’80s All-Stars: Midsummer Classic lacks ‘wow’ factor in interleague era

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’80s All-Stars: Midsummer Classic lacks ‘wow’ factor in interleague era

For baseball fans of a certain age, the 1987 All-Star Game still stands as the ultimate Midsummer Cla sic. A then-record 4,458 homers were hit in 1987, but kids (and some adults) around the country stayed up way past their bedtime to watch 13 future Hall of Famers participate in an unprecedented All-Star Carlos Ruiz Jersey Game pitcher’s duel that featured nine hurlers to sing at least two innings and remained scorele s until the 13th inning, when Tim Raines laced a two-run triple to lift the National League to a 2-0 win.Thirty years later, those who participated in the 1987 All-Star Game remain as fond of it as those who watched at home. But players remember le s about what happened during the game than how they felt before beforehand, when they were even more excited than fans for the once-a-regular-season intersection of the American League and National Leagues.That was an absolutely cool event to just show up and be a part of, said Angels broadcaster Mark Langston, the former Mariners pitcher who to sed two innings in the ’87 All-Star Game. That’s back in the day when you knew nothing about the National League. The only time we saw them was in the All-Star Game or World Series. There was no interleague play.It was like ‘Who are these guys?’ And it was cool.FAGAN: Thankfully, the All-Star Game no longer “counts”So, too, was the chance to play the what if? game. What if American League players got the opportunity to face the split-fingered fastball that turned Mike Scott into the reigning National League Cy Young Award winner and All-Star Game starter? What if Rickey Henderson, the eventual all-time stolen base king, and Eric Davis, who entered the 1987 All-Star Break with 48 homers and 93 stolen bases in his previous 162 games, led off for opposing teams in the same game?What if Raines, the defending NL batting champion, got to share a field with Mark McGwire, who made the AL team as a reserve after hitting a rookie record 33 homers for the Athletics before the All-Star Break?I just remember as a kid seeing Tim Raines going ‘oh my God,’ and now I get to stand next to him, said McGwire, the current Padres’ bench coach who went 0-for-3 in the 1987 All-Star Game. All you did was see them on TV and then you really get to see them and stand next to them. That’ Jean Segura Jersey s when you get the ‘wow’ factor.Today, the wow factor takes place on a daily basis. The starting pitchers in the 2017 Midsummer Cla sic, Chris Sale and Max Scherzer, have each opposed a team in the other league twice this season.A generation ago, All-Stars and fans alike would have spent all day wondering whether Brewers closer Corey Knebel, who has struck out at least one batter in all 43 appearances this season and leads all relievers with 75 whiffs, would get a chance to face Yankees rookie phenom Aaron Judge, who leads baseball with 30 homers.But the matchup happened Sunday, when Knebel struck out Judge with a 97 mph fastball in the ninth inning of the Brewers’ 5-3 win.Way different, McGwire said. https://www.marinersedges.com/seattle-mariners/ryon-healy-jersey MORE: Watch highlights from every All-Star Game since 1970The participants in this year’s All-Star Game will surely have fond memories 30 years from now.But they are likely to lack the wonder and the unique camaraderie that existed in the pre-interleague days, when the All-Star Game stood as the highlight of the season even for players who racked up eye-popping numbers.(The) ’87 (highlight), for me, is the All-Star Game, said Langston, who set career-highs with 19 wins, an AL-leading 262 strikeouts, 14 complete games and 272 innings pitched. It was cool to sit in the locker room and look around and see the guys that you compete against (and) are now on the same side.It was one of those things where you just you never really (picture) yourself in that position, you’re sort of (freaking out), said McGwire, who won the AL Rookie of the Year after hitting a rookie-record 49 homers. You’re like, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m here with all these guys.’ And you just look at the names back there. Oh my gosh, yes.”

Last update : June 18, 2019