The Mid-Summer Classic

Though I have rehearsal (and am pleased to be there!), tonight is an American holiday, and I thought I’d offer you a few past mid-summer classic reminiscences and thoughts.

Though I can’t say I’m a fan of some of commissioner Alan (“Bud”!) H. Selig’s so-called improvements on the MLB All-Star game (this year’s decree that a starting pitcher who hurls on Sunday is ineligible; the permanent addition of the idiotic D.H.; and, oh yeah, ‘This One Counts’) and I do wish the game was treated a bit more like it was in the middle of last century, I am nonetheless, as a fan of the game, a big fan of the mid-summer classic.  Who can forget Teddy Ballgame’s legendary last appearance at Fenway in ’99, years before he was, sadly and oddly, cryogenically frozen?  Or maybe even better, Cal Ripken’s softball home run in his 19th and final game in ’91?  If there’s something All-Star games do well, it’s built instant memories around icons of the game.

For years I would watch most of all the game alone, as my father always seemingly had a town council meeting on that Tuesday night.  He’d hurry in for the last few innings, and I’d tell him how a starting Met did, and we’d wondered why the National League was on-pace to lose again.  Perhaps my fondest All-Star game memory is home from college on summer, with him off work, I had a few friends good friends over and we dragged the TV through the kitchen window and on to the deck, so we could barbeque, sit outside, and have two generations enjoy the classic matchup of Mike Piazza vs. Roger Clemens (knowing what we know now about the Rocket, it hardly seems fair).

For the past several years I’ve hosted a All-Star game gathering in L.A., which I’ll sorely miss tonight.  Usually the same cast of characters with, as a friend of mine was reminding me yesterday, mini-sandwiches, ciders and Sauvignon blanc (because the game is different with Sauvignon blanc).  But really it was a great chance to catch the game, catch up with friends, and take stock of both the middle of the baseball season and the middle of the year.  Oh, and watch the American League always freaking win.  (One of my favorite recent game memories?  ’07 in San Francisco–  there may not be a more beautiful park, and watching ’em jack it out to McCovey’s Cove was something.)

Soon, I hope (especially since two year’s was at that bandbox known as the new Stadium) the game will come to the other new ballpark in New York City, and I will be there.  Not participating in the Home Run Derby, sadly,  but who wouldn’t want to attend an All-Star game once in their life?  This year, however, I’ll TiVo David Wright’s start (and miss the oft-injured Jose Reyes’), and hope Ubaldo Jiminez and the N.L.’s ‘year of the pitcher’ can stave off the A.L.  I’ll catch the tail end, and think of prior games.  I’ll dismiss the whole ‘This One Counts’ notion (as well as the notion that Charlie Manuel couldn’t find room for Mets starter Mike Pelphrey on the roster), and I’ll go back and watch the inevitable yet understandable salute to the memorable, crazy, undeniable King George.

I will end by here by floating an idea I read the other day:  Schedule the MLB All-Star game on July 4th.  There’s no major sporting event that day (a hot dog eating contest is not a major sporting event!), and what’s a better way to celebrate the 4th than an afternoon ballgame?

Enjoy the Mid-Summer Classic.  Let’s hope they don’t run out of pitchers.


One Response to “The Mid-Summer Classic”

  1. The Madness of King George « Wally's Blog Says:

    […] Wally's Blog Just another weblog « The Mid-Summer Classic […]

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