Pitching and The Boss Dominate The Night
The American League should have known better. The home team never scores many runs in Angel Stadium.
OK, I’m sorry. I couldn’t resist. In reality, the only compelling story of this All-Star Game was that it followed the same story line as the first half of the 2010 season.
The National League finally broke through after its depressing 0-12-1 run by starting with the two best pitchers in baseball. The Rockies’ Ubaldo Jimenez and the Marlins’ Josh Johnson set the tone, and the rest of Charlie Manuel’s great staff shut down the American Leaguers without an earned run, finally prevailing, 3-1.
There was no one overwhelming key play, other than Brian McCann’s three-run double, and no huge controversy, although you did have to wonder why Alex Rodriguez, with his 597 career homers, wasn’t utilized as a pinch hitter with two outs and one on in the ninth inning.
Overall, though, it was a quiet evening as All-Star Games go, an event muted by the biggest story of the day, the death of legendary Yankees owner George Steinbrenner early Tuesday morning.
The Boss’ fingerprints were all over this one. The emotion spilled over into the dugouts and clubhouses. You could see it in Derek Jeter’s body language and in Joe Girardi’s eyes. You could feel it in every nook and cranny of a stadium 3,000 miles away from the Bronx.
Steinbrenner was a bigger than life character who was a wild mixture of personalities. A demanding owner, a generous benefactor, a cutthroat businessman, a dedicated family man, a convicted felon, the savior of professional sports’ most famous franchise and someone who could be sickeningly cruel to his underlings at times.
If you are a baseball fan in New York, you thought he was a great owner, because he spent whatever was necessary to win.
If you were a baseball purist who lived anywhere else, you thought he single-handedly ruined the competitive balance of the game, tossing out more dollars to one or two players than many teams could afford to give to their entire rosters.
You can’t just sum up George Steinbrenner in a couple of paragraphs. His strengths and his flaws both ran as deep as your typical Yankees batting order.
Does he deserve to be in the Hall of Fame some day? Absolutely. If Cooperstown is restricted to dominant players, it should also accept dominant owners.
And make no mistake, that’s what The Boss was. He was the George Randolph Hearst of baseball. If that genius of a director Orson Wells were still alive, he would have been the perfect man to make a movie about him.
Love him or hate him, Steinbrenner cast a huge shadow over the entire sport. Maybe it was appropriate this was the year the National League finally busted through.
Because without The Boss, the American League, especially, never will seem quite the same again.
— Steve Bisheff