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After the Break
July 20, 2013 - Al Stephenson
The major league All Star game is over and the second half of the season has begun. It's now a push to make the playoffs and my beloved Tribe is in the hunt. You have to realize that I grew up with the Indians in the 60's, 70's and 80's. We were more often than not eliminated by the All Star break in those years. The 90's saw a time in which the playoffs were not only in reach, but - dare I say it - expected.
Now we have gone back to mediocrity for the most part since the days of Albert, Manny, Carlos, Kenny, Sandy and Jim Thome. This year may very well end up the same - particularly if last night's fiasco is any indication - but being a game and a half out this late in the season is out of the ordinary. We will have home field advantage in the World Series if we can get there though, thanks to the American League's win in the midsummer classic.
The All Star game is what I want to talk about today.
I consider myself a baseball fan. Having been to 55 different major league stadiums, I have seen some thrills. I watched Nolan Ryan strike out the side in the Astrodome. I observed Lou Brock single and steal second and third in the first inning of a game in the old Busch Stadium. I was in Yankee Stadium to watch Tom Seaver collect his 300th win. I am a fan.
So here's my take on the All Star game. If I was to be able to go to an All Star game, I would like to see the proven stars of the game, not just the people who had big first halves. Two or three months of good baseball does not make one an All Star in my opinion. Years of stellar play make you an icon and that's the person I want to see at the stadium. I don't care if the man's skills are declining, I want to say I saw Chipper Jones or Mariano Rivera or Albert Pujols or (insert your favorite player's name here) in person. I really don't even need to see him play - I just want to say I saw him!
I also don't like the home field advantage going to the league that wins the game. I didn't have a big problem with the tie in Milwaukee for crying out loud. Who cares who wins the game. We are tuned in to watch the stars strut their stuff. Let home field advantage go to the team with the best record. Make the regular season mean something.
It was cool to see Tom Seaver throw out the first pitch. Baseball should bring back as many former All Stars as is possible. That part would be so cool and speaking of cool, how about what they did when they brought Rivera into the game. That was worth the price of admission more than the outcome of the game.
The view from my seat suggests that the All Star game was fine before they decided to tinker with it. It's over now though and it's time to root for your favorite team.
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