Let me get this straight. If somehow the Dodgers make it to the World Series, they'll have the Giants to thank for getting home-field advantage? Well, three Giants anyway. Melky Carera was the MVP of Tuesday night's All-Star game in Kansas City, Matt Cain was the winning pitcher, and Pablo Sandoval had a bases-loaded triple. The Dodgers (or any other National League team for that matter) could also simply thank Justin Verlander for giving up five runs in the first inning. The NL All-Stars teed off on Verlander, and went on to win the game 8-0. Verlander, who was the American League Cy Young Award winner and Most Valuable Player last season, simply didn't have it.
The blowout was the biggest since 1983 when the AL beat the NL 13-3. It was the first All-Star shutout since 1996 when the Nationals blanked the Americans 6-0. It also set a record for low ratings. Because the National League won the annual mid-summer classic, the team that goes on to the World Series from that league will get to host the first two games, and games six and seven if necessary. That rule was installed after the 2002 All-Star game ended in a tie because the two teams ran out of pitchers. So, to make the game mean something, the rule was put in.
Anyway, the Giants ran a successful fan voting campaign, and Sandoval got to start for the National League. He proved that he belonged with that key hit off of Verlander. Cain was selected to start by NL Manager Tony LaRussa so that Giants catcher Buster Posey wouldn't have to catch R.A. Dickey's knuckleball. Cabrera's homer in the fourth inning sealed the deal, and the NL went on to win.
This one wasn't that much of an extravaganza, but then not all games are. Remember when the Super Bowls were blowouts every year? You win some, you lose some. Some games are close, others aren't. But even if the Giants don't win the World Series, and another National League team does, they should send a Thank You note to Melky, Matt, and Pablo. I'm still hoping that note will be written in (Dodger) blue ink.
Because there was nothing else on: I watched the ESPY awards Wednesday night last week, and they were horrible. They were hosted by some guy named Rob Riggle. Do you know who that is? I don't either. I guess he is a comedian, but mostly he yelled his jokes. His best comment, though, was a rather serious one: “Enough of the hate with LeBron James. Wouldn't you want to go move to Miami with a bunch of your friends and play basketball for millions of dollars? Did he handle it well? No. But he was 25. How many mistakes did you make when you were 25?” Fair point, but I still believe the reason people are still “hatin'” on James is because of the “not five, not six, not seven” comments. Personally, I'm over it as far as James is concerned, but I'm not rooting for the Miami Heat anytime soon.
More ESPYs: Last week I commented that one of the things to see at the ESPYs were the female athletes all dolled up. Baylor basketball star Brittney Griner won for Best Female Athlete, so she got to take the stage. She was wearing a man's suit with a vest and no jacket. So much for being dolled up... By far the highlight of the evening was the Arthur Ashe Award for courage. That was the award given to a dying Jim Valvano 20 years ago. This year, it was presented to legendary women's basketball coach Pat Summitt of the University of Tennessee. Summitt has been diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's and is retiring from coaching. Her speech was very short, but she was introduced by former Tennessee quarterback Peyton Manning, and a video of her struggle was narrated by Tennessean Reese Witherspoon. Summitt received a standing ovation from the audience that was made up of the best athletes on the planet.
Does this make me un-American?: Team USA is hosting an exhibition game against Brazil tonight, but I don't care how well the United States Olympic men's basketball team does. In fact, I hope they lose. How is it a big deal that the best guys in the world go over to London and beat Angola, the Dominican Rebublic, and Slovenia by 50 points each night? Then there will be the exciting gold medal game where they will only beat Spain by 30. And this is good for the sport how?