Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The NL Wins the 81st Mid-Summer Classic

Amid the pall surrounding the death of "The Boss" George Steinbrenner, the National League won their first All-Star game since 1996 with dominating pitching, timely hitting and alert defense. The final score was 3-1 thanks in part to a bases clearing double by Atlanta Braves Catcher Brian McCann. McCann drove in three runs with his rope into the left field corner against White Sox reliever Matt Thornton. The NL pitching kept the AL powerful offense to only one run while striking out eight. The AL also ran themselves out of potential runs with Elvis Andrus over-sliding second base on a steal attempt and with David Ortiz being thrown out at second base by Left fielder Marlon Byrd in the bottom of the ninth. It is at this point that some controversy may develop.

AL Manager Joe Girardi had one player left on the bench. Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez was available to play and could have either pinch-ran for Ortiz or pinch-hit for Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler who eventually lined out to Centerfielder Chris Young of the Arizona Diamondbacks. But in the end, A-Rod watched with the rest of his All-Star teammates as the NL broke the AL's 13-year win streak. Already the internet is buzzing with criticism of Girardi's decision to not play A-Rod. I have to admit that I sat there watching wondering why Kinsler was still batting instead of A-Rod.

A-Rod said after the game that he was fine physically, but just didn't get the call from New York manager Joe Girardi. Here is what he said:

"I sat there for about three hours, but I was loose and I was ready to go in the eighth and ninth," Rodriguez said. "We had a couple of situations where I could have gone in, but it was up to him on which situation to put me in. But it's not my first. Thank God everything's good and I'm ready to go on Friday."

Joe Girardi had the following to say when asked about why he didn't use A-Rod in the ninth inning:

"If the situation arose, you get extra innings, he probably would be my DH," Girardi said of A-Rod. "We were talking about pinch-running him in a situation. We also had a little issue with [Adrian] Beltre, and we were concerned about his hamstring. So if we get the tying run on, Al was going to pinch-run and then go in."

I have to say that I am proud of A-Rod for his comments. A few years ago he may have been slighted by Girardi's decision to not use him causing terrible damage to his frayed psyche and made comments that would have destroyed the team's chemistry. A-Rod admitted that he missed not being at the All-Star game last year in St. Louis and cherished being given the chance to be at the game this year. I guess last year's admission of his steroid use, his subsequent humbling and the achievement of his longtime goal of becoming a World Champion has changed A-Rod for the better. It also seems as if he hold no ill will towards his manager. Hopefully for the Yankees that this is the case. In terms of the home field advantage won by that National League for the World Series, we'll find out in October if it is truly an advantage or not.

For Further Reading:
- Click Here for Lyle Spenser's article on MLB.com on the All-Star game and postgame comments made by Girardi and Rodriguez
- Click Here for Mark Feinsand's article on NYDailyNews.com concerning A-Rod's feelings on returning to the All-Star game

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