Prologue- The Home Run Hitting contest was noteworthy due to Prince Fielder's participation.
Prince hit 5 homers in the first round, which left him on the sidelines for the rest of the contest.
Jim Leyland, no doubt, was not disappointed that the reigning HR hitting champ wouldn't have any further chance to strain anything. Like a rib cage.
The televised version of the HR Derby is basically ruined by the duck-squawking calls of the grating Chris Berman. Three hours of hearing "back back back!' is essentially a form of audio torture, so the viewer listens to what he can tolerate, and either hits the mute button, or switches to any other channel. During a 3 hour ball game, Tigers' fans were treated to Ernie Harwell's "Long Gone!" call, on average, 2 or 3 times. Berman screeched his duck-call dozens and dozens and dozens, and dozens of times. Chris! Stop! Please!
Oh well, its all for fun of course, and in 1991 I was in Toronto to watch the HR Derby live, and as with most sports, there is nothing like being there. Another Fielder, Prince's Dad Cecil, participated and it was absolutely a lot of fun. I supplied my own commentary, and didn't have to endure one "back back back!"
All-Star game- A lot of things to enjoy, not the least being the American League's 3-0 win, handing World Series home field advantage to the Tigers. Or some other A.L. team, but of course.....never mind. Tigers vs Arizona. Welcome to Games 1 and 2 in Detroit, Gibby.
Max Scherzer did a great imitation of Max Scherzer; almost perfect, throwing a stingy 12 pitches (8 strikes) in his 1 inning of work. After the game, Max said, "That's what it's all about, when you have success, enjoying it with your teammates..." Nothing like watching a beaming all-star from your team having the time of his life. Well done Max.
Miguel Cabrera, baseball's most prolific hitter, chipped in with a double and a (winning) run scored. Jhonny Peralta was 1-1 with a single, and lightning-fast Prince Fielder provided one of the
highlight's of the night with a triple that scooted past the right fielder and was finally retrieved by
the second baseman. By the time the ball was thrown to third base, Prince was doing an Olympic-style belly flop in the vicinity of third base. His gleeful "whoooo" blasted thru the TV speakers, and his teammates were grinning, laughing and having a ball. A classic All-Star moment, that illustrated that Baseball's All-Star game is both fun and competitive.
Mariano Rivera's appearance was a perfectly executed moment, due in large part to Jim Leyland leaving no doubt that Mariano would make an appearance in his final All-Star game. Although unlikely, the possibility existed that the N.L. could score 4 runs in the 8th inning, while the A.L. failed to score in the 9th. No Mariano. No standing ovation. No more Jim Leyland. The Tigers' manager set the stage for a majestic entrance for the future hall of famer, allowing the relief specialist to trot onto the field at the start of the inning, and while the position players stayed in the dugout, Rivera had the stage to himself. Very cool moment for one of the classy guys in baseball.
One more observation. The All-Star game has always intrigued me for a lot of reasons, but the one that pleases me as much as any of the others, is the colorful spectacle of the uniforms. Every team is represented, and every uniform is on display. There's nothing like it in sports. The historic, classic uniforms of the Cardinals, Yankees, Red Sox, Pirates, Dodgers, and of course, the Tigers. No English D this year, but those road uniforms represent our team. And they were part of a colorful
and fantastic tradition. There is nothing like baseball.