Alex Bregman – ’18 All-Star MVP
The American League defeated the National League 8-6 in 10 innings in a contest that featured a record 10 home runs between both sides, accounting for all but one run of the game. Twenty-five batters struck out, nine walked and only one of the 20 hits came with a runner in scoring position.
The Midsummer Classic, the importance of which aptly criticized for years, even when it mattered toward home-field advantage in the World Series, served as a microcosm for the “three true outcomes” mentality surrounding the sport: home runs, walks and strikeouts. The fielders are so little involved, they might as well join the broadcasters in the booth instead of doing on-field interviews.
Such is the state of baseball these days, and it’s become a hot-button issue for the sport as interest seemingly wanes. The last thing the MLB All-Star Game needs to be is more like its NFL, NBA and NHL counterparts, but Tuesday’s game certainly looks as if it fit that mold more than past iterations have.
Here are four other takeaways from the evening:
4. Speaking of home runs, it’s a shame the Yankees’ Aaron Judge didn’t attempt to defend his crown at Monday’s Home Run Derby. The 6-foot-7 outfielder crushed a fastball from Nationals ace Max Scherzer to left field for the game’s opening salvo in the second inning. While the show Bryce Harper put on in front of the hometown fans at Monday’s event was something special, it’s hard not to discount it when the field didn’t include the likes of Judge, Giancarlo Stanton or another larger-than-life slugger to create an extra sense of competition. Here’s hoping Judge comes around on the Derby sometime down the line.
3. Another player to homer in the game, the Angels’ Mike Trout, furthered his dominance in the showcase. Trout is now 7-for-15 with two homers and four RBIs in his six All-Star contests, including two MVP wins. The more examples we get as to what Trout can do under the spotlight of a nationally televised stage, the more painful it becomes that the Angels can’t get him to the postseason. Trout has played in the playoffs just once, in 2014, and that lasted all of three straight losses. Commissioner Rob Manfred said Tuesday that Trout needs to play a role in improving his marketability — the Angels could certainly stand to do their part as well by giving the 26-year-old more opportunities in October.
2. How weird was it to see Manny Machado playing for the AL in an Orioles uniform when everyone knows he’s expected to be traded to the NL’s Los Angeles Dodgers? Machado snapped a selfie with Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp during the game, a moment the two might soon be able to look back on as teammates, potentially as soon as Wednesday. It’s a tough watch for Orioles fans to see their franchise star’s last game in their uniform potentially come in an exhibition, but at least he had kind words for the organization during a midgame TV interview. “It was a tremendous honor to wear this uniform,” Machado said.
1. NL teams have to be elated that the All-Star Game doesn’t matter anymore. The AL won the event for the sixth consecutive year and 18th time in the last 22 seasons (one tie). Though it might not matter anyway — the Cubs and Brewers lead the NL with 55 wins, a total five AL teams have reached to this point.
–Kyle Brasseur, Field Level Media