Tag: 2013 MLB All-Star Game

MLB All-Star Game 2013 Results: Score, Reaction, Recap and Analysis

The American League out-pitched the National League to earn a 3-0 win at Citi Field on Tuesday night, halting a three-game losing streak at the Midsummer Classic and earning home-field advantage for the World Series. 

With no real standouts for the MVP award, Mariano Rivera, who pitched a perfect eighth inning, was given the honor in sort of a lifetime achievement fashion:

The game began with a few fireworks (of the figurative, not literal, variety). Pitching in front of his home crowd, Matt Harvey made two early mistakes that made things very interesting in the first inning. 

He left the game’s first pitch over the plate for fellow young stud Mike Trout to rip into the right-field corner for a lead-off double. Harvey followed that up by hitting Robinson Cano on the knee: 

Perhaps a little surprisingly, a brawl didn’t ensue. 

Cano was forced to leave the game shortly after, but his x-rays were negative, according to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman

Harvey calmed down after that, getting out of the jam in the first inning and going 1-2-3 in the second. He finished with 2.0 innings pitched, just one hit allowed and three strikeouts. He had this to say following his exit:

The action slowed down considerably after that, as Max Scherzer, Chris Sale and Clayton Kershaw all tossed scoreless innings (Sale threw two of them), and the game headed to the top of the fourth scoreless. 

That’s where the AL’s version of the bash brothers would prove their worth. Miguel Cabrera doubled to lead off the inning, and after being moved to third on a Chris Davis single, he came home on a sacrifice fly by Jose Bautista.

It was more of the same in the fifth for the AL, as Adam Jones and Joe Mauer led off the inning with a double and single, respectively. Jeff Hardy then hit a fielder’s choice to score his teammate and make it 2-0. 

From there, it was a whole lot of dominant pitching. 

The NL may not have had many bright spots on the night, but 20-year-old Jose Fernandez joined a truly prestigious group with his impressive sixth inning, per ESPN’s Jayson Stark:

Continuing the trend of “the-future-of-baseball-is-in-perfect-hands,” 21-year-old Manny Machado did Manny Machado things on a hard-hit ball by Paul Goldschmidt in the eighth:


After the AL hit into a record-breaking fourth double play, Jason Kipnis crushed a two-out double in the top of the eighth to score Salvador Perez and extend his team’s lead to 3-0. 

The best moment of the game came in the next half-inning. 

No, it wasn’t Neil Diamond’s shaky performance of “Sweet Caroline;” it was the entrance of future Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera, who was appearing in his 13th and final All-Star Game. 

In a truly goosebump-inducing moment, he was allowed to walk out to the mound all by himself—before his defense, the hitters, everyone.

It induced a unanimous positive reaction, like these from Michael Cuddyer, Jon Heyman and Brandon McCarthy:

Naturally, he went 1-2-3 and walked off the field to a standing ovation. 

After Prince Fielder hit a triple (actually!) but wasn’t able to score in the top of the ninth, Joe Nathan came on for the AL to earn the save. 


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Mariano Rivera Takes Field in All-Star Game to Enter Sandman and Huge Ovation

Mariano Rivera has pitched in the final All-Star Game of his Hall of Fame career.

The New York Yankees closer is the best of all time, and he made one final trip to the mound during the Midsummer Classic on Tuesday night.

Citi Field erupted when Mo came onto the field, with both fans and fellow players saluting one of the greatest players in baseball history.

As Rivera made the trip to the mound from the bullpen, all eyes were on him, and it ended up being the best moment of the night.

Rivera knew that this would be his last All-Star Game, and he thanked the crowd for their support.

Twitter absolutely exploded after Mo took the mound.

The 13-time All-Star commanded the respect of baseball fans during the game, and they were more focused on him than Neil Diamond when he came on the big screen.

Mo has earned reverence from his peers as well, and they did what they could to make this moment special.

If that weren’t enough for you, NL All-Star and veteran Michael Cuddyer called this an incredible moment.

While Mo pitched the eighth instead of the ninth to ensure that he did in fact make an appearance, the unusual circumstances didn’t temper the moment.

We said goodbye to one of the greatest players of all-time tonight, and it was a special moment indeed.

It might have been just another stop on Mo’s much ballyhooed retirement tour, but pitching in one more All-Star Game in front of thousands of adoring fans was the best way for him to go out.

You couldn’t have scripted it any better.

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Fan Runs on Field at 2013 MLB All-Star Game, Plans Everything on Twitter

The most entertaining play of the 2013 MLB All-Star Game didn’t air on your television.

