Way back in July, before color television and hybrid car were invented, the National League trounced the American League 8-0 in Major League Baseball’s Mid-Summer Classic. Do you remember that game? Probably not, but you should and here’s why.
Four San Francisco Giants starters made a mark in the MLB All-Star Game and it’s paying dividends now. The Giants grabbed a 1-0 World Series lead over the Detroit Tigers in front of a raucous home crowd at AT&T Park and they can thank themselves and their National league brethren for that right.
Pablo Sandoval, Melky Caberera, Matt Cain and Buster Posey represented the Giants in the All-Star game and helped the NL secure a World Series home-field advantage for the third straight season. Posey earned a spot on the team by getting the most votes in NL history. Cain earned the start on the back of 10 first-half wins, including a historic perfect-game. As for the all-star game itself, Sandoval and the now exiled Cabrera put on a show worthy of a Hollywood studio.
Cabrera homered and won the MVP award and Cain’s start set the tone for the NL in its most-lopsided All-Star victory. Cabrera singled and scored the first run, then hit a two-run homer against Matt Harrison in a three-run fourth.Cain combined with Stephen Strasburg, R.A. Dickey, Aroldis Chapman and the rest of a lights-out staff on a six-hitter.
Los Angeles Dodgers star Matt Kemp called the game the “San Francisco Giants show.”
Sandoval joined elite company on Wednesday night when hit launched his third homerun in a single World Series game. But, in July he stood alone as the only player to hit a bases-loaded triple in an All-Star game and it came off Tigers Ace and game one starter, Justin Verlander.
In July, Verlander couldn’t control his 100 mph heat, throwing 35 pitches in NL’s five-run first inning alone. He took the loss in that game. On Wednesday night, Verlander wasn’t his usually dominant self either. He surrendered five-runs in just four innings of work and again took the loss.
It’s strange how history has a way of making itself relevant again. I was reminded of this every time Sandoval left the yard and the park exploded with joy. It has been over three months since the All-Star game bored baseball fans to tears, yet here it is, looming larger than ever and doing exactly what Bud Selig had hoped it would do when he made the “game count” by awarding home-field advantage in the Fall Classic to the winning side.
I don’t know if the Giants can go on and win the series from here; But, I do know that on one cold October night, a game played in the middle of the summer meant something again and I loved every second of it.
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