Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Rant #1,005: New-Star Game

The American League defeated the National League in yesterday's annual Major League Baseball All-Star Game.

The result was 3-0, but the game's significance was much more than that.

First, it was a really good "tonic for the troops," so to speak.

With such toxic stuff going on in the real world, it was good to get away and watch something and enjoy it for a change.

This year's game, at New York's CitiField, heralded the old stars being replaced by new stars.

And nowhere was this demonstrated more than with the starting pitcher and the closing pitcher (although he didn't close last night).

Matt Harvey started the game for the National League.

The Mets' new ace is one of the most exciting pitchers to come around in years.

He seems to possess what it takes to make it big, including a command of his pitches, and the temperament to not only play in New York, but to thrive here.

Yes, he did hit Yankee Robinson Cano with a pitch. What's to make the All-Star Game different from the regular season? The Yankees are really snake-bitten this year.

Moving on ...

Then you have the supposed closing pitcher, for the American League.

Mariano Rivera is probably the classiest major league athlete who is still playing, although he has announced that this is his final year.

He has been the game's greatest closer, but now well into his 40s, he is making his final stops at all major league stadiums that the Yankees play in.

He has the attributes that the much younger Harvey--who started watching Rivera as a toddler--now possess: command of his pitches (people say it is just that cut fastball, but he can place that pitch exactly where he wants it most of the time), and the temperament to have played in New York for 19 years, and to thrive here.

No, he didn't close last night, but you could say that when Rivera came in to "Enter Sandman," the game was unofficially over.

It really is the changing of the guard.

There were many, many new stars in the game, first timers who had never been there before, many players in their 20s.

Gone are the days that aging stars made the game because of their past resume, not because of what they had accomplished during the particular season in question.

Last night was a real changing of the guard, and everybody who is into baseball knows it.

And that is fine with me. You have to have new stars, new great ballplayers, to move the game forward.

And you had them here, many, many of them in both leagues, led by Matt Harvey.

I say that is great.

This situation will make for great baseball for the next several years ...

Until those kids playing in high school now are ready to make their own move.

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