The NL Didn’t Have to Lose the All Star Game in 2009
The All Star Game 2009 is over, and the NL lost again. Good thing the Astros (the team that unfortunately has my witless loyalty) aren’t going to the WS, because now I don’t have to be angry about losing the 2009 All-Star Game.
Wait, I’m still angry about the 2009 All-Star Game. The American League has owned this contest for too long. The NL played this All-Star Game like a bunch of rookies, especially with all the fielding boo-boos and missed cut-off throws.
The crucial juncture IMHO was Heath Bell against hotshot rookie Adam Jones. At this point the All Star Game is tied in the 8th. Bell has a devastating breaking ball and a high-90s heater. He gives up a triple to Granderson, and then after an intentional walk, he faces the rook.
All Star Game 2009, Now 100% Strategy-Free
Bell throws two filthy breakers – sliders, I think. They look positively Brad Lidge-like. Jones is helpless against them, fouling them off his shoetops. Then Bell goes to the heater. “Good idea,” I think. “This guy is going to show him some heat to set up the breaking-ball strikeout. Classic technique against a rookie who’s never seen an All-Star Game-quality slider.”
Bell throws Jones another heater, and another. Unsurprisingly, the rookie is getting dialed in on that, catching up with each pitch. You don’t make the majors if you can’t hit straight cheese. “Where’s the slider?!?” I think. “And why is that four-seamer so damned straight?” Jones unsurprisingly pounds the crap out of the fourth straight fastball he sees in the AB. Fly ball to right. Granderson scores. Goodbye, All-Star Game 2009.
The Loser of the All Star Game 2009 Speaks Out
Here’s some Bell wisdom from the All-Star Game wrap at Fanhouse.com:
Bell explained that he had no scouting report whatsoever on Granderson.
“That’s the only thing that was worrying me [before the game], how am I going to pitch them?” Bell said. “I was trying to throw it by him, simple as that. I didn’t do my job. I probably should have thrown a breaking ball there. Oh well. I’m driving with my eyes closed.”
[I’m guessing this is actually what he said about Jones, not Granderson, since Jones is the rookie and Granderson’s been around awhile. Apparently this guy is so prepared that he never bothered to talk to any of the coaches or catchers about the guys he was about to face. I mean, it’s just the freakin’ All Star Game. Anyhow, here’s what he did after losing the 2009 All Star Game.]
“I got pissed, threw my glove, kicked a door, like I normally do,” he said. “Then I realized I’ve been pitching really good lately and I kind of needed a wake-up call and this is a good wake-up call, because it doesn’t count on my record. It didn’t ruin it for the Padres, my ultimate team.”
When it was pointed out to Bell that he may have ruined it in the World Series for the Dodgers, who have the majors’ best record, he seemed to get some satisfaction.
“I’ve ruined it for the Dodgers with saves against them,” he said, “so I’m just doing what I normally do.”
Would that be… losing the All-Star Game 2009?