The 2014 All-Star Game: Imminent Jeterpocalypse

When you think about great moments in All-Star games, there’s one that quickly comes to mind for me. In Seattle, in 2001, Baltimore shortstop Cal Ripken was playing in his final All-Star game. In his first plate appearance, he took the first pitch from Dodger pitcher Chan Ho Park and crushed it out of the park. Members of both teams applauded. Ripken would be named the MVP. Whether or not Park laid in a meatball for Ripken has turned into one of the great unanswered questions in baseball history, though as Yasiel Puig and every other Dodger in a Home Run Derby would tell you, it’s not easy to hit a homer even if the pitcher is trying to help you.

National
American
5:00pm PT
Minneapolis, MN
CF
McCutchen
SS
Jeter
RF
Puig
LF
Trout
SS
Tulowitzki
2B
Cano
1B
Goldschmidt
1B
Cabrera
DH
Stanton
RF
Bautista
3B
Ramirez
DH
Cruz
2B
Utley
CF
Jones
C
LuCroy
3B
Donaldson
LF
Gomez
C
Perez

I’m thinking about this, because tonight in Minnesota, Derek Jeter is going to lead off for the American League in his final All-Star Game, and wouldn’t it be a story if Adam Wainwright laid one in there for him? Not that I think Wainwright will, or that Jeter, with three homers in the last two seasons, would be able to do a damn thing about it anyway. But part of me really hopes that Wainwright does and then admits to it later, if only to further prove that having the All-Star game be about anything meaningful is ludicrous. If it was really about winning, Jeter wouldn’t be starting, and he certainly wouldn’t be hitting leadoff. Really, I can’t even be mad at fans for voting in a living legend in his final year, especially when the AL hardly has a great shortstop being overlooked here. Jeter deserves this sendoff. But baseball deserves better than pretending this stupid thing counts.

And remember, this impacts the Dodgers this year. This team hopes to get to the World Series. Suddenly, it matters whether or not Henderson Alvarez can get Kurt Suzuki out late in a game — to use a totally made-up example — and lord, how dumb is that? I don’t want to watch this game and care about the score, and judging by declining ratings, no one else does either.

ForĀ Dodger-related items: Puig starts in right field, batting second, which means he’ll at least face Felix Hernandez. Clayton Kershaw will enter the game in the second inning and shouldn’t pitch more than two at the most. Zack Greinke should appear at some point, and if I’m Mike Matheny, I’m pinch-running Dee Gordon at some point and having him steal no matter what the situation is.

Anyway, take this game for what it is: a fun, over-produced Jeterian nightmare. Enjoy, I guess.

About Mike Petriello

Mike Petriello
Mike writes about lots of baseball in lots of places, and right now that place is MLB.com.