Chances are you’re moving pretty slowly this morning if you sat through the marathon, 15-inning All-Star Game last night. Just in case you’ve been living under a rock for the past few weeks, it was the Last All-Star Game Ever at Yankee Stadium. If you didn’t catch that bit of trivia, you really weren’t paying attention. At one point during the broadcast, there was mention of the 2009 All-Star Game, which will take place in St. Louis. My husband, a die-hard National League enthusiast who roots for the Fightin’ Phils, turns to me and quips, “I doubt the St. Louis Cardinals are going to make next year’s game All About Them.” My retort? “Well, they already got their new stadium.”
But yes, this was a Yankee-heavy event, despite the presence of seven Red Sox on the American League roster (eight if you count manager Terry Francona) to the Yanks’ three (four if you count Joe Girardi). The Daily News declares the event all about “KING GEORGE,” because the Boss, George Steinbrenner, made an appearance during the pre-game ceremonies. News columnist Mike Lupica devotes a full column to a hagiography of Steinbrenner, anointing him “the ultimate Yankee superfan” and explaining, “For these few moments last night, he was what he always wanted to be, from the very frist day, the biggest guy in town.” It is really nice that Steinbrenner, who has been in ill health and not seen at Yankee Stadium since Opening Day, was able to make it out for the game, but this column reads too much like an obit in many ways.
Steinbrenner is baseball legend, but if you’re going to put the All-Star Game on the front page of the paper, maybe you should note that this was the longest All-Star Game in history. It ended at 1:37 am! Maybe the news is that both teams almost ran out of pitchers. (The News reports that National League manager Clint Hurdle might have asked Mets 3rd baseman to pitch if necessary!) Part of the issue might have been that the papers’ deadlines were looming, but despite the rich New York Yankee history, this was supposed to be a celebration of all baseball. Of course, it’s pretty ironic (or is it?) that a Boston Red Sox was named MVP of the All-Star Game. The honor went to outfielder J.D. Drew, whose 7th-inning, two-run homer tied the game and made the unthinkable occur: Yankee Stadium cheered for a Red Sox.
One member of the Sox who drew the ire of Yankee Universe was closer Jonathan Papelbon, whom the Daily News crowned “PAPELBUM!” yesterday for his remarks that if he were managing the team, he would have himself close the game instead of legendary Yankee reliever Mariano Rivera. The News has a follow-up on the controversy, in which Papelbon attempts to clarify his statements. But much like when A-Rod attempted to justify slapping the ball out of Bronson Arroyo’s glove during the 2004 ALCS, Papelbon’s backpedaling is going to be met with skepticism by the local press.
There was another New York team involved with the All-Star Game as well, and the Mets get some short shrift in the coverage. The Post‘s Kevin Kernan has a column about chauffeuring David Wright in the Red Carpet Parade, and both papers have pieces on former Mets manager Willie Randolph’s attending the game as a guest of George Steinbrenner. The parade coverage is incredibly Yankee-heavy, but of course that makes sense.
If there’s one column worth reading, however, it is Daily News sports TV columnist Bob Raissman’s piece on the telecast. It’s on page 60. Any chance to take Tim McCarver to task for his awful announcing is alright by me, even if it is to rehash the “Papelbum” controversy, and I agree with Raissman that the 11th inning was way too late to pay tribute to the late Bobby Murcer. It’s a good, critical rundown if you didn’t make it through all 15 innings.