Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Realistically, the only All-Star Games worth watching happen in Little League, but tonight should have some moments

Baseball's annual All Star game remains one of the most boring and irrelevant events in American culture, on par with the People's Choice Awards and a notch below the Daytime Emmys.

Of course, when it comes to boredom and irrelevancy, the NFL's Pro Bowl kicks its ass. The laughable, horrible Pro Bowl has roughly the same cultural significance as an episode of Jeopardy. Frankly, in American sports, the only all-star games worth watching happen in Little League. From there, it's all downhill.

That said, tonight's game is worth a gander, if you know how to use a clicker. (And what fan doesn't?) 

Fox starts tonight's coverage at 8 p.m., which means the game should start around 8:37 - give or take the mandatory endless rendition of the Star Spangled Banner, sung by some forgettable, product-placement, human bathtub squeaky toy, chosen by focus group from Glee or Disney.

Central to the game, of course, is pinpointing the Derek Jeter moments. My guesses:

INTRO. ETA: 8:22 p.m. Jeter gets called out with the AL staring lineup. He'll get a huge ovation, and Joe Buck will blather and babble - you go, Joe! - and I'm betting the crowd will roar for 45 seconds. Get out the stopwatch. If this were NYC, it would easily break 80. But don't sell Twins fans short. Minnesotans are good-hearted moose, the type who love flying squirrels, and they'll recognize the importance of going loud and long on TV. Many will be tipping their hats, in response to The Ad, which I suspect will run about 20 minutes later.

THE AD. ETA: 8:47 p.m. If you haven't seen the Jeter RE2PECT ad, scroll down. Like I say, I cried. You will, too. After watching it, I felt like running out and buying a pair of $500 Jordans... but... I... didn't. I'm betting the ad runs right after the NL bats in the top of the first. Considering that King Felix will be on the mound, that shouldn't take long. Let's give them 10 minutes. Jordan didn't shell out for an ad in the seventh, when Jeter's gone. They'll run it right before Jeter's at bat.

JETER LEAD OFF. ETA: 8:50 p.m. The ad will end, and - prediction here - they'll cue up Bob Shepard's recorded voice, which traditionally announces Jeter's arrival at Yankee Stadium. As Jeter steps in, the crowd will go nuts, and the pitcher, Loudon (?) Wainwright, (whatever,) could cement himself into New York hearts forever by simply tipping his cap toward home plate. Prediction here: Both squads will come up to the top steps of the dugout and tip their caps. The entire crowd will tip their hats. This will be a beautiful, incredible, magical moment, sabotaged only by the fact that it was scripted by a TV ad, a cultural turd byte of "monkey-see, monkey do" pageantry, in which the baseball world is merely going along with some p.r. machine's marketing plan. It won't have happened spontaneously. Nope. A corporate big brother will have laid out everybody's role, and everyone will happily play it. Welcome to America, all you illegal kids from Honduras. This is what you can look forward to.

That said, stand and cheer! This will go down in Jeterian lore. Wherever he is, John Sterling will be a bawling basket case. You will be a bawling basket case. I will be a bawling, drunken basket case. Dear God, I would trade a package of Yankee prospects for Jeter to lash a double to right. (A home run would have people crying conspiracy.) Historically, in their big moments, fading all-stars strike out. Please, lord, make the ball drop in somewhere. Put him on base.  

JETER FINAL AT BAT: ETA: 9:30 p.m. I'm sure they'll give him at least two ups, because they'll want the audience to stick around, and they know that if they pull Jeet, a billion Yankee fans will switch to Netflix. But I'm not sure how far Jeter goes. My guess is two, maybe three ABs. I don't see him playing past the fifth. If pitching dominates - as it has in recent years - it's a flip of the coin as to whether he gets three ABs.

BETANCES INNING: ETA 10:30 p.m. I'm sure they'll bring in Dellin. He's perfect for this game - a physically imposing, rising Yankee star. (How many of them do you see?) He's used to pitching one inning. He's not the closer, so it won't be the ninth. (BTW, David Robertson got screwed.) So he'll pitch the fifth, sixth or seventh. Odds are, by then, I'll be in bed, dreaming of Aaron Judge and Rob Refsnyder. (My, you people have dirty minds.)

Still, it will beat 100 Pro Bowls. Good grief, Center Stage with Michael Kay beats the Pro Bowl. Didn't they do something weird last year, have players pick teams or something? Yeesh, say what you want about baseball's declining popularity. At least we don't have Deion Sanders coaching.


John M said...

Speaking of Deion, or people like him, there's a good documentary (ish) on Bo Jackson I caught on ESPN 2 or 4 or Classic one weekend afternoon. One of those. Surprisingly interesting. You won't be a bawling basket case, but the man has some dignity.

Anonymous said...

Unlike John M., who has no dignity for sharing such drivel.