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In one of the most entertaining All-Star Games in years, the National League ended its nine-game losing streak with a 3-2 win over the American League at T-Mobile Park in Seattle on Tuesday night.
Oriole closer Félix Bautista allowed a two-run home run to Elias Díaz of the Colorado Rockies in the top of the eighth. Bautista was the losing pitcher.
The AL led, 2-1, entering the eight, and had they held on to the lead, Oriole reliever Yennier Cano, who pitched a scoreless sixth, would have been the winner.
Oriole catcher Adley Rutschman, who was hitless in his one at-bat, was on deck when Craig Kimbrel struck out Cleveland’s José Ramirez with runners on first and second and two outs.
Oriole outfielder Austin Hays started the game in center field and was 1-for-2.
Should the All-Star Game format change? Decades ago, there was a real rivalry between the National and American leagues. The leagues despised each other, and there was an air of mystery because there was no interleague play.
Those times were recalled during the game, when a story about AL manager Dusty Baker’s first All-Star Game when Pete Rose told him how the NL couldn’t lose to the AL
That was an example of FOX’s fine production throughout the night. I’m not normally a fan of pregame shows, but the entertaining interview with Cal Ripken Jr. was terrific as he talked about his final All-Star Game in Seattle in 2001.
They made good choices about which players to mic up. The byplay between the Dodgers’ Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman was nice, and watching the reaction shots from both dugouts in the ninth inning showed the players actually cared about who won.
I never had an objection to tying home field advantage in the World Series to the winning league in the All-Star Game, but the players did, and that’s been eliminated.
Since every team now plays each other during the regular season, the mystique is lessened further. Since the designated hitter is now universal, there’s really no difference between the leagues.
Fans have a great time in the runup to the game. There’s the Futures Game, celebrity softball game and countless community events before the players arrive.
In many ways, the Home Run Derby is more popular than the game itself because it’s unique. There’s the pressure of time and participants have to fight off exhaustion.
Years ago, players wore the uniforms of their own teams instead of generic “American” and “National” tops, and the batting helmets with the “A” or “N” looked horrible. Why can’t we bring back individual jerseys?
Perhaps it’s time for a rethinking of the concept of American versus National. How about trying a U.S. versus the World format?
The World Baseball Classic was great. The passion of the players and the fans was infectious. LoanDepot Park, the normally antiseptic home of the Miami Marlins pulsated, and the highlight of the tournament was Japan’s Shohei Ohtani striking out his Los Angeles Angels teammate, the U.S.’ Mike Trout.
Wouldn’t it be fun to see Ohtani as a teammate of Ronald Acuña Jr. or Vladimir Guerrero Jr.? Or Trout or Aaron Judge on the same team with Clayton Kershaw?
Another idea is to take the NBA idea and have captains choose the All-Star teams. Voting would continue in the same way it does now, and once the reserves and pitchers are chosen, captains would choose sides.
At least now, you can identify with the National and American league teams, but the choosing of sides removes whatever passion remains.
Looking back at the draft: In the days before the draft, one of the popular questions to Orioles executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias and the team’s director of draft operations Brad Ciolek was, why don’t the Orioles draft pitchers?
While the Orioles didn’t draft a pitcher with either of their first two choices, 13 of the next 18 drafted were pitchers, and each was a college pitcher. Only one of the pitchers is left-handed.
Jackson Baumeister, from Florida State, was the first pitcher taken by Elias on the draft’s first day, and six of the pitchers were from big-time schools.
Blake Money and Riley Cooper, the 12th- and 13th-round choices, were both from LSU, which won last month’s College World Series.
The Orioles, who have successfully drafted Gunnar Henderson and Jackson Holliday out of high school, selected just two high school players — outfielder Qrey Lott from Georgia in the 15th round, and shortstop Kollin Ritchie in the 19th round.
Perhaps the most interesting choice was Tanner Witt from the University of Texas in the 18th round. Witt had Tommy John surgery in 2022 and didn’t pitch well this season.
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