Journal-Times (Grayson, KY)

July 17, 2013

Running the Point

By MacKenzie Bates - Sports Editor
Journal-Times

July 17, 2013 — We are at the “midway” point of the Major League Baseball regular season, culminating with the All-Star Game at Citi Field, home of the New York Mets.

Some of the greatest players in the game today will join forces between the American and National leagues to determine home-field advantage for the World Series.

I loved the idea when this stipulation was added. I can remember watching the 2002 All-Star game where the contest ended in a tie (because both teams ran out of players, which is absurd) that left many fans disgusted with not only the outcome but turned off some to the sport itself.

While I do not agree often with MLB Commissioner Bud Selig’s decisions, the idea of having the game mean something (like home field advantage for the World Series) was genius. Exhibition games for professional sports like football and basketball are just a show of entertainment. No one plays defense and the stars make the big exciting plays. Baseball does it right, placing the highest stakes series in the sport on the winner of the All-Star game.

Many fans that might cheer for a team that has one All-Star and a very little chance of making the playoffs can play one of the most important parts in Tuesday’s game. A team comprised of their league rivals all come together to help the National or American league representatives have the chance to play in front of their home crowd first.

The fortune favors the winner in the format as well. Since the league added the home-field advantage clause, the league that wins the All-Star game is 7-3 in winning the World Series.

The only three that the league won and did not bring home the trophy was the 2003 Florida Marlins (the American League won), the same in 2006 with the St. Louis Cardinals and again in 2008 with the Philadelphia Phillies.

It is a fun show to watch. If you are a Cincinnati Reds fan watching Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips (starters for the National League) catching balls from St. Louis Cardinals catcher and Reds “Fan Favorite” Yadier Molina (I am only kidding folks, I know Big Red Machine fans dislike the Cardinals and Molina). Everyone will likely (and hopefully) put their differences aside to play for the leagues they represent to have fun and not only entertain the fans, but win the game as well.

Stars are not born at the All-Star game, but puts them on the bright stage (and the bright lights in New York City). It is just a ballgame to fans and the players but it is a win for every fan (and the city’s economy) as many will converge on Citi Field to cheer their All-Star team to victory while enjoying a hotdog and cracker jack at the ballpark. After all, baseball is still the American pastime, correct?

With that being said, I will watch the All-Star game tonight in hopes that the National League wins. Being an Atlanta Braves fan that I am, having one of the best closers in the game in Craig Kimbrel represent the team I cheer for is very exciting. Prediction: The National League All-Stars defeat the American-League All-Stars 8-5 with Kimbrel getting the save and clinching home field advantage for the NL.

MacKenzie Bates can be reached at mbates@journal-times.com or by telephone at 784-4116.