2019 MLB All-Star Game

That was brutal.

Jim Rome
July 10, 2019 - 10:25 am
Justin Verlander

USA Today

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The Pro Bowl comes every year and it somehow manages to get worse every year. And each time I see the Pro Bowl, I’m reminded that no All-Star game is actually any good, expect for the MLB All-Star Game. At least, at one it was. Hell, at one point, the AL and the NL hated each other. At point, they wanted to beat the hell out of each other. At one time, it felt more like a postseason game than it did an exhibition. That game used to have serious juice. And it was in this lifetime. 

I know Pete Rose ain’t coming through that door, much less to run Ray Fosse into the dugout and wreck his career. But that one was the one All-Star game in any sport that truly used to kick ass. And the powers that be no that one: why do you think they’ve jacked with the game as much as they have over the years. Because they’re trying to make it matter again. They’re trying to get us to care about it again. More importantly, they’re trying to get the guys who play in the game to care about it. And last night really didn’t help. I’m trying to have a good attitude about what I saw last night. But I’m failing. Sure, there were a couple of moments, but that’s all there were. A couple of moments and a whole lot of borrring, and time that I’ll never get back. 

 Hell…The night before, Vlad Jr hit 91 home runs in the derby. The ball is leaving the yard faster and further than ever before this season. Where the hell was that last night.  That’s what we all tuned into see. Instead, it devolves into a pitcher duel, between about 50 pitchers. It was a Royal Rumble of pitching.

The National League managed a total of five hits. And 16 strikeouts. There were a total of 13 hits last night and 23 strikeouts. And it could not have been more boring.

American League 4

National League 3

Everyone watching zero.

That was brutal. Usually at this point, I'd play some highlights. But there really weren't any. There was only one set of highlights and I’ll get to them in a minute. 

And no.., I’m not interested in how many times in a row the American League has won. No one is?  Not even the American League. I know the National League isn’t or it wouldn’t keep happening. 

Do you think the NL players went back into their clubhouse last night and were smashing Gatorade jugs because they lost? Of course not. Why would they? They know it’s a meaningless game. And last night had all the feel of a meaningless game.

But if it’s going to be meaningless, at least give us some action. Something. Anything. That game was about as exciting as Commissioner Rob Manfred trying to spin that they don’t know what’s happened to the baseballs. And even better, that MLB teams don’t actually want more home runs. That’s rich. Manfred trying to spin that homeruns suck: and if anything, teams want LESS of them; because no fan is going to pay top dollar to see the best of the best hit it off the scoreboard.  Sure, commissioner.  Teams don’t want more home runs.  And I don’t want better callers to this show.  You don’t want more homeruns, Robert? Just like Roger Goodell, Adam Silver and Gary Bettman don’t want more scoring either, eh, Bobbo. What are you going to tell me next, Rob, that Dana White is going to eliminate striking because what he wants more than anything else is grappling and wrestling matches?

Great. You don’t want home runs. Well you got what they wanted. Because last night ., last night didn’t have much in the way of home runs. Or meaning. Or action. Or anything.

By the seventh inning, it was pretty clear those juiced baseballs weren’t making a difference, so I was hoping Manfred would come out of his box and start personally injecting every single guy with bull roids on the way to the batter’s box. Hell, the game doesn’t count right; it’s just for entertainment, right? Are we not entertained? No. We’re not. But we want to be. Next time let this guy shoot each full of roids during b.p. And give us what we want. 

How boring was last night’s game? When the National League loaded the bases in the eighth inning with a chance to tie or take the lead, I was rooting for outs. Just to get the game over with. There was a brief glimmer of action and honestly by that point, I was just so done with the game, I didn’t even want that action.

At that point, I was practically off the couch, on my knees, begging for the game to not go into extra innings. The only thing worse than that baseball last night would’ve been more of that baseball. Extra innings? Free baseball? Free is me. Unless it has anything to do with last night; and then I’m reaching into my own pocket to make it go away.

In fact, it seems like the only real action last night came before the game and it came in a meeting between Justin Verlander, Joe Torre, Jim Leyland, and at least one other official from Major League Baseball. It would seem that those guys weren’t real thrilled with Verlander’s comments about the balls being juiced and it being a “bleeping joke.” And they let him know about it.

According to Jayson Stark, Verlander’s teammate, Gerrit Cole, was the one who sent him into the office for that meeting: “I may actually have facilitated that meeting. I saw Jim and Joe were in (manager Alex Cora’s) office. And they said hi. Then Jim, in a not profanity-laden way, said, ‘Get Justin in here right now.’ So I came out and said, ‘Hey, Skip wants to see you.’ And he said, ‘OK.’ Then he comes back and he goes, ‘Man, I just got chewed out.’”

Uh, Joe, Jimmy Smokes, and unnamed MLB official, maybe you should’ve had a conversation with everyone about making that game exciting last night. Because that is the bigger issue.

C’mon…actually?? That’s what you’re doing a couple hours before the All-Star Game – hustling down to the manager’s office to call the starting pitcher in so that you can rip him a new one? That’s the most important thing in that moment?

I know you might be bent that a star pitcher and future Hall of Famer was saying the balls were juiced, but at least that was a baseball player getting headlines.

Because last night’s game sure wasn’t getting any. Twitter isn’t always the best gauge of interest, but there were more people getting worked up about Robert Redford in that meme than they were about the MLB All-Star game. It’s a clip of Robert Redford nodding from nearly 50 years ago and it was getting nearly as much run as the Midsummer Classic. That’s a problem.

And by the way, way to handle that situation like pros, Joe, Jimmy, and unnamed MLB official. Verlander makes comments to Jeff Passan and then a gang of guys from the league office come down to tell him to shut up? If anything, that makes me believe Verlander even more than I already did.

Again, I don’t want to come down too hard on the game. I don’t hate baseball. I love it. I really do. If you listen to this show, you know how far back I go with the game. And how much I care about it. Which is why last night was so disappointing.

There are some serious problems with the game right now and last night was further proof of it. The one thing that MLB always had over all the other pro sports was an All-Star game that actually worked. And they don’t have that any more.

Let’s just hope for the sake of Justin, Joe didn’t get Jimmy from a smoke break, because there would have been no shot of Verlander taking that “legit” ball come first pitch.