All-Star Wrap-Up and MVP of Yesterday update

Well, that was fun.

To be sure, there have been many better All-Star Games. But there have also been many worse All-Star Games as well. And, what’s more, the festivities themselves were above average- the Home Run Derby, for example, has been reborn thanks to the brackets and time limits. It certainly isn’t perfect, but for the first time in quite awhile, I felt like I was watching the Home Run Derby beyond the first round because I was enjoying it, not simply because it was on.

And then there is Mike Trout. He batted four times last night, and in some ways the game became his showcase. He homered, he walked, he beat out a throw to first to avoid a double play. He rightfully was named MVP, his second in a row (the first player to do that), and he’s only 24. It is not out of the realm of possibility that, one day, the quote “The All-Star Game was made for Willie Mays” will instead be “The All-Star Game was made for Mike Trout.”

Not surprisingly, Trout is the MVP of Yesterday, just as he was the MVP of the game. Standings, as always, after the jump:

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The new “bracketed” Home Run Derby format is a recipe for disaster

You probably have heard by now, but the Home Run Derby will have a new format this year. It will include semi-timed rounds (it’ll be timed, but home runs in the final minute, as well as particularly long home runs, will increase the amount of time), a limited number of timeouts (so that a player doesn’t take a minute after every swing to goof off with a teammate) and a bracket format.

I have a major problem with the bracket format, however. For the sheer reason that it means that, in theory, the person who hits the second most home runs in the first round could be knocked out, and in theory the person with the second-fewest home runs in the first round could go on.

Here’s an example of how it could happen. Let’s say one of the match-ups is Bryce Harper vs. Joc Pederson. Now, let’s say Harper hits 14, but Pederson hits 15. Harper is eliminated, even if nobody else has 14. Meanwhile, elsewhere in the bracket, it’s entirely possible that a player who had hit 2 HRs- or even just one- is going ahead.

And that… is bad. Sure, go and have the time-limit, it’ll make the event go faster. But the brackets are a disaster waiting to happen.

So… who’d be in the 2015 “In Memoriam” montage?

Last year, to great controversy, Major League Baseball didn’t do a thing to honor the memory of the great Tony Gwynn at the All-Star Game, leading many (including myself) to suggest that maybe MLB should take the opportunity every All-Star Game to pay tribute to the past and those we’ve lost by having a “In Memoriam” segment at the All-Star Game. One guy (Sully) even made a video on his own, and it was pretty good.

Well, we haven’t heard anything about a possible official “In Memoriam” video happening in a few weeks in Cincinnati, so I can only assume it won’t be happening, or it’s being kept a closely-guarded surprise. But, I (somewhat morbidly) wondered: who’d be in this year’s “In Memoriam” video anyway?

Here’s a list (and a semi-random order) I came up with, a * means that they’d get an extra emphasis, such as a highlight or interview clip about them:

Alvin Dark, 1948 Rookie of the Year, 3-time All-Star, lengthy managing career *

Frank Torre, member of 1957 World Champion Milwaukee Braves

Lennie Merullo, 7 seasons of MLB experience, last surviving man to have played in the World Series for the Chicago Cubs

Gordie Gillespie, all-time leader in coaching wins in college baseball (longtime NAIA coach)

Noella Leduc, winning pitcher of the last AAGPBL All-Star Game

Jim Fanning, longtime member of Expos front office, manager of Montreal’s 1981 playoff team

Riccardo Ingram, Twins minor-league roving instructor

Rocky Bridges, 1958 All-Star

Sy Berger, longtime Topps baseball card designer

Ray Sadecki, pitcher in 1960s and 1970s

Lon Simmons, Ford Frick Award-winning broadcaster for Giants and A’s*

Fred Gladding, 1969 NL saves leader

Jean-Pierre Roy, commentator for Montreal Expos from 1968 to 1984

Victor Sanchez, 20-year-old Mariners prospect

John Keenan, longtime Dodgers scout

Jose Capellan, pitcher during the 2000s

Bill Valentine, longtime umpire

Bill Slayback, 1970s Tigers pitcher, singer of “Move Over Babe (Here Comes Henry)”

