Tomorrow night (Tuesday) is the All-Star Game. And if you need to ask which sport, I may just have to forget that I know you.
I don’t know what it is. It’s a meaningless game (or at least it should be–thanks for screwing that up, Bud Selig), and this year the Twins only have one player in the game, but the event is big. This was the first all-star game in any sport, and it did something special that has been copied by other sports ever since. But this is the one everyone watches.
You know why it’s special: the best players, the best pitchers, all playing not only to outshine each other, but to have fun. Unlike the other sports’ all-star games, this one actually features defense, whereas in the others, a defensive game plan is simply cobbled together. In tomorrow night’s game, some of the game’s best fielders will be doing what they do in every game: play hard, and play to win.
It’s great entertainment, frankly. And in the last several years, I’ve even gotten into the Home Run Derby, because I came to realize that it, too, is a display of the best in baseball: power hitters doing what they do best. Fans come to the ballpark for batting practice for a reason, and this is a big part of it. And tonight’s edition, even though it was won by a Yankee (boo, hiss!), had a story that makes baseball what it is: the son wins while his dad was the one who was throwing the pitches to him. Somehow, every son and every father can relate to that simple triumph and feeling.
Tomorrow night, I’ll be planted on the couch, watching the game. Probably with a big smile on my face at some point, because, for those three-plus hours, the rest of the world will melt away, and all will be right with the world, even when it isn’t.
I’ll be happy because it’s about as primal as baseball gets in this day and age in the professional game: make lineup, choose pitchers, play game. I’ll be happy because one of the most deserving players in recent Twins’ history will be playing–Michael Cuddyer, who you have to admire because he shows up to play the game every day and doesn’t worry or complain about what’s asked of him. He’s been around for a while and has paid his dues and is as steady a player as you’ll find: he might not be great, but he certainly isn’t bad, and but you always know what you’ll get from him in a game. He really is the kind of player who, while they don’t get voted into the game, gets chosen by the managers because they want him to play. And that, to me, is more important than the votes.
I’ll probably drop by and write up a quick and short blog entry tomorrow night, but I’m planning on tweeting a bit, so you can check me out there @lathropworld.
See you tomorrow.