Carlos Pena showed the country last night that we can hit the ball out of the park.
Carl Crawford showed viewers that we can also bring the ball back in.
I was hoping. I was hoping that CC’s 1-3 night and amazing game saving catch would be enough.
Our own Carl Crawford took home the MVP trophy for tonight’s All-Star Game–the first Ray ever to do so. It was an amazing feat that shows exactly how far this franchise has come the last few years.
I was excited that tonight’s game was going to showcase 5 Rays and help get the nation more acquainted with our squad of hard workers. Our guys helped to show the naysayers that this team has alot that will be said before this season is over, playing solid enough defense to lead the AL squad to a 4-3 victory over the NL.
It is no coincidence that fielding has been a hallmark of Joe Maddon’s teams the last few seasons, and to emphasize the point Crawford went blazonly at the fence after Rockie Brad Hawpe launched a long ball towards left center field. CC did what CC does best–he took away a hit.
Only this time, the “hit” he stole was going to be a game-tying home run.
Hawpe hit it to the wrong side of the ballpark.
Crawford exhibited his typical humble personality in his postgame interview. In fact, he seemed happier to have gotten an autographed baseball from our nation’s president than he did to be the winner of the MVP of the All-Star Game. He told Chris Rose of FOX that it was his teammates, his Rays coaches, and manager Joe Maddon who helped him to be comfortable enough to go out there and play well.
Lucky for the AL, he did play well. In fact, the American League team that makes the World Series (ahem, the Rays) owes Carl a debt of gratitude for giving them home field advantage.
What a great night.
Congrats to CC on being named the AL’s All-Star Game MVP.
Congrats to the Rays on demonstrating the “Ray Way” of playing the game.
ALL STAR RECAP
Overall I would say that the game was a success. I enjoyed it MUCH more than the Home Run Derby the night before. There was alot more drama and more excitement.
Plus, I would say the pitchers last night fared much better than the pitchers at the derby….
Here are some things I noticed about last night’s game:
Wow. Somebody get out a stopwatch because those pitchers were trying for some kind of speed record out there. They got the ball and threw, no hesitation. Of course, it didn’t help that many of the hitters were swinging away at the first or second pitch.
I felt especially bad for Raul Ibanez. The guy gets his first All-Star Game nod and swings at the first pitch he ever seeing in an ASG and fouls out to third. Ouch. Not many good memories there.
Aside from CC’s amazing catch, I thought the fielding was adequate.
The game was punctuated by great catches in the outfield, one for the AL (Crawford) and one for the NL (Jayson Werth’s snag in the 8th to stop an AL potential rally).
Albert Pujols booted one early in the game, but came back to make a few good plays after that.
Jason Bartlett almost made an amazing play diving for a grounder up the middle. That would really have shown everybody how we play defense at the Trop.
(It was kind of cool in the 9th when Bartlett threw out an Upton–Justin Upton)
I know that does not sound exciting, but I felt like the managers were not making a big effort to get guys in during the game. Especially the pitchers. It seemed like Maddon and Manuel were managing to actually win the game. That is great, but doesn’t that detract from the FUN aspect of the game?
People tune in to see their guys get in. The Pirates are not going to have alot of success this season, but seeing Freddy Sanchez and Zach Duke get into the game is kind of neat. Neither made it.
I know that I was looking forward to seeing Ted Lilly throw an inning–or part of an inning. Unfortunately, the only guy who got booed by the always hospitalbe fans of St. Louis did not make an appearance.
In all, the AL used 25 guys and the NL used 26. That means 7-8 guys on each team made the trip to St. Louis, and that was all. The fans who bought the All Star jerseys never got to see their favorite players wear them on the field.
Of course, the job of a manager in a game such as this is tough. But trying to add more significance to the game (home field advantage in the WS) might just be the thing that is taking away some of its sparkle.
In all, I had a great time watching the game. The Rays did well (they got the MVP of the game, duh) and the game moved quickly. The competition was high and there was a level of fun involved.
Now it will be time to get back to the business of real baseball. Something that, I am sure, every player and fan has been itching for since Ben Zobrist caught the final All Star out.