July 11, 2023
The 2023 All-Star Game is now well underway, with the National League leading 3-2 in the 8th inning, trying desperately to prevent the American League from winning the tenth consecutive Midsummer Classic. (The event was cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic; see the annual chronology page.) Elias Diaz [of the Colorado Rockies] hit a two-run home run in the top of the 8th to put the NL on top. Because of all the injuries, the Texas Rangers ended up with FIVE players on the starting lineup: Marcus Semien, Corey Seager, Adolis Garcia, Josh Jung, and Jonah Heim. The Washington Nationals' lone representative, Josiah Gray, got through a quick 1-2-3 second inning.
[UPDATE: Closing pitcher Craig Kimbrel (of the Philadelphia Phillies) got the first two batters out, then gave up two walks, but managed to strike out Jose Ramirez (of the Cleveland Guardians) to get the save for the National League. As a result, the NL All-Stars won the Midsummer Classic for the first time since 2012!]
Coincidentally or not, I happened to be at the venue for this year's big game last month. Somehow I seem to show up at stadiums that either were just about to host the All-Star Game, or just did, as noted in my April 6, 2021 blog post, which features a montage of five different All-Star Game logos: Comerica Park (2005), Yankee Stadium (2008), Nationals Park (2018), Kauffman Stadium (2012), and Busch Stadium III (2009).
The T-Mobile Park diagrams have been (or are being) partially revised as this game got underway. The most significant change since the last update in 2020 is that the angle between the two wings of the grandstand has been reduced by about 2 degrees. It is definitely a "work in progress," with several details yet to be finalized, so I didn't even bother to update the original (1999) diagram or the variable-roof diagrams. During my brief visit two and half weeks ago, I made note of several details of which I was not aware, and this update does not reflect those. Later this summer I will redo all of those diagrams, as well as a version showing the lower deck and perhaps one of the upper deck without the roof.
In the geographic section of the T-Mobile Park page, the following scenic montage of Seattle has been included:
As so often happens, the player who hit the most number of home runs in the first round ended up losing to someone else. Home-town favorite Julio Rodriguez knocked an amazing 41 homers in Round 1, beating the Mets' Pete Alonso by 20, but Vlad Guerrero Jr. (of the Blue Jays) beat him in Round 2 and ended up winning the Home Run Derby in Round 3, prevailing over Randy Arozarena of the Rays.
In Washington on Sunday afternoon, the Washington Nationals beat the Texas Rangers for the second day in a row, thus winning their fourth series of the last five. The Rangers have been in first place in the AL West Division since early in the season, so the Nats deserve credit for overcoming the odds. Bouncing back from the embarrassment of being swept by the Cincinnati Reds in four games was a sign that, whatever the team may lack, they at least have a core reserve of spirit and motivation. The biggest factor in their rebound was Joey Meneses, who homered twice (to no avail) in the 7-2 loss on Friday, and then homered both on Saturday (when the Nats won 8-3) and on Sunday (when the Nats won 7-2). Obviously, a big factor in the two victories was the starting pitchers: rookie Jake Irvin made it through five innings on Saturday, and weary veteran Patrick Corbin sailed through seven innings on Sunday, striking out six batters and only walking one. His improved control was very reassuring. On Friday the Nationals will begin a road trip in St. Louis, against a Cardinals team that remains at the bottom of their division. For the past month, the Nats have been pitted against some very stiff competition, so perhaps getting easier opponents will help them improve.