I joked last night that we fans should have done some stretching before settling in to watch the All Star Game because the FOX network has a tendency to drag these things out to four hours so they can milk the ad time. Sure, the game started way later than expected because of the numerous pre-game activities, but wow! That thing was over before 11:30PM Eastern Daylight Time! The gametime came in under two hours and thirty minutes, thanks in part to some tidy relief pitching by the AL trio of Jonny Paps, Joe Nathan, and Mariano Rivera, but also thanks to the even tidier AL outfield defense.
Overmanagin' Joe Maddon deserves some credit for lining up three fantastically good glove men in the outfield for the final innings; Curtis Granderson in center (whose biggest contribution was actually a triple that led to the game-winning run), Adam Jones in right (who drove in Grandstand with a sac fly), and Carl Crawford in left, who did this:
Carl went over the fence to bring back a would-be-game-tying Brad Hawpe tater tot. Not only did he save the AL lead, he saved us from the prospects of extra innings that could have brought (yecch) Tim Wakefield into the game. That play also won Crawford the All Star MVP, further evidence that 2009 is the Year of the Glove. The dorky keyboard jockeys in the blogosphere know it, the gawking audience on their sofas know it, and now the scribbling electorate in the press box finally knows it.
So yes, that one counted. On NPR this morning, the commentator noted that the home-field prize had a twist this year because the AL starter Roy Halladay was on the trade block and could end up with a contending NL team in the end. This is the most ridiculous thing spoken on the radio waves since Orson Welles read War of the Worlds. Sure, the American League champion will now have home field advantage in the World Series, but it's an honor that is vastly overrated considering the National League champion has not needed it in three of the past six years it has come out on top.
Besides, Roy Halladay ain't goin' nowhere.