Based on the wild popularity of my previous baseball article, my dear editor decided to give me another opportunity to write about our national pastime. Believe it or not, it is an exciting time for baseball, because tonight the city of St. Louis is playing host to Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game. There have been many pundits who have denounced the game, saying that it has lost its magic. I beg to differ. This game is still a quality showcase of the finest talent the game has to offer, and unlike every other all-star competition, these guys actually show up to play. So sit tight and don’t make any plans, because the stars are coming out to play tonight.
7. One of the greatest baseball towns celebrating a great baseball tradition. I’ve been to Chicago and they’re too depressed because the Cubs never win. I’ve been to New York and all anyone talks about is how David Wright is not living up to expectations or who A-Rod is dating. Los Angeles could be a good baseball town, but its allegiance is split between two teams. St. Louis is a true baseball town. I watched a series the Cardinals played against the Rockies, and Busch Stadium was packed for every game. The fans in St. Louis are true baseball fans that are dedicated to their team, win or lose. If there is any city that can welcome the mid-summer classic with class, it’s the Gateway to the West.
6. Tim Lincecum. If you ever saw this guy on the street, you would never guess that he is the most dominant pitcher in the game. He measures 5’11’’ and tips the scales at 170 lbs, completely soaked. He is ranked in the top three of every major pitching statistic, including a league-leading 149 strikeouts and 3 complete games. Not bad for a guy who looks like he is 15. He is the starting pitcher for the National League tonight, so at least tune in for the first few innings to see this guy mow down the competition.
5. Obama Throws out the First Pitch. Throwing out a first pitch is a continuing presidential tradition that was established back with William Howard Taft. President Obama has already thrown out a first pitch, but that was back in 2008 at US Cellular Field in Chicago when he was a Senator. This will be his first official pitch as a president. Five bucks says he shorts it.
4. Albert Pujols vs. Roy Halladay. Gambling should never be allowed when these guys are playing, because it is a guarantee that they will perform. These guys are gamers. Pujols is arguably one of the best hitters ever, while Halladay has been the most consistent pitcher in the league over the past seven years. Put the two together and you have an epic battle on the diamond.
3. Bailey, Hawpe, Johnson… Who? Don’t know who these guys are? Watch the All-Star Game and find out. Andrew Bailey has been nothing short of dominant as a reliever for the Oakland Athletics. In the 51 innings that he has pitched in relief, he has given up a minuscule 11 runs. Trust me, that’s pretty darn good. Brad Hawpe of the Colorado Rockies is the definition of clutch. His major league leading 33 RBIs with two outs is one of the reasons the Rockies have the fifth-best record in the National League. Josh Johnson is one of the best starting pitchers in the game, but gets little recognition because he plays for the Florida Marlins. I watched this guy outduel Johan Santana back in May at Citi Field and have been impressed with his stuff ever since. The All-Star Game is not only a showcase of known stars, but also some great up and coming talent.
2. An NL Victory… Maybe? The American League has been dominant in recent years, sporting an 11-0-1 record since 1997. I think the NL can squeak out a win this time around. They have a quality pitching staff with a lineup that has an insane amount of power. They’re also playing in a National League park, so this year might be the one.
1. No Manny, No A-Rod, No Problem. We can all thank the baseball gods that these two lowlifes aren’t on the big stage this week. Baseball is getting closer to a game without steroids and the quicker they can eradicate these cheaters, the better.
Now Bud Selig will try and tell you to watch the game so you can figure out who will have home field advantage in the World Series, but that’s a horrible gimmick. Watch the game so you can see the best talent this game has to offer and rediscover your love for baseball.
The MLB All-Star Game airs tonight at 6:00 p.m on FOX.
Jake Welch is a sports writer for Rhombus and also contributes to the magazine’s Munchmobile feature. He is destined to write articles defending baseball’s continued existence and/or relevance FOREVER.
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