Wednesday, July 16, 2008

All Star Game Thoughts

Just some feelings and observations from the 2008 All Star Game.

New York, in general, did a nice job of putting on a good show, a great party, and a fun baseball game. Very appropriate that Yankee Stadium got to host the game in its final year. I thought the All Star Game was a great way to celebrate the storied ball park (especially since it does not look overly hopeful that the stadium will be part of too much post-season action). Of course, you never know, that's just how it looks right now. Until they get the pitching in line, the post season is a long shot.

I have always disliked the 'typical' Yankee fan (there are many out there I do like, and some of my closest friends are Yankee fans). But the fan I am talking about is the one who does not really know the game, or really know what is going on. All they know is that they have won a lot of rings, and they'll beat you eventually. This fan also does not love baseball, this fan only loves winning. When you watch a Yankee game, and the stands start emptying out in the 7th inning of a critical game because the Yankees are losing, those are the fans I'm talking about.

Those fans rose on my hate meter this week. First, for freaking out and totally harassing Jonathan Papelbon and his pregnant wife, all because the guy wants to be the one to close the All Star Game. In the same conversation, he gives props to the wonderful Mariano Rivera, and looks up to him in awe, but that does not matter. So, because a closer wants to close a historic game, the fans have to let his pregnant wife hear it? In the parade, the fans have to yell obscenities at Jason Varitek who happens to have his children with him? It is one thing to hurl swears at a player, but not with his kids right there.

Meanwhile the stars of all the AL teams are joined together, battling as one, hoping to win and secure home field advantage for the World Series. The players work hard together, the Sox players lead the way in that battle, and the Sox manager shows class and sportsmanship when he sends someone to run and find A-Rod in the clubhouse before he gets undressed so he can send him back out for one more out, giving him a chance to draw a rousing cheer from the home crowd. Terry Francona repeats the gesture to Derek Jeter, allowing both live a wonderful moment in the final year of the old stadium. The players all are impressed with the class and grace by which Terry handles the team.

Meanwhile, Yankee fans continue to boo their own team (the AL team) whenever a Sox player shows his face. JD Drew hits a game preserving 2 run home run and gets greeted with silence from the fans, and a new round of boos when he takes right field again. One Red Sox player got cheers and that was Papelbon when Miguel Tejada scored the go-ahead run from third on a sacrifice fly. The run was not charged to Papelbon by the way, Tejada reached third on a horrific throwing error from the catcher to second on a steal.

Enough ranting. All I have to say about the fans was that there was very little class shown, and no sportsmanlike conduct whatsoever. I really don't care if Yankee fans are less interested in cheering for Sox players, but all I saw was a total lack of respect for the game, period. Shame.

Meanwhile, the game was great, exciting, and well played. I do think I'd rather see managers manage the game more like a real game. Use your starters for 3 or 4 innings, not just one. Don't try to bend over backwards to get every player on the field. Historically, there were always players who never got in the game, why worry about that now?

Cheers to JD Drew, MVP of his first All Star Game. Well deserved, and let's hope he keeps up the pace for the rest of the season. Another fun time was the home run derby. Josh Hamilton was amazing. The guy can swing a bat! Too bad he wasted away his first few years wallowing in drugs. Maybe he can stay on track and carve out a place for himself in history. And, with this being a celebration of Yankee Stadium's last year, it was incredibly dissapointing that A-Rod, the likely future all time home run leader, refused to participate in teh Home Run Derby, as did Jason Giambi. Nice going guys.


Fenway West said...

I think the Yankee fans acted like that because it was the last time the nation will care about what is happening at Yankee stadium this year

Rooster said...

Good point, FW. The lack of participation and interest by Yankee players, the lack of grace of Yankee fans all put a bitter twist to what was otherwise a fun event.