I lucked into amazing tickets at the last minute for last night's All Star Game. I've been to 4 All Star Games now (the last 3 Bay Area games plus 1979's in Seattle) and this was the most interesting game of the four. I particularly like the sensation of hesitating, for one night, to consider what it would be like to have Vladdy on my team (the A's) in right field and Jeter at short and so forth. Probably about as useful as scanning Sports Illustrated and wondering it would be like to be dating Petra Nemcova. It was still nice to boo Lackey - lustily.
As much fun as I had once the game began, what struck me was how poorly the festivities were presented. For the hour before the game the scoreboard blared awful music at volumes much, much too loud. Interspersed with that were lame clips from the All Star parade from the day before. Gee, David Ortiz's 3-year old son had a birthday. I came to the Park early to watch boring TV?
We knew in advance there was going to be a Mays tribute, but it was astonishingly tame and lame. Virtually no information about his career was presented. There were few photo clips. There were no video clips. He wandered in from center field, and so even from my seats (which were great) he spent most of his time about 400 feet away from the crowd. He stayed close to Barry the whole time, so it was impossible to keep a smile on your face for long. And they kept playing this faux-inspirational John Tesh-style crappy music at outrageous volumes. It was like an endless loop of dot racing. Shup up already. Finally Mays got into a car and attempted to throw balls to the crowd, except that half of them went into the backstop netting. How hard would it have been to have Mays sign 100 balls and have the players throw them into the crowd? The whole thing was extremely disappointing. When the music stopped briefly as he left the field ... dead silence. Indeed, whenever the music stopped, even during the game, it was amazing how quiet the crowd was.
Finally the game began and you got that awful, awful, awful, awful, awful Giants PA announcer. I mean she is just incredible. What could she possibly do worse to get fired? I recognize San Francisco is the capital of political correctness, and I suppose as a black woman she's a two-fer, but for crying out loud: Jessye Norman would be just fine, thanks. She makes even the best names sound like fingers-on-a-blackboard schreeches.
Thankfully, the game itself. Long-time ANers know I have a pathetic weakness for Ichiro. I just love that guy - everything he does. It's kind of amazing to watch a game of All Stars, though, and realize how superior the guy looks - not counting Jose Reyes. Like Tony Dorsett, he doesn't run; he glides. Can't wait to tell my grandchildren I saw him at the All Star Game. After the game he joked that he could hit 40 HRs if the Mariners would let him bat .220, "but no one wants that," he said. Wouldn't it be nice to be a fly on Jimmy Sexton's wall when that comment gets read?
If you ever have the chance - go to the All Star Game. It's terrific fun. Just bring your ear plugs.