Monday, July 10, 2006

All-Star disasters

Jason Schmidt is saying he'd be OK with pitching in the All-Star game, which is certainly righteous of him after pitching 7 innings Sunday. But given his recent history of injuries, I'd just as soon that Phil "The Weasel" Garner find someone else. The Giants have plenty of problems already; an injured Schmidt would leave them doomed.

I've never cared much about the All-Star game, perhaps because when I started paying attention, they were having two games each year. I've only seen one in person -- the 1980 game at Chavez Latrine. All I remember is the 100 degree plus heat; a fantastic catch in RF by Ken Landreaux who was with the Twins at that point; and LA Fire Dept. helicopters in action out by the Police Academy for most of the game after the extensive pre-game fireworks set the hills on fire.

The three most memorable games I've seen on TV: 1961, when Stu Miller was blown off the mound at the Stick, cementing its rep as an awful place to play; 1973, when Pete Rose gave us a glimpse of his psychotic loser side and decided to run into Ray Fosse standing up, effectively ending Fosse's career as an All-Star caliber player; and in 1968, when Mays scored the only run via a single, a botched pickoff & wild pitch by El Tiante and a DP groundout by Stretch. If ever a game epitomized a year, that was it. It was around the time of the first heart transplants and a fan got off a good line after Harmon Killebrew was waiting to be carried off the field after he did the splits at 1B on a fielding play and got stuck in pain on the ground with his legs still split. So after a few minutes of Killebrew lying motionless, some leather-lunged fan bellowed on national TV -- "GET HIM A TRANSPLANT!!!" My 16-year-old mind thought it was hilarious.

Then there was the 1937 game, when Earl Averill lined a ball off Dizzy Dean's foot, breaking it. Dean came back too early that season and was never the same player. He was 26 at the time and would only win 13 more games before retiring with a record of 150-83 and an ERA of 3.02 in an era where the ball was what was juiced.

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