Roger Clemens and Mike Piazza have some history between them. Clemens beaned Piazza in a Yankees-Mets game in 2000, then threw part of a broken bat at him in the World Series that same year. This was a huge deal in the media at the time. It became a huge deal again when it was announced that Clemens (now with the Astros) would start the All-Star game for the National League, and would now be throwing to, rather than at, Piazza, who'd had been selected by the fans to be the starting catcher. The media jumped all over it, and there were a bunch of stories showing Piazza and Clemens chatting together, with both of them denying there were any hard feelings. I don't doubt that any of this wasn't true. Still, as the American League hitters were teeing off on Clemens in the first inning of the game last night (5 hits, 6 runs, 2 homers, a very un-Rocket Roger-like performance), I couldn't help but imagine that Piazza was letting the batters know exactly what pitch was coming, a la Crash Davis.
Among the things I have always loved about the All-Star game are the player introductions, just listening to the crowd react to each player as he is introduced. There is polite applause for most, while the home town boys get huge cheers. Some players get booed, say if they're from a home town rival or if they left the home town team for free agency. The best moments are when a popular player who was traded away comes back to the home town. There wasn't much of that last night. The Astros were cheered, and everybody else got polite applause. ARod did get booed a little by the few Ranger fans who made the trip down to Houston. What has changed over the years is the networks trying to juice up the pre-game, trying to make each more special than the last. Please. Last night they had the starters come out of the stands, parade along the roof of the dugout like models, then clamber down a rickety metal stair to the field. The symbolism was that these were the guys the fans selected, bring them out of the stands. Yeesh. I was waiting for one of them to trip while negotiating the staircase.
Memo to the Cleveland Indians - Please issue your players caps that fit. Three sizes smaller should do the trick.
Memo to C.C. Sabathia - Once the Indians give you a new cap, the bill of the cap is supposed to point forward. You look like Max Patkin out there. No wonder you got shelled.
What the frell is the deal with "Scooter?" My God, just when I'd finally managed to forget the abomination that was "Peter Puck," Fox decides they need a talking baseball to explain what a slider is? Ya know, if you're gonna go for super cute, at least make the explanation clear. The cartoon wasn't any better than having McCarver explain the differences on a telestrator.