Almanac Baseball: 2017 All Star Game

 

Yesterday was a big day in sport. In the Old Dart we had the Aussie women get a good win over the Indians in the Womens Cricket World Cup and the big guns of Murray and Djokovic tumble out of Wimbledon seemingly paving the way for a FedEx fairytale. Oh yeah and there was a certain game in Brisbane too.

 

Just like the talking point of one teams’s dominance over another in that game (Qld vis-a-vis NSW) we also had a similar theme running in Florida for the 2017 MLB All Star Game. The AL all stars got the job done again leaving the NLAS gnashing teeth and wondering what went wrong. Unlike the scoreline in Brisbane, the ALAS only won by the solitary run and it took an extra inning but the end result was the same. One team having the mental edge over the other has as much resonance in close games as any other I feel. The notion of honourable losses doesn’t cut it for most fans. I should know I’m a Kangas man. But back to the game.

 

It was a classic case of pitchers dominating in big games and the winning run coming from a big time slugger. The Seattle Mariners haven’t really been in the frame for most of this season but they do have one of the greatest of pinch hitters. When Robinson Cano stepped up to the plate in the top of the 10th he sensed that this was his moment. A 1-1 curveball looked like just the ball he wanted. A sweet swing ensued and into the stands it went. All that was needed now was that great closer Andrew Miller to get the 3 outs. He gave up a walk to Joey Votto but wrote his end script perfectly with a strikeout of a dangerous hitter in Cody Bellinger.

 

That magical 10th inning was a perfect coda for what had been a fairly uninspiring game for the other 9 innings. And that is why baseball is such a wonderful game. The grind of a game can be overcome with a spark by a great player. Cano was the natural choice of MVP but Miller’s work was also exemplary as was the pitcher he replaced, Craig Kimbrel. I am biased as a Red Sox fan but I think Kimbrel is the best closer in the majors the way Sale is as a starter. As we now get into the 2nd half of the season I firmly believe the Red Sox can go all the way in October.

 

For the moment, though, let’s revel in a great American tradition. In the afterglow of 4th of July celebrations they show the world that for those of us who love their national pastime the All Star Game is a great marker on the calendar. Let’s do it all again next year.

 

 

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Grew up playing the rugby codes in suburban Sydney. Moved to Melbourne during the Carey era so becoming a Shinboner was the natural call. Still love the game they play in heaven. Took an interest in MLB a few years back and have become infatuated with America's pastime.

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