With the Fox cameras turned away and radio broadcasters delving into baseball-related topics, a Citi Field security guard executed the perfect tackle on an attention-seeking fan.

As it turns out, Dylan Masone‘s stunt was premeditated and thoroughly chronicled on his Twitter account (h/t Barstool Sports).

Shortly before first pitch, this New York Yankees fan wearing a Robinson Cano No. 24 t-shirt sent this proposition to his 1,844 followers:

Some users must have accused him of bluffing, hence this confirmation that yes, 1,000 retweets equals one idiotic interruption of the Midsummer Classic:

The “support” started pouring in fast and furious. Based on his updates, it seems like Masone wasn’t too eager to actually deliver on his guarantee:

At least one level-headed user tried to talk him down from the ledge by listing the consequences, but to no avail:

His mom also disapproved of this decision:

Even during his final moments of legal behavior, Masone kept us updated. Here’s his approximate point of entry down the left-field foul line:

Charles Curtis of NJ.com provides play-by-play coverage from there:

A fan in a Cano t-shirt dashed onto the field from the stands along the left field line and stopped after passing second base on the infield dirt. Facing a group of security personnel in maroon shirts, he put up his hands to give up. But a member of security grabbed him and slammed the Yankees die-hard to the ground anyway — he was then escorted from the premises.

Instagram user Colin Barnicle recorded the collision (h/t Barstool Sports):

Impeccable form right there from the security guard, crouching low before striking this hefty kid. This unheralded hero hoisted him into the air and slammed him down with authority.

Then, Masone was gently escorted off the playing field.

Riquette Ramsey snapped a picture of him moments later. Hard to tell whether he’s cracking up or breaking down about the whole episode.

Major League Baseball does its best to discourage this kind of silliness, but these individuals don’t care about appearing on the actual broadcast. Social media can just as easily satisfy their craving for exposure.



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MLB All-Star Game: US Flag Unveiled That Practically Covers Entire Outfield

The New York Mets broke out an American flag that can only be described as massive.

The 2013 MLB All-Star Game got kicked off with a typical patriotic salute on Tuesday night, and during that tribute the mammoth flag was unveiled.

The event staff at Citi Field apparently subscribe to the theory that bigger is better, and in this case it sure is.

The flag that was used before the game practically covered the entire outfield, and was likely among the biggest ever used. Heck, if it were any bigger it might not have fit on the field!

According to the New York Daily News, the flag was held by 150 servicemen and women. U.S. staff sergeant and Boston Red Sox fan Mike Dambra was among the men and women to hold the flag, and he said that it came as a complete surprise.

The MLB All-Star Game is really for the fans more than it’s for the players, and opening with such a special patriotic introduction was perfect.

When players were being introduced, many starters jogged onto the field holding American flags of their own. This added to the spectacle, and was not missed by fans.

Among the players who came out with a flag was fan favorite and one of the most beloved players in New York Mets history: David Wright.

Wright has stuck with the Mets for all 10 seasons of his MLB career, and the fans were giddy with excitement to see him play at home in the Midsummer Classic. To have him be one of the players coming out with a flag was a classy move.

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Cliff Lee Ready to Tear Heads off with Glassy Stare During All-Star Intros

Cliff Lee was not happy with his reception at the 2013 MLB All-Star Game.

The Philadelphia Phillies pitcher was booed by New York Mets fans (as expected), and he responded with a death stare that would make even Kobe Bryant jealous.

Scary stuff.

Other players might be happy (or at least show some emotion) at hearing their name called before an All-Star Game, but not Lee. He didn’t move a muscle when his name was announced before his fourth Midsummer Classic.

Lee’s look didn’t go unnoticed, and Twitter loved his stare.

Pictures and screen grabs of Lee’s face exploded like a bomb on Twitter, and everyone had to show just how angry he looked.

Maybe Lee really doesn’t like the city of New York. After all, he chose not to sign with the New York Yankees during his free agency in 2010.

Amy Nelson clearly loved Lee’s reaction.

Lee’s face will go down in history as one of the most unique reactions to an introduction at an All-Star Game.

Lee looks like he was just called for jury duty, not introduced for a game for which it is an honor to be selected.

Perhaps the thrill of being named to the All-Star Game has worn off for him. Perhaps he didn’t appreciate his welcome. Perhaps he ate some bad sushi earlier that day and was regretting it.

Any way you look at it, Lee simply didn’t look like Citi Field was where he wanted to be on Tuesday night, and nothing said that better than the evil eye he gave.

