ST. LOUIS -- Be thankful we have the National League All-Star team, in the same way you should be thankful for
The NL has not won an All-Star Game since 1996, in a stadium that long ago was blown up (Veterans Stadium) and with only three players who remain active in the league today. It was so long ago
"We'll get a team to beat them," Upton said. "It just has to happen."
Poor, idealistic kid. Listen, Gilligan never was getting off the island, but we watched every episode anyway for the sheer entertainment value of which humorously entertaining manner he wasn't getting rescued. A fleet of Coast Guard cutters might be anchored off shore and we knew it wasn't going to end well for Gilligan. So it goes when the NL takes on the AL.
The NL was leading the All-Star Game Tuesday night 3-2 after two innings. The scriptwriters call this the setup. The game was tied in the seventh when NL outfielder
The very next inning, not far from the spot of Crawford's magic trick, Upton, the NL left fielder, turned an out into a triple, essentially running the wrong pass pattern -- down-and-up rather than a deep post -- on a floater hit by
The losing pitcher, providing comic relief while playing the role of
The NL now has lost four consecutive All-Star Games by one run, and five of the last seven by one run. So cruel. The National Leaguers have not won any of the past 13 Midsummer Classics, spared only by an infamous stay of execution in 2002 by Judge
They've lost games with nothing on the line, and they've lost games with the World Series home-field advantage on the line. (Forget Game 7. The real value, as Rays manager
"Obviously we're tired of being on the wrong end of it," said Brewers reliever
The streak makes no sense, of course. It's the equivalent of flipping a coin 13 times and 12 times it comes up heads -- and one time it lands on its side. There is no logical reason for it.
Yes, we know the AL owns the NL in interleague play. Yes, the resources of the Yankees and Red Sox have provided a rising tide in the AL that has risen all boats in the league, never allowing AL teams the daydream of backdooring into a wild-card spot. But in the ultimate small sample of one game, the results should be more random. Actually, the overall series is close to a coin flip: 40-38-2 in the favor of the NL over the 80 games.
So this 13-year streak is simply ... freakish. And, in its own dark way, entertaining.
President Obama wasn't much help, either, for the NL upon his own clubhouse visit. "He's an AL guy himself!" Hoffman noticed. Yes, and props to the Commander in Chief for representing his team of choice, the White Sox, rather than pandering to the locals with a Cardinals warmup jacket. "I do think you appreciate the leader of the free world being bold about certain things," Hoffman said. "It was pretty cool to see he held to his own convictions."
Of course, after the tie-breaking sacrifice fly by Jones, the AL had to toy just a little more with the NL. Eighteen straight NL hitters were retired at one point, most of them hacking at first pitches to keep the agony to a minimum, before
For the fourth time in this streak,
Hawpe, batting second in the inning, asked AL expatriate
"If it looks like a strike," Tejada told him, "it's not going to be a strike."
Great. Strike one was a wicked cutter that nearly hit Hawpe in the shoetops. He swung anyway. He took such an ugly hack he looked like one of those tabletop hockey players connected to a rod, spinning gracelessly. Strike two was a buzzsaw of a cutter that broke his bat.
"Hey, I only broke one bat," Hawpe said. "That's not bad."
Strike three was a backdoor cutter, a pitch that began somewhere west of Flourissant and wound up downtown.
"Boom! Boom! Backdoor!" Hudson said. "Man, that's bull right there. That's just not fair! Throw a four-seamer down the middle, will you? That is un-fair!"
And so it goes for the NL. Yes, it is unfair. It is cruel. It makes no sense. But it is fun in a wicked way. The All-Star Game has a storyline more than a decade in the making. Even