Tuesday, July 14, 2009

All-Star Memories... or Lack Thereof

I didn't watch a single swing of Major League Baseball's Home Run Derby. Work interfered. Sure I could have DVR'd it (doesn't hurt to plug the company), and I saw the highlights this morning, but I really had no interest. Much like the NBA's Slam Dunk Contest, the bloom is off the rose. It's just too long. I'm not fascinated by how far these players can hit a batting practice fastball. Turn around a 96 MPH heater during a game and then you'll catch my attention. Besides, in light of the multitude of players who have admitted or been linked to performance enhancing drugs, how do I know who's legit or not?

I do love the All-Star game, though. Have ever since I was a kid. However I was taken aback when I looked up the game's recent history and saw where the National League hasn't won since '96! The game was in Philadelphia that year and I think Mike Piazza was named the game's Most Valuable Player. I say "think" because that's around the time I began my broadcasting career; and like last night--work kept me from watching the game. I know what you're thinking, You work in sports. How could you NOT watch the game? Well, believe it or not we don't get to sit around in the office and watch sports all night.

It's only been recently that I've been able to sit at home and watch the game. That's probably why my memories of the Mid-Summer Classic have been vague at best for the last decade or so. Of course it hasn't helped the American League has dominated. I grew up during the National League's domance in the '70s & '80s; and being from an NL city, that's who I pull for. I tend to think the All-Star game was better then, and not just because the NL won most of the time. Thanks to the MLB Network I've re-watched some of those games over the past weekend and it's only confirmed my memories. The past generations of players wanted to win--badly. Somewhere along the way the game became more of an exhibition. Even now despite having World Series home-field advantage on the line, managers are more worried about getting everybody in and players swing for the fences or throw as hard as they can. It's sad really to me. The advent of Interleague play (which I detest) certainly has hurt.

Won't be able to watch tonight, either... gotta work. I did remember to set the DVR, so I'll watch later. And why I'll be pulling for the National League to break its 12-year winless streak, more importantly I be pulling for a game like last year. One full of great plays and drama and competitiveness. Just like the ones I witnessed all those years ago as a kid growing up.
-Jason Brown

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