Photo Credit: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Image – SB Nation
After 15 years of trying to make the All Star game matter, MLB finally came to its senses and made it all about being a fun exhibition game again. The players made this game, this weekend, fun again.
The more iconic moment that’s going to stick out from the game was designated hitter Nelson Cruz asking home plate umpire Jerry West for a selfie; that ended up not being a selfie because the batting gloves didn’t work with the screen on his phone. So NL catcher Benji Molina came to the rescue and took the picture for Cruz and West.
West had just worked his 5,000th game prior to the All Star break which means that he is one of the most experienced umpires on the planet. And that’s apparently why Cruz wanted to grab a picture with him.
In the outfield, Washington Nationals’ outfielder Bryce Harper made a spectacular diving catch, then followed that up with a glorious hairflip.
Fox also had mic’d up outfielders George Springer (Houston) along with Harper when they were actually in the field. Which gave the fans a rare chance to hear players actually banter with the broadcasting crew. And this is something a lot of the players were anticipating, prior to first pitch, about not having the All Star game determine home field advantage for the Series anymore.
“I think it’ll be a little more fun and joking,” said Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager. “We’ll be a little more relaxed. We can have fun with not be as worried about not performing. Obviously you want to perform, but I think it’ll be a lot like home Home Run Derby. You always wanted to treat it like that but couldn’t because it meant so much. It’ll be like backyard whiffle ball tonight.” — Charlotte Wilder, SB Nation
Rockies center fielder Charlie Blackmon agreed with the younger Seager.
“I honestly think it’s better that there’s not something riding on it,” said Rockies center fielder Charlie Blackmon. “I don’t think we need to reward a player by making him play an extra game, and get mad at him when he doesn’t win in a situation where he’s not comfortable playing with coaches he’s never met. When he’s not comfortable out in the field? It just didn’t make sense.” — Wilder, SB Nation
This crop of players seemed to enjoy the chance to just mess around while playing baseball. Which made this rendition of the All Star game so much fun, even if the level of play wasn’t super spectacular.
The game itself was sloppy baseball, the AL and NL left a combined 26 runners on base during the ten inning affair. Both teams were tied at 1-1 when Robinson Cano came up to the plate in the top of the tenth…then they weren’t. Cano lined an 81 MPH breaking ball from Wade Davis to right field to give the American League the final margin — and to net him All Star Game MVP honors.
Despite the lower level of play, this All Star game was a lot of fun.