Honestly, I thought it was a good game. It kept me watching, which isn't always the case with these exhibitions. I've already blogged about things I don't like about the affair, but the game itself is always fun for me. As a kid, I used to marvel at seeing all of the different uniforms, seeing all of these great players that I idolized playing on the same team. I'm sure this will come off as a little cliche and really sappy, but I still get that feeling watching the teams come out -- even if FOX does try to sap ever ounce of enjoyment out of the telecast by making the pre-game drone on and on. Didn't mind the "All Stars Among Us" stuff, but do we really need a cast member of Glee out singing extra songs? She did a great job with the anthem, but I guess I've grown a bit weary of anything to do with that show.
But, yeah, the NL did it. So whichever team decides to play well enough to represent the NL gets home field advantage. I still hate that wrinkle, by the way. If I had to choose right now, I'd say that the Yankees and Braves will meet in the World Series this year -- and I say that with an attempt to strip away as much bias as I can. I'd love to say Cardinals/Yankees in the WS, but honestly, don't want that to happen because I don't want to be forced into rooting against one of my favorite teams, and I just don't think the Cards are playing well enough to get there. There's a lot of time, obviously, to change that, but as of the 1/2 way point, doesn't look like they are going to get the job done.
I haven't been as active the last few days, so a few random thoughts -- some baseball, some not:
- It has been a horrible year for Cubs fans, but Marlon Byrd has been a pleasant surprise. I thought he'd be a bust for Chicago, but as it is, he's the one player on that team that I enjoy watching this year. Glad to see him come up big in last night's game.
- I know the LeBron/Wade/Bosh thing is old news by now, but that introduction ceremony? C'mon -- even the Yankees don't trot guys out like that. It made Jason Giambi crying as he put on his pinstriped jersey look positively normal. I was always taught that as you play sports you should always act like you've done good things before and expect to do them again. I think that also includes don't celebrate like you've won a championship when you just signed a couple of players -- no matter who they are.
- Sticking in the NBA -- Kyle Korver has a new fan in me for having the guts to stand up at a press conference to announce his signing with the Bulls and admit that he hated Jordan and the "Unbeata-Bulls". Good job, Kyle. I love it.
- Also had no problem with Joey Votto saying he didn't congratulate Byrd because he's a Cub. Maybe not the classiest moment ever, but all sports are better off when there's animosity between teams and players. There's far too much back slapping and chit chat these days.
- Wrote a full post on Steinbrenner, but one more note on the guy....I think he was great for baseball and he made the Yankees great for baseball. I know most people hated him and hate his team, but that's what is good about them. Love 'em or hate 'em, you tune in to watch 'em. That's good for the game no matter how you slice it.
- Speaking of the Yanks -- people were up in arms as they ALMOST traded for Cliff Lee last week. "The Rich Get Richer" is what I heard from a few friends. Look, I get why the Yankees and their payroll are not popular, but when you've got the prospects to get a deal done, it has nothing to do with the rich getting richer. It has to do with smart baseball people understanding how to market the talent in their farm system. When they sign Cliff Lee to a big contract during the offseason, complain all you want. Until then, understand that trading is about having what the other team needs, not flexing your financial muscle.
- Another note on that topic....How come nobody ever cites the fact that other teams contribute to the problem? I apologize for picking on the Cubs again -- well, no I don't -- but look at the deal they gave Soriano. No one else was offering anywhere near that much money. So after that deal, there were a bunch of players saying "I think I'm worth Soriano money." During the same off season, they overpaid for Mark DeRosa, which in hindsight worked out well, but at the time was questioned by writers here in Chicago. They also overpaid for Jason Marquis. The next year they extended Zambrano's contract and spent too much on Milton Bradley. I know that some of the spending is done to "keep up with the Jones" -- or Steinbrenners as the case may be -- but its always the Yankees fault when you talk about the contracts. Not arguing that the Yankees don't deserve a bigger share of the blame, just pointing out that a lot of teams give out a lot of dumb contracts that end up driving the asking prices higher, and soon you get the Yankees signing Teixeira, Sabathia and Burnett and most teams can't afford one of those guys.
- I love the World Cup, but the final was brutal. Still, I am going through some serious withdrawal and can't wait for the Premier League to start back up in August. There are two things that I won't miss about the World Cup.....Soccer snobs who tell me I can't properly enjoy the game because I didn't play and American sportswriters tripping all over each other to say how boring the game is and that it's still not "on the rise" in this country. Both camps -- go away now. The snobs do more to hurt fandom over here, and the writers should be ashamed for going to the same well every four years. Come up with something new already.
- Ok, a non-sports diversion. Last September, they re-released the Beatles' catalog, and I've been slowly updating my collection. I bought the remastered White Album today -- which has a lot of great music, but as a whole has never been my favorite Beatles album (Abbey Road is far and away my favorite, followed by Revolver, then Sgt. Peppers, then Rubber Soul). Listened to it during my afternoon commute, and was struck by 2 things: (a) Even when they weren't at their best, the Beatles made more interesting music than most could only dream of and (b) I have yet to find a double album that wouldn't be better as a single album. I mean, if the greatest band ever can't make a great one, who can?
- Almost forgot -- Bob Sheppard. I have only been fortunate enough to go to Yankee Stadium (the old one) once. It was back in 2000 and I saw the Yanks and Clemens face a young Barry Zito and the A's with some tickets that a co-worker had been given. The Yanks were losing 2-1 late in the game, when my co-worker says "It's a school night for us. Do you mind if we take off at the end of the 7th?" No problem -- I was sure that I was jinxing them, and we did have an hour's drive back out to CT. So we leave, get to the car and turn on the radio to hear the end of the game. Right as we turn it on, we hear David Justice hit a home run to win the game in the 9th. The two things I'll always remember from that night are that you don't ever leave a game early and Bob Sheppard's voice is even more amazing in person. I'm glad I got to hear it for myself at least one time.
Thanks for reading.