Here are five interesting stories surrounding the Major League Baseball All-Star Game:
American League is rolling
In 2002, the Midsummer Classic ended in a 7-7 tie. Starting the following season, baseball made the game count for something – “This time, it counts,” was the slogan – when it determined the league that won the game would have home-field advantage in the Fall Classic. The American League is 10-3 in the All-Star Game since. The team with home-field advantage has won the World Series nine times over that span. The Giants had home-field advantage twice in the World Series since, winning both. They also won in their one appearance without home-field advantage. The National League is 7-6 in the World Series since 2003.
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Trout is the big fish
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim outfielder Mike Trout has won the All-Star Game MVP for the past two years. In 2014, he was 2 for 3 with a triple and two RBIs as the American League won 5-3 at Target Field in Minneapolis. In 2015, he blasted a leadoff home run off Zack Greinke, then of the Dodgers, and scored two runs in a 6-3 A.L. win in Cincinnati. What will he do this year?
Ortiz in the spotlight
In 2013, Mariano Rivera of the Yankees said goodbye to the Midsummer Classic, playing in his final All-Star Game. He threw a perfect eighth inning and won the MVP. In 2014, it was Yankees captain Derek Jeter’s turn to say goodbye, and he did so in grand fashion, going 2 for 2 in the leadoff spot. Now Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz is in the spotlight. Ortiz announced before the season that this would be his last. He leads his team in average (.332), homers (22), RBIs (72) and on-base percentage (.426). He’s set to steal the show on Tuesday in San Diego.
Time to change voting?
It could be time to change the way starters are voted into the All-Star Game. There has been some serious ballot-box stuffing going on the past few years. This year, four members of the Boston Red Sox – outfielders Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr., shortstop Xander Bogaerts and designated hitter Ortiz were voted to start in the American League. Meanwhile, the Cubs dominated the National League vote, with first baseman Anthony Rizzo, second baseman Ben Zobrist, third baseman Kris Bryant, shortstop Addison Russell and outfielder Dexter Fowler being voted in. Perhaps you could still let the fans vote, but let the managers have a say in tweaking the lineup. But something’s gotta give.
Baseball started the Home Run Derby in 1985. Dave Parker of the Cincinnati Reds won the inaugural contest, and it has become must-see TV for baseball fans since – even if some watch it with the sound down to avoid hearing Chris Berman yell, “Back, back, back....” all telecast. Ken Griffey Jr. won the contest three times, and Yoenis Cespedes and Prince Fielder have won twice. Todd Frazier of the Chicago White Sox will defend his title on Monday. He won last year as a member of the Reds. He looks to join Cespedes and Griffey as the only back-to-back winners.
Compiled by Chris La Marr