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All-Stars Talk the One Thing No One Knows About the MLB All-Star Game

The MLB All-Star Game is always a highlight of the summer. This week on Behind the Mic, Ron Darling and John Smoltz join us to let fans and players know the inside intel on the historic game. They go behind the scenes and reveal what no one knows about the MLB All-Star Game. This is a video you don’t want to miss. 

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Interview with C.J. Wislon: Head & Shoulders 2013 MLB All-Star Announcement

The 2013 MLB All-Star Game Tuesday night at Citi Field in New York has a chance to carry an interesting and historical meaning, opening the proverbial door for special opportunities in communities that need them. 

Thanks to the efforts by Head & Shoulders and Los Angeles Angels left-hander C.J. Wilson, all it will take are a few swings…and some timely misses.

That’s right, long-ball lovers; tonight the strikeout will be on center stage.

Though most baseball fans are drawn to the MLB All-Star Game because of the chance to see herculean home runs—followed by more herculean home runs—or a respective league’s home-field advantage possibilities during the World Series, tonight’s game will put a great deal of importance elsewhere.

As part of the continuing support for the MLB’s RBI program (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities), Head & Shoulders has announced a special challenge: If a pitcher strikes out the side in the second inning of the All-Star Game, they will donate $1 million to the RBI program.

Yep, that’s $1 million.

The announcement is an added bonus to the already successful “Season of the #Whiff Campaign,” where Head & Shoulders donates $1 to the RBI program for every strikeout in the 2013 season.

Keeping up with the power of social media, a fanbase can tweet the specified hashtag (#whiff) plus their team’s Twitter handle every time a pitcher from that club records a strikeout. The team with the most tweets at the end of each month can earn $10,000, encompassing a total community effort for each team.

It’s a community helping another community. Simple enough.

At the head of this, not only for the Los Angeles Angels, but also nationally, is pitcher C.J. Wilson.

I was fortunate enough to get an opportunity to chat with the Angels’ pitcher, and Head & Shoulders “Mane Man,” about his involvement with the campaign and the potential donation.

Wilson, who was introduced to the RBI program when he was 15 years old while playing youth baseball in the Los Angeles area, is excited about such a hands-on charitable group.

“It’s great,” Wilson told me over the phone, “I get to go out there and do my job—strike people out, help people get some fantasy (league) points—and it’s all for a great cause.”

In addition to his 110 strikeouts this year from the mound, C.J. has contributed via a few rare plate appearances, where he has struck out four times. Instead of beating himself up, though, he looked at the bright side of his misfortune. “When I was hitting last week, I struck out,” he laughed, “And I thought…hey, that’s a dollar for donation.”

It remains to be seen if the hitters in tonight’s game will have the same fresh outlook, but with such a hefty announcement during a media-rich All-Star week (see Yasiel Puig and Freddie Freeman), you can count on more than a casual glance, no question.

It’s something that Wilson, who missed out on being an All Star this year, understands. “I wish it was me out there,” he said. “I would like the chance to (strike out the side), but I didn’t get the votes.”

That doesn’t mean he won’t be around tonight, however. C.J. will be taking over the Head & Shoulders Twitter handle (@HSforMen) for a portion of the game, spreading the word about the campaign and fielding fan questions.

And who knows, perhaps he may divulge a scouting report or two for the possible hurlers (Matt Harvey and Max Scherzer) in the second inning.

It wouldn’t hurt.

After all, the middle of the lineup for both the AL and NL teams are not what you would call Adam Dunn-esque. As Wilson joked, “(Dunn) could probably use (the program) as a tax write-off.”

Predictions and outcomes aside, the added recognition of RBI can only help the game of baseball and softball moving forward—during a time when they aren’t necessarily in line with pop culture.

It really is a win-win. Perhaps that’s the growth John Young had in mind when he started the RBI program in 1989.

So, though it may be odd, don’t be afraid to applaud the backwards-K tonight. Let the roars echo around Citi Field following a swing and a miss…followed by another and another. Salute the failed bunt with two strikes.

Enjoy it!

Because tonight, much to the delight of C.J., is all about the strikeout, making this game different from the rest.

Note: A very special thanks to C.J. Wilson for taking the time to chat. For more from Rick Suter follow him on Twitter @rick_suter

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American League All-Stars Pay Homage to Legendary Closer Mariano Rivera

New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera will be participating in his 13th and final MLB All-Star Game on Tuesday, and his American League teammates paid homage to him in fitting fashion.

