This year’s All Star Festivities had some flair. In true Miami fashion the highlight of the weekend was a flashy Home Run Derby on Monday night that had enough stories to fill an anthology. Not to be out done, the All Star Game had some extra innings heroics and some; we’ll call them 21st Century, moments.
The weekend really started with the All Star Futures Game where the USA took on the World and held off a comeback attempt for a 7-6 victory. Perhaps the most exciting player on the field was US pitcher Michael Kopech who throws well over 100 and didn’t disappoint. In his inning of work he came in and got two quick outs with fastballs and then struck out his teammate and fellow White Sox return for Chris Sale, and consensus Baseball America and MLB.com number one prospect in baseball Yoan Moncada on four pitches. Kopech threw nine pitches in the game, five of which were over 100 MPH.
While seeing the future is exciting, its even more exciting to see the future now. And with Monday’s Home Run Derby, the future was on full display. With the chronicles of baseball’s lack of a face of the sport, Aaron Judge took a massive leap forward into filling that role. Cheered on by scores of fans in robes with powdered wigs and gavels, Judge put on a show. After Gary Sanchez took out Giancarlo Stanton, the hometown favorite and defending home run champion, that left Justin Bour as the only hope for Marlins fans.
Bour put up a mammoth 22 home runs, spurred on by a doughnut which Stanton fed to him during his timeout from raking baseballs. Unfortunately, the dessert was not enough. Judge stepped in and managed to hit 23 home runs, and 24 if you count the ball he hit into the retractable roof that probably would have landed on Mars if the girders had not been there. For context, Bour would have won any other matchup in any round of the Derby except the one he had against Judge.
Before it was over, Aaron Judge had hit 3.9 miles of home run balls, one of which traveled 512 feet and banged off the top of the glass wall at the back of Marlins Park. Miguel Sano hit a home run that was framed by a view of multiple bolts of lightning in the distance, and ultimately Judge won with ease in a display of power no one will soon forget.
Which leads to Tuesday’s All Star Game and some of the more strange things I have seen on a baseball field. The game itself amounted to a pitchers duel. Robinson Cano broke a 1-1 tie in the 10th inning to put the AL ahead and Andrew Miller closed it down to give the AL the victory, but the wackiness started even before the first pitch.
Ken Rosenthal actually interviewed Jose Altuve on the field about 10 seconds before he got into the batters box to take the game’s first pitch. This was a sign of things to come. At one point, FOX came back from a commercial break to Alex Rodriguez walking the infield in a suit with a mic and interviewing the whole left side of the infield in between innings.
That wasn’t it for the bizarre interviews as Bryce Harper was mic’ed and actually interviewed for an entire half inning while playing RF. And to top it off, Nelson Cruz pulled out a cell phone and took a selfie with home plate ump “Cowboy” Joe West before his at bat.
Welcome to the 21st Century…this All Star Game had Miami written all over it. We will all have to patiently wait to see what Bryce Harper and our nations capitol have in store next year. I am guessing half of Congress will have gotten tickets “from a friend.”