July 12, 2005 [LINK]
Motor City All Star Game
3rd UPDATE: The NL team made a good show in the late innings, and threatened to tie it in the ninth, until Mariano Rivera struck out Morgan Enberg to finish it. Final score: 7-5. The "Junior Circuit" has now won for nine years in a row. Why has the All Star game become so prone to consecutive victories since the early 1960s? (The NL won every game from 1963 to 1982 except for 1971.) For the first thirty years, neither league won more than four years in a row. I had thought that FOX sportscastress Jeannie Zelasko was looking a little frazzled in recent weeks, but was I the only one not to realize that she was with child until last week? Her postgame interview with MVP Miguel Tejada broke yet another cultural barrier in sports history. I liked it when Joe Buck asked Tim McCarver early in the game: "Do you remember that the Washington Nationals used to be the Montreal Expos?" Or words to that effect.
2ND UPDATE: Nats' closer Chad Cordero was indeed called in to relieve San Diego's Jake Peavy in the bottom of the eighth inning. He struck out Pudge Rodriguez, who will probably be the last AL batter in the game, unless the National League can stage a four-run rally in the ninth. Thanks to David Pinto at Baseball Musings for letting his fans know about comparing Comerica Park and Tiger Stadium on this site. He has been assessing several of the teams' performance and prospects this evening. Kenny Rogers made a sincere-sounding apology and was therefore allowed to play tonight. Andruw Jones' huge home run past the left field corner in the seventh inning perhaps made him wish he hadn't showed up.
UPDATE: Revisions to the Comerica Park diagrams are now complete, in time for the latter part of the All Star game. The AL is ahead 5-0 as of the top of the sixth inning, and it's strange for me to be rooting for the National League for the first time. Washington's Livan Hernandez didn't have much success in the fourth inning, allowing [two] hits and two runs. Will manager Tony LaRussa let Chad Cordero pitch as the closer?
Mike Zurawski inquired whether I intend to redo the Comerica Park diagrams in recognition of it being the venue for this year's Midsummer Classic. I wasn't sure if I could manage to devote more eye-squinting and pixel tweaking after the monumental task in redoing the Tiger Stadium diagrams, but it turns out to have been easier than I expected, reflecting Comerica's simplicity and relative symmetry. I hope to do the fine touches between innings, and finish it by the end of the game. Stay tuned! I still think it's too bad they reduced the size of left field last year; I wonder if anyone tabulated how many of the dingers in last night's Home Run Derby fell into the bullpens which used to be in play? Bobby Abreu's record-breaking total of 41 homers might have meant more if they had left it with the original dimensions. On the other hand, it's still bigger than Tiger Stadium used to be, except in dead center field. Check it out on the Side-by-side page.
"World Baseball Classic"
As expected, there will be a "world cup" of sorts for baseball next year, with national teams from twelve countries: Australia, Canada, China, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Italy (!?), the Netherlands (!?), Japan, Korea, Mexico, Panama, Puerto Rico, South Africa (!?), Taiwan, the United States and Venezuela. Will Hugo Chavez and his buddy Fidel Castro show up? It will take place next March, mostly in the U.S.A., though the venues have not yet been specified. See MLB.com. Ironically, this news comes just after the International Olympic Committee announced that baseball and softball will be dropped as of 2012, the first time that a sport has been deleted since the 1930s. Well, at least they'll still have synchronized swimming!