In a pose that suggests reverence, some of the game’s greats, including Robinson Cano, Miguel Cabrera, David Ortiz and Felix Hernandez, seemingly look down in wonder at the closer who has amassed more saves than anyone in the history of the game.

The 43-year-old Rivera has been pitching unlike a man ready to retire; he entered the break with a 1.83 ERA and 30 saves. He’s also coming into the Midsummer Classic with an unblemished record in previous All-Star appearances, with four saves, five strikeouts and just five hits allowed in eight total innings.

MLB commissioner Bud Selig took time out of his busy schedule to comment on Rivera’s final All-Star game as well. 

Fans on Twitter certainly appreciated the message of the photo as well, with a number of touching notes.

And the most fitting way to honor Rivera Tuesday night is, of course, obvious.

With the National League holding home-field advantage at the Mets‘ Citi Field, it could easily come down to the bottom of the ninth—an all-too familiar scene for a man with 638 career saves. 

One thing is for sure—New Yorkers and fans across the country will be tuning in en masse to watch in the late innings to see Mariano Rivera enter the game to his familiar tune “Enter Sandman.”

It’s bittersweet for fans who have had the pleasure of watching Rivera for the past 19 years, but a glorious exit nonetheless. 


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MLB All Star Lineups: Who Has the Best Offense This Year?

The National League seeks its fourth straight victory over the American League at the 2013 All-Star Game on Tuesday at Citi Field.

Of course, before the 3-1 victory in 2010, the NL hadn’t won since 1996 (in 2002, we had the dreaded extra-inning game that resulted in a tie).

So, the question is, who will win on Tuesday?

The American League starting lineup has posted a combined WAR of 34.4 this season, via FanGraphs.com. That’s compared to a combined NL WAR of 27.9. The top three AL hitters in terms of WAR have a better WAR than the top NL hitter (David Wright).

Of course, WAR isn’t everything.

Then again, in terms of batting value, the NL also falls short. The AL has posted a combined batting value of 210.5, with Miguel Cabrera leading the group (51.4) and J.J. Hardy registering a negative grade. The NL has posted a combined batting value of 161.1, with Joey Votto leading the group (27.9) and Brandon Phillips notching a negative grade.

In terms of on-base percentage, six AL hitters rank in the top 20 in baseball. Four NL hitters rank in the top 20.

Six AL hitters rank in the top 20 in OPS (on-base + slugging). Five NL hitters rank in the top 20.

But which team collectively hits better with men in scoring position?

Well, the AL starting lineup is hitting a combined .328 with men in scoring position this season. Miguel Cabrera leads the squad, hitting an astounding .443 with 15 home runs in that situation. Hardy is hitting a team-low .239 in that situation.

As for the NL starting lineup, it is hitting a combined .342 with men in scoring position. Carlos Beltran leads the squad with a .431 average in such situations. Carlos Gonzalez and Bryce Harper rank eighth and ninth on the team, respectively, hitting .258 and .256 with runners in scoring position (although, to be fair, Harper has had only 39 at-bats in that situation this year).

So, in essence, if the NL can get men in scoring position against AL starter Max Scherzer from the get-go, the squad has a better chance of out-scoring the AL. Of course, that’s hard to do against the 13-game winner, as batters have hit a combined .206 against him this season. 

All told, the American League appears to have a better offense than the National League. But if the National League can find ways to get on base against the AL pitching, the NL could defeat the AL again.


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Will Wave of Young Stars Lead National League into Next All-Star Dynasty?

The great paradigm shift in Major League Baseball could mean a lot for the results of the annual All-Star game. Specifically, how all the young impact talent in the National League sets it up for a big run of success in the Midsummer Classic. 

But is there really a greater talent disparity, at least among the new wave of players, that makes the NL better than the American League?

Certainly there is a lot more publicity surrounding the NL right now. You can’t turn on a highlight show without hearing analysts wax rhapsodic about New York Mets pitcher Matt Harvey, Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig, Arizona Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Starling Marte and St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Shelby Miller. 

When you add those players to the mix with “old” All-Star stalwarts like Mets third baseman David Wright, Colorado Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez and shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina, Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw, Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto and Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen, there are a lot of reasons to like the direction the NL is headed. 

There was a time, from 1997-2009, where the American League rolled over the National League in the All-Star Game every year. The Junior Circuit went 12-0-1 during that 13-year span and outscored the Senior Circuit 76-48. 

If you were to just look at the standings in baseball right now, you can see that there is still a clear divide between the AL and NL in terms of depth. I could make a very real argument that five of the six best teams in baseball are in the AL. (St. Louis would be the lone NL club.)

