Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Groovy Man

Last night marked the 85th MLB All-Star Game and just for maybe the 10th time in MLB history, people cared about the game. But people didn't really care about the game, they cared about the player. Derek Jeter of course. It would be his final mid summers not so classic and everybody and anybody who called themselves a fan of baseball tuned in to tip their cap to the captain in what should be renamed the 2014 Derek Jeter game.

Let's be honest though, Jeter didn't necessarily deserve a spot in the game this year after his performance for the first half. He isn't in the top five in any statistical category with his fellow short stops except for hits in which he is ranked third. Still, third is pretty impressive for a 40 year old if you ask me. Either way, the fans did him justice for his career body of work and contribution to the game and booked him his 14th trip to the game.

American League Manager John Farrell also did him the justice he deserved by slotting him in his natural lead-off spot even though he probably should have been batting ninth, if that.

With Jeter batting first it didn't take long for the ceremonies to begin. Jeter walked to the plate with a rousing ovation from the crowd and after an brief exchange with catcher Jonathan Lucroy, in which he asked what Adam Wainwright would throw to him, he looked up to see Wainwright joining in the ovation. The best part was Wainwright had removed his glove and placed it on the ground to ensure Jeter got the ovation he deserved. As much as Jeter appreciated the moment all he wanted to do was play as you can see him in a replay yell out, with a huge smile I might add, "Let's go!" to Wainwright

This is when things start to get a little sticky and really the only part of the game I want to address. Wainwright pitched Jeter three straight fastballs that even Kirk Gibson, with two bad knees, could have slapped through a gap for a single. Jeter did better though and took the third pitch for a double.

Wainwright ended up conceding three runs in the inning and was eventually pulled from the game. In an interview after getting pulled Wainwright, in a  joking demeanor mind you, said that he "grooved" his pitches to Jeter. Also known as, I threw him what was basically a beach ball.

Now for some odd reason, people got very upset with this and started saying that it took away from Jeter's moment and his night. I'm sorry did you really think Wainwright was going to gas one in there at 95 and then follow it up with a filthy slider? It is the All-Star game. The ONLY reason 90 percent of the people are watching the game is for the man at the plate, not the man on the mound and I am pretty sure Wainwright knew this. It is the same thing Chan Ho Park knew when Cal Ripken Jr. stepped up to the plate in his last All-Star game. You really think Ripken Jr. could have hit that home run without a little help?

It isn't just baseball either. When a player has contributed so much to a specific sport and is about to retire, the All-Star game is the place to do the most honorable thing for them, which is give them one last moment on top. Wayne Gretzky put in two goals and had two assists in his final All-Star Game. The NBA brought Magic Johnson back for the All-Star game after he had to retire prior to the start of the season. Magic had fantastic one-on-one showdowns with Jordan and Isaiah in which he bested the both of them (I bet neither gave 100 percent on defense against him) and then he drained a money three from Guam with 14 seconds left in the game and you know what they did? They ended the game. Fourteen seconds left and they called a quits because there couldn't have been a better way to end it. Even in the NFL things are done. Jeff Saturday, arguably one of the best centers of all time, announced his last game would be the 2013 Pro Bowl (a game he also didn't necessarily deserve to be in also). Saturday was repping the NFC in the game and what did the NFL do for him? They had him switch teams at the very end of the game so he could take one last snap from his partner in crime Peyton Manning.

It is what we as fans love. Yes it is kind of like when all the women of the world found out The Hills and Laguna Beach were scripted. Yeah I'm sure it was disappointing, but there is a reason reruns are still played all the time.

The best thing is, if Jeter is a little upset that he had a little help in his final All-Star game, he will always have his 3,000th hit. You know David Price wasn't taking it easy on his division rival.

A few quick last points. First off, if instant replay was not instituted into the game of baseball, there is a 100 percent chance Andrew McCutchen is out at first after Jeter's first inning web gem. If you ask me that would have been a way more Jeter esq moment too. Dumb ump should have called him out and nobody would have said boo.

How long until somebody like Yasiel Puig comes out and says that Wainwright should not have grooved the pitch because the game means so much now. If it is Puig who says it I think the guy should look at himself for the issue though, 0-3 with 3k's, not to mention no bombs in the derby. HA.

Fox and the MLB messed up big time for not including some sort of tribute to either Don Zimmerman, a man who spent 10 years with Jeter, or Tony Gwynn. A major mental lapse on the two conglomerates. At least the MLB had patches for Zimmerman and some players honored Gwynn with initialed caps. For the MLB themselves not to do anything for the man with the second most all time all star appearances in a downright travesty. Could there be a more perfect time to honor the man?

Lastly, the night was so Jeter oriented, that you could hear some ass clown chanting out "overrated" when Jeter came to the plate the first time. That chant has since been removed from the highlight reel on the MLB website.


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