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All Star Game Still Fun

One of several mistakes Bud Selig made as Commissioner was trying to make the All Star Game “count.” This was a complete overreaction to a tie game in the 2002 All-Star Game held in Milwaukee when both teams ran out of pitchers. Instead of just acknowledging this was a one year fluke and maybe make provisions to add pitchers to the roster, Selig did what he did and tried to radically overhaul things. Fortunately, he is gone and so is the All-Star Game counting nonsense.

What remains is a game that is great on its own merits.

When you break it down, the All Star Game has always been about moments which have always arisen because you have the beset players in the game sharing the same field. It is Torii Hunter robbing Barry Bonds of a home run. It’s Pedro Martinez electrifying the home crowd striking out five. It’s Alex Rodriguez moving to third base to let Cal Ripken, Jr. playing shortstop in his final All-Star Game. For Mets fans, it’s Jacob deGrom striking out the side on 10 pitches:

In addition to the moments, it’s about seeing the young players on the stage for the first time. The 2015 All Star Game was his first one. In that moment, Mets fans got to see one of their aces measure himself against the best in the game, and he became a sensation. It also became a prelude to what deGrom would do in the NLDS.

This is similar to 2006 when David Wright was an All Star for the first time. He was a surprise second place in the Home Run Derby, and he followed that up with a home run in his first at-bat as an All-Star. As much as anything, the 2006 All Star Game launched Wright from Mets star to superstar.

This is what is in front of Pete Alonso. He beat Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. in one of the best Home Run Derbies ever. In that Home Run Derby, Alonso introduced himself to America. This is like Wright in 2006 and deGrom in 2015. He’s a fun personality who hits the ball harder than anyone.

If not him, maybe it is Jeff McNeil. He’s the type of player old school fans and more modern families love alike. You could see him playing all over the field today while slashing hits all over the place. If the National League needs a big hit late in the game, McNeil could be that guy.

That’s what makes the All Star Game great and fun every year. We get to see players like Alonso and McNeil introduce themselves to America. We get to see other fans see what we see everyday and appreciate how others appreciate them. We also have the satisfaction of knowing they are Mets. They can create the great moments we will be talking about for years to come.

7 thoughts on “All Star Game Still Fun”

  1. Gothamist says:

    David Wright was always so well liked by the other All Stars.
    If it was about him he always put class first and never out shined anyone.
    I enjoyed listening to him, every word.
    He was no clutch hitter like Freddy Freeman but it will be a long time to see another face like David Wright. He just had a modesty, a restraint always apparent around others.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      It’s a shame Wright got hurt because he was on a Hall of Fame trajectory.

      1. Blair M. Schirmer says:

        Admit I had largely given up on the HOF for Wright after 3 straight years of 2-3 win ball ending in 2011. 34.2 bWAR by age 28 was impressive, but the trajectory was definitely not. Then his incredible 2012-2013 put him right back in the conversation. 47 WAR by age 30 definitely puts you back in range for the Hall, particularly coming off 2 AS-caliber seasons. I’m trying to think if there were any players with that sort of bounce, guys with enormous talent who for reasons that at the time weren’t clear go from clear HOF-level talent to fairly ordinary for a starting position player, as DW was from 2009-2011, then bounce back. A lot of us thought those 3 seasons had as much to do with the move to Citi and its unhelpful configuration as it did to health, but I guess it had more to do with the injuries.

        Still, are there any players who suffered that sort of fall off, like Wright’s from 2009 through 2011, after such a great start to their careers and who then returned to their 5-8 WAR per season talent level and made it to Cooperstown? Offhand I can’t think of any.

  2. Blair M. Schirmer says:

    It *is* fun. It’s a nice break from a season that has not had much fun in it.