But if we are just looking at the cream of the crop talent that both leagues have to offer, who is to say that the NL can’t reel off a winning streak like the one we recently saw from the AL?

One could justifiably say that it has already started to happen, with the NL winning the last three All-Star Games by a score of 16-2. 

Instead of going 36 players deep like they do in the real All-Star Game, because, frankly, so much of these rosters are comprised of small, inaccurate sample sizes of the first half and managers often feel the need to put the always-volatile relief pitchers—more than one is too many—on the roster that we can’t accurately measure all of the All-Stars in the future, we will pick what we perceive to be the stars likely to be fixtures in this game for years to come. 

Rosters will include a starting lineup and six pitchers (five starters and one reliever). 

For the record, prospects have not been included because we have no idea what they are going to do upon being called up. We are keeping this list limited to players currently in the big leagues. 

Joe Mauer, Minnesota       C Yadier Molina, St. Louis
Chris Davis, Baltimore       1B Joey Votto, Cincinnati
Dustin Pedroia, Boston       2B Matt Carpenter, St. Louis
Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay       3B David Wright, New York Mets
Manny Machado, Baltimore       SS Ian Desmond, Washington
Yoenis Cespedes, Oakland       LF Giancarlo Stanton, Miami
Mike Trout, Los Angeles       CF Andrew McCutchen, Pittsburgh
Jose Bautista, Toronto       RF Bryce Harper, Washington
Miguel Cabrera, Detroit       DH Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona

Quick thoughts about the two rosters. First, catching in the American League is so specialized right now that Mauer figures to remain the best all-around player among that group for a long time. Cleveland’s Carlos Santana is the only one close to Mauer offensively, but is not in his class defensively. Baltimore’s Matt Wieters is the best defensive catcher in the league, but doesn’t bring much on offense except power. 

Second, we put players at a position where they will provide the most value even if it isn’t the spot they normally play. Miguel Cabrera is the best hitter on the planet, but I don’t want him anywhere near the field with a glove. Manny Machado is a shortstop playing third base. Bryce Harper probably could play center field with reps, but his arm and athleticism are best served in right field, though you could also switch him and Stanton with no argument from me. 

Third, there really isn’t a lot of separation between the two leagues as far as age is concerned. The average age of the AL lineup is 27; the NL is 26.9. 

Now we look at the pitching rotations that will make up the All-Star Game for the foreseeable future. 

Felix Hernandez, Seattle Matt Harvey, New York
Max Scherzer, Detroit Shelby Miller, St. Louis
Yu Darvish, Texas Jose Fernandez, Miami
Chris Sale, Chicago Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles
Clay Buchholz, Boston Adam Wainwright, St. Louis
Greg Holland, Kansas City Aroldis Chapman, Cincinnati

Here is where you can start to see a little separation between the sides and moving in favor of the National League, though you could certainly do worse than building pitching staff around Hernandez, Scherzer and Darvish. 

But the biggest difference is youth. With the exception of Wainwright, every pitcher on the NL staff is 25 years old or younger. Miller and Fernandez have a combined age of 42, one year younger than Mariano Rivera. 

That’s not to say the starting crop in the AL is over the hill—far from it. But as far as having mileage on their arms, it is much easier to see the NL starters maintaining their peak performance for the next five to seven years. 

And as we have seen in recent years, pitching is going to be more critical to All-Star success. The game has shifted from an offensive-driven sport to one dominated by hard-throwing strikeout artists. 

Even though there are still great pitchers in the AL—and more on the way—it is clear that the National League has caught up to them in terms of elite arms. 

In fact, the results show in the overall stats between leagues. Since the start of the 2011 season, the AL has worked its way up to a 4.08 ERA through the break.

On the other hand, the NL ERA hasn’t been as consistent as the AL but has moved lower this season, going from 3.81 in 2011 to 3.97 in 2012 to its current level of 3.77. And that factors in the Houston Astros, owners of the worst record in baseball and the third-worst offense at the moment, moving from the National League to the American League this year. 

And finally, to illustrate the change in power at the top of the two league rosters, all you need to know is that the All-Star Game has been highlighted by streaks. Before the AL ripped off its 13-year unbeaten streak from 1997-2009 in the midsummer classic, the NL won three straight times from 1994-96 after the AL won six straight from 1988-93. 

We could easily be in the midst of the next great streak in the All-Star Game. The National League certainly has all the ingredients to put together that kind of run, which currently stands at three straight. 


If you want to talk baseball, feel free to hit me up on Twitter with questions or comments. 

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