Great American Ball Park is a hitter-friendly park. This we know. It seems, though, that these hitter-friendly parks are great for the Home Run Derby but not for the actual All-Star Game.
That was the case in 2015.
Yes, nine runs were scored in the AL’s 6-3 win over the NL on Tuesday, but pitchers dominated for much of the night.
“That’s where we are in the game today,” Sports Illustrated MLB writer Joe Sheehan told Jay Berman, who was filling in as host of CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “When you combine these great pitchers, especially the relievers, they’re only asked to go one inning – guys like Wade Davis and Dellin Betances. You look at the strike zone, which is as large as it’s ever been, really. Pitchers are just ahead of the hitters. So yeah, 6-3 is really kind of a slugfest for an All-Star game when you think about the mix of talent.”
Especially given the format of the game. Pitchers know they’re not going to pitch for more than an inning or two, so they’re throwing as hard as possible.
“That’s an incredibly difficult job for hitters,” Sheehan said. “In a normal game, it’s hard right now. We’re in the middle of a run-scoring drought. Tonight’s game: 24 strikeouts and 13 hits. That’s where baseball is right now. Almost a third of the hitters that came to the plate tonight struck out. (So) you’re hoping for moments. You’re hoping for some great defensive play we can hang our hat on or a great matchup, and we just didn’t get it. I would say that the All-Star Break will be considered a success because Monday night was so successful. But this is not going to be an All-Star Game that we look back at and remember too fondly.”
In fact, we may remember this game more for what happened before it, not during it, as Pete Rose was honored in front of the Cincinnati faithful as part of the pre-game festivities. Berman found the love-fest unappetizing, as he considers Rose repulsive, disgusting and pretty much the scourge of baseball. Needless to say, he doesn’t believe Rose belongs in the Hall of Fame.
Neither does Sheehan.
“Leaving aside any personal opinions about Rose, I just feel like he broke the cardinal rule,” Sheehan said. “Pete Rose walked past the rule posted in every clubhouse more than literally anybody else who’s ever been involved in baseball. He knew the rule. He violated it anyway. I feel like MLB, with Fox’s help, kind of was pushing toward the All-Star Break being like a step forward in the Rose story, and they got undercut by the Outside The Lines report last month reporting that Rose probably bet on baseball while he actually was a player. I don’t know a whole lot of people who were terribly surprised by that, but having proof changed the narrative. It feels like MLB kind of got caught in that there was some push, somewhere, to solve this in a way that would – in my words, pander; in other people’s words, make them happy – and they couldn’t do that anymore because of the Outside The Lines story about Rose’s betting as a player.”
In the end, Rose can only blame himself for the mess he’s been in for the last quarter of a century.
“At no point has Pete Rose come completely clean and said these are all the things I did,” Sheehan said. “He’s given up just a little bit each time. (He says), ‘I did this,’ and then we find out he did more than this. Has Pete Rose at any point done anything to deserve parole? I don’t think he has. I don’t think he should be paroled regardless, but I don’t think at any point he’s done anything to put baseball ahead of himself.”