    So, the 2nd half. What is there to look at beyond individual goals? Someone here mentioned recently that the Mets aren’t going to tear it all down because of their small handful of top players, and that’s probably right. The Wilpons’ plan for the indefinite future is to (1) lie that the team is going to contend (“come and get us” “our analytics department project wins in the high 80s”), and (2) try to keep the team from dropping too far out of contention and reveal that (1) was in fact the case. That’s why they desperately played Cespedes in 37 straight to begin 2018, played Cabrera in 39 of the first 40, Lagares in 30 of 39… and why they abused Ramos, Gsellman, Lagares etc to begin 2019. The aim is always to get off to a fast start regardless of the cost, get fans excited, and hope to appear to still be in it through as much of the summer as they can manage.

    If they’re not selling off entire, they’ll still be selling off Wheeler. They’re still going to renew Vargas because for 6m he’s cheaper than most alternatives. They probably know something about Matz’s arm, otherwise they’d never open up another spot in the rotation they can’t even pretend to fill.

    If Syndergaard rebounds and they’re not selling low, will they trade him for a starter they can plug into the rotation plus a promising position player? Probably, as they certainly aren’t going to be paying Syndergaard once his salary matures. They’ll try to bridge between August 2019 and April 2021 when they hope Kay and Peterson will be ready (towards generating yet more inapt enthusiasm for another 78 win team) by faking contention yet again, this time for 2020. That always seems to be the plan.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      I could paint a scenario where the Mets COULD win the division, and I still might.

      More realistically, I think the Mets need to focus on just continuing to develop their young core and just make sure guys are healthy.

      1. Blair M. Schirmer says:

        Sure–anything’s possible, and the problem in the last few years hasn’t been the front line talent given they got a peachy 35 WAR from their best 11 in 2018 and 40 WAR from their best 24 players, or enough to make the postseason on a well-run team.

        Especially with Alonso now in the fold and McNeil repeating his marvelous rookie campaign… combine them with Conforto playing well, Frazier continuing to hit, Ramos getting rest thanks to deGrom and Syndergaard preferring Nido (however it happens, resting him properly so he can return to his hitting form from 2016 and 2018 is welcome), Smith continuing to rock, and with the two aforementioned starters along with Wheeler pitching close to peak and… … … we still have real problems–40% of the team’s starts go to unreliable performers, and there’s not much reason to think Diaz, Familia, and Gsellman are going to turn it around any time soon.

        Honestly, I didn’t start off that paragraph with sarcasm in mind, but even imagining near-optimal scenarios leaves unredeemed the problem of a bad bullpen and a catastrophic back end to the roster undermining whatever streak the front line talent might threaten to put together. BBref has the Mets at 1.3% to make the postseason (and <0.1% to win the WS). BP somehow had the team at 6.1% to make the postseason when they were 40-49, but still only 0.7% to win the NL East. If in return for Wheeler they can shore up an obvious weakness for 2020, they really should.

        Wow, though. It's worth noting that there's only one reliever on the club with a FIP below 3.00. That's Mazza with his one appearance, and he's only at 2.95. In order of Games Pitched the bullpen's FIPs are almost impossible to believe: 3.51, 3.64, 3.53, 5.74, 6.46, 6.85, 6.29, 5.20, 5.64, 5.73, 5.66, 5.20, 4.84, 7.43, 3.20, 5.20, 10.40, 6.20, 6.35, 8.45, and Mazza bringing up the rear. It's so bad it's surreal. 21 relievers, and 15 have FIPs over 5.00. Wasn't Callaway's big selling point that he was a pitcher's manager?

        I think the Mets must sensibly punt here. There's just little way to sustain a run when at least 2/5th's of your rotation is a drag on the team's chances and your bullpen is almost nonexistent. Still, punting won't get them far. Whatever Wheeler brings back is an overall debit versus having him in the rotation, in the sense that the team going into 2020 is likely to project to be worse than it was going into 2019. Even throwing Frazier, Lagares, and Hech into the hopper probably doesn't reset the pen to where they thought it was going into 2019. Their trade chits need to replace Wheeler, possibly Matz, a starting 3Bman, Nimmo and Diaz's newly established, lower true talent level, and perhaps Familia entirely. Ouch.
        Ah, well. Cheers. We'll always have the 2019 Home Run Derby!

        1. metsdaddy says:

          Like I’ve been saying, it’s possible but nowhere near realistic

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