I'm not the guy you want to be around if you're looking to see history. I'm the guy who watches an entire hockey game, but changes the channel for 25 seconds and misses the only goal of the game. I'm a Mets fan, so I've never seen a no-hitter that I really care about. I'm constantly aware that I may be watching something with historical significance, but it's the moment that I let my guard down that it happens.
Such was the case with the 2008 All Star Game, which was pretty magnificent (so I've heard). I loved the pre-game ceremonies, but I started feeling pretty sick by mid-game, so I turned in early. Justin from NYC wrote a great summary of the game at sportscracklepop.com. Here's the view of a guy who didn't make it past 11pm.
THE PRE-GAME CEREMONY: That was pretty cool. I saw some of the 1999 ceremony, at Fenway Park, but I was working then and didn't really enjoy it like I should have. This one I was able to appreciate. That was really, really great. I loved seeing Ralph Kiner out there, and guys like Bob Feller (when they showed him in the 1939 All Star Game at age 20 in the highlights earlier, I started questioning whether he was still alive - he looks good for 90!).
Justin pointed it out, too - but Willie Mays is a jerk. My dad was giving him the benefit of the doubt, thinking he was just 'out of it', but from all I've heard about Mays, he gave Josh Hamilton the cold shoulder. No wonder Barry Bonds is a mess - Willie Mays was his role model.
Speaking of 'out of it', I was wondering why Whitey Ford was not one of the guys throwing out a first pitch, then I thought back to the parade (which was horrible, but I watched anyway - Fox is such a joke...but that's a story for another day). When they asked him and Yogi Berra about the All Star Game Ford started at Yankee Stadium, he laughed and said he didn't remember - "How'd we do?", he asked. I thought he was kidding. Maybe he wasn't.
I thought conspicuous by his absence was Johnny Bench. Where was he? I can't really think of any other notable Hall of Famers that weren't there...but there probably were a few. And I know Paul Molitor finished his career mostly as a DH, but was that really fair to him to make him be the guy who represented designated hitters at the ceremony?
Finally, I was shocked by the George Steinbrenner appearance. He looked better than I expected...and it was much more touching than I expected as well.
THE GAME ITSELF: Billy Wagner still frightens the heck out of me. I didn't see him blow the save (truth be told, I didn't know until I saw a text from Justin this morning), but the fact that he only had to get one out and didn't in a big spot upsets me.
I only saw David Wright's first at-bat, in the eighth, where he struck out, but it's nice that he ended up getting four at-bats. And it's especially nice that he didn't play the field (he was DH), so he didn't have to beat himself up at all.
15 innings...I feel for the managers, who had to make some tough decisions. My newspaper didn't even have the final (it stopped at 13 innings in its game story), but The Wife forwarded me a quote from today's Boston Globe that said Clint Hurdle would have used David Wright as his pitcher had the game gone 16. I don't know if he was joking, or if he could only use Wright because he was the DH, but that probably would not have been a good thing for the Mets.
Finally, it was just a good All Star Game to watch (what I watched of it, anyway). It was truly the best of the best on display. I love baseball's All Star Game because of the uniforms - I love that the players wear their team's uniforms (just the home or away version, depending on the league), and I love the idea that on one night of the baseball season, all baseball fans are watching the same game. I think moreso than the post-season, where there might be bitterness, or there's competition from other sports, all eyes are on this one game. I think that's pretty cool.