Wendell Kim, longtime coach

Minnie Minoso, 9-time All-Star, 3-time gold glover *

Carl Long, Negro Leaguer who later helped integrate the Carolina League

Dave Bergman, 17 years MLB experience, 1984 World Champion

Dick Bresciani, longtime Red Sox PR Man

Jerry Lumpe, 1964 All-Star

Ulpiano Cos Villa, Spanish-Language broadcaster for Angels and CBS in 1980s

Jeff Robinson, pitcher in late 80s and early 90s

Oscar Taveras, young Cardinals star *

George Spencer, top reliever for 1951 Giants

Bernardo Fernandez, longtime Negro Leaguer

Jerry Gross, early Padres broadcaster

Alison Gordon, first female member of the BBWAA

Hank Peters, longtime executive, GM of Orioles from 1976 to 1987

Brad Halsey, MLB pitcher 2004-2006

Ollie Brown, outfielder in 1960s and 70s

John Winkin, College Coach

Stuart Scott, ESPN legend, creator of the “Boo-Yah!” HR call

Alex Johnson, 1970 All-Star and AL Batting Champion

Jerry Dior, creator of the MLB Logo

Don Bryant, catcher of Don Wilson’s second no-hitter, Bullpen coach of the 1975 AL Champion Red Sox

Nelson Doubleday Jr., former owner of the Mets

Al Rosen, 4-time Star, 1953 MVP, 2-time AL HR champion, longtime executive *

Andres Mora, member of the Mexican Baseball Hall of Fame, 3rd all-time in minor league HRs

Jose Martinez, former player and longtime coach and executive

Bill Monbouquette, 3 (or 4, depending on how you count the multiple ASG years)-time All-Star and thrower of a No-Hitter in 1962

James Stillwell, an original owner of the Seattle Mariners

George Shuba, member of the 1955 World Series Champion Dodgers, minor-league friend of Jackie Robinson

Joe Simenic, co-founder of SABR

Russ Kemmerer, MLB pitcher in 50s and early 60s

Nick Peters, sportswriter and winner of 2009 J.G. Taylor Gordon Spink Award from HOF

Stu Miller, 1961 All-Star, 1958 NL ERA champion, member of Orioles Hall of Fame

Darryl Hamilton, 13-years MLB experience, MLB Network analyst

Ernie Banks, Hall of Famer *

 

 

My Votes for the “Franchise Fours” (with one exception that you’ll see at Hall of Very Good)

Tomorrow is the last day to vote for the “Franchise Four”, where you can vote on Mt. Rushmores of each franchise.

I, needless to say, have opinions on ALL of them (no write-ins allowed for the purposes of this article), and you’ll see them below, with one exception: I’m saving my picks for the Greatest Living Ballplayers for my next piece at “Hall of Very Good.”

So, this is a long post, so go below the jump for more:

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VIDEO WEEK: Michael Jordan asks Ken Griffey Jr. for an autograph

It’s VIDEO WEEK on the Baseball Continuum!

In 1994, then-baseball player Michael Jordan visited the All-Star Game. It provided us with two indelible images:

1) Confirmation that Cal Ripken Jr. was nearly as tall as Michael Jordan (going by listed heights, he was only two inches shorter than MJ).

2) Confirmation that Ken Griffey Jr. was such a big star that even the most famous athlete in the world would go out of his way to get his autograph.

On the “In Memoriam” Idea (Also: Sully Baseball’s video)

Note: This post was being written/outlined before Sully Baseball’s excellent video went up. Make sure to check that out- he does most of what I say in here.

As everybody and their brother said during the All-Star Game, Tony Gwynn really should have gotten a tribute. And, well, he didn’t, apparently because MLB didn’t want to make it about “any one person” (never mind that the entire game coverage was about Jeter and only a few years ago they did tributes to George Steinbrenner). So, everybody said, why not an Oscars-style “In Memoriam” segment, perhaps in the fifth inning?

 

I agree. Every year at the ASG, baseball should pay tribute to those it has lost since the last ASG with a Memoriam video of between two and four minutes, depending on how much of a bummer the year has been. It would feature (with examples of the types of people next to it):

  • Hall of Famers who had passed away (Tony Gwynn, Jerry Coleman, Ralph Kiner)
  • Players who had made All-Star Games, especially if they made multiple ones (Jim Fregosi, Bob Welch, Paul Blair, Andy Pafko, etc.)
  • Players who otherwise had roles in major moments in baseball history (perfect games, no-hitters, key roles in postseason, etc.) or won major awards
  • Individuals who were outright icons for various reasons (Don Zimmer)
  • Contributors off the field (Tommy John Surgery creator Frank Jobe, MLBPA president Michael Weiner, GM Frank Cashen, Mariners owner Hiroshi Yamauchi)
  • “Gone Too Soon” individuals who aren’t in the other categories (Umpire Wally Bell, former pitcher Frank Castillo)
  • Exemplary players from outside Major League Baseball (Negro Leaguers, AAGPBLers, College coaches, particularly exceptional international players, etc.)

As for what music that could accompany it? Well, I’m sure a good orchestral score would work well, but want to know what else would work? The most melancholy and nostalgic of all baseball songs: Frank Sinatra’s “There Used To Be A Ballpark”.

Do it, MLB. Make it classy, and it could become an indelible part of the midsummer classic.