If there’s one thing that Baltimore Orioles fans should take away from the MLB all-star game, it’s that Jonathan Schoop played a major role in the outcome. The lone Orioles’ representative in the game didn’t start, but was a factor once he got in the game. Both offensively and defensively.
Schoop entered the game as a substitute at second base in the alst of the fourth, and immediately made an impact. A runner tried to tag up and go to second base on a long fly ball out, and Boston’s Betts relayed the ballinto Schoop and second to nail the runner. One might question why the runner tried to advance, however runs were tough to coe by last night.
Schoop hit third in the top of the fifth, and with two outs and two strikes on him he pulled a tight grounder over the bag at third for a double. A few moments later Schoop scored the first run of the game on an RBI-single by Minnesota’s Sano. The National League would tie the game up on a solo homer by St. Louis’ Molina in the sixth, and the game went to extra innings. Seattle’s Cano smacked a solo homer of his own in the top of the tenth, which propelled the American League to victory.
For the first time in years, the all-star game truly was an exhibition. It no longer decides home field advantage in the World Series. And I’ll be honest; at first I thought it was a good idea because it gave a little bit of emphasis to the game. However as time went on players and coaches started taking it a bit more seriously than they should have given the stakes and what winning and losing could mean.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that baseball shouldn’t be taken seriously, and that games should be treated as little league affairs just designed for them to have fun per se. It’s a serious business and each game matters. But the all-star game was always supposed to be just an exhibition for the fans, and a fun atmosphere for the players. So perhaps it’s a good thing that it’s back to truly being that way.
The other thing that stood out to me about this year’s contest was that it was a pitcher’s duel. In the past we’ve seen all-star games with final scores such as 10-8 or 14-11. However this was a game that seemed to truly showcase the pitching talent in the league. But of course at the end of the day, it was power that decided the game.
This was the first all-star game for Schoop, who looked very comfortable out there both in the field and at the plate. And while he wasn’t voted in by the fans, his selection was well-deserved. I’m also a proponent of having every team represented on the rosters. I disagree with how the NBA does their all-star selections; it ends up that only four or five teams in each conference get representation.
I also believe that every player on the roster should get into the game somehow. Preferably in an at-bat or to pitch an inning. But even if the guy only pitches to one batter, or comes in as a pinch-runner, I think every player should see the field. Every fan in my opinion has the right to sit down and watch the all-star game knowing that a member of his home team is on the roster and participates in the game. That’s part of how the game grows itself.
MLB will remain in pause-mode for the next two days before the season resumes on Friday. For the Orioles, that rest is well-needed given the grueling nature of the first half. For what it’s worth, this was the American League’s fifth consecutive all-star game win.