.

I enjoy the announcement of all the players, I enjoy seeing the matchups, the batting orders, how the managers employ their benches.

I can remember going back to the 1970s and seeing the likes of Reggie Jackson and Jim Rice line up in the outfield next to each other. I remember Bo Jackson's first appearance and Ronald Reagan broadcasting an inning of the game.

In fact, I wish there was more to the weekend. There used to be the All-Star skills competition, in which we learned who was the best bunter, the fastest baserunner and who possessed the strongest and most accurate arm. That ended when Barry Larkin suffered an arm injury on a throw and was lost for the remainder of the season. (But hey, if they canceled an event every time Barry Larkin got injured, no one would be playing baseball anywhere).

I wish people would just sit back and enjoy the game for what it is: baseball at its most fun.

TUESDAY'S BEST BETS: If baseball isn't your thing (and what the hell is wrong with you if that's the case), fear not.

OK, so there isn't all that much new on, but there are a few things of interest. "Eureka" (Sci-Fi, 9 p.m.) returns for its second season. I have to admit, I stopped watching midway through Season 1, but this show has developed its own cult following.

If pop culture trivia is your thing, you can catch "The World Series of Pop Culture" (VH-1, 9 p.m.)

And, if you have an appalling lack of taste, "Big Brother" (CBS, 9 p.m.) and "Pirate Master" (CBS, 10 p.m.) are both brand-new as well.


zodin2008 said...

I have to admit, I am no Bud Selig fan (and I am a huge Baseball fan) and I think Interleague Play has been mis-used (particularly, this year, to my team, the Braves), but I too still have some fascination with the All Star Game.

Plus, again, I can't stand Bud Selig on 99% of issues and wish he was never the commissioner, but putting home field for the World Series at stake has added a level of intrigue.

Sure, it may not matter to the All Stars reps from the Pirates, Royals and Devil Rays, but with the Wild Card, most teams in Baseball still have a realistic shot at the Post Season and home field advantage is a big deal.

Plus, as a die hard Braves fan, I root every year for the National League like it's Georgia Football and the American League is the Florida Gators. Seriously...especially with the World Series home field at stake. It's the 1 time you can better believe I am also a Cardinals fan, a Mets fan, a Reds fan, and every other NL team.

And speaking of Georgia/Florida, the Major League all star game has eery similarities.

First, the NL (Georgia, aka the good guys) used to dominate this series. The NL once had a streak of 19 of 20 all star wins. Now, the AL has complete dominance and has won about 10 in a row. (Thankfully, Georgia at least broke Florida's dominant streaks in 97 and 04). Plus, the AL seems to have a talent advantage and the NL is looked at more middling now.

Heading into the all star break, most analysts love the Red Sox, Angels, Tigers, Twins and Indians as all legit World Series contenders. In the NL, you have all possible Playoff teams within 2-5 games of one another...a lot of even handed mediocrity.

But hey, as the Cardinals proved in 2006, whoever gets to represent the NL in the World Series, can get hot at the right time, even with a far lesser team, and win the whole thing. The Tigers were a much more talented team but the Cards got hot and won. Let's hope the NL gets hot tonight.

Phillip Ramati said...

Unfortunately, looking at tonight's AL starting lineup, I don't see the NL breaking the streak this year.