Catcher Jason Castro, this year’s Houston Astros representative at the All-Star Game at Citi Field in New York, didn’t get a single second of playing time.
The Astros are, of course, the owners of the worst record in baseball and hardly an exemplary image of stardom, but Castro is a solid young ball player. It was his first career All-Star Game and for an athlete amidst so many great stars, he is aware that these opportunities will be rare.
Jim Leyland, who coached the ad hoc AL All-Star team, is the head coach of the Detroit Tigers. The Tigers are a competing team this season, and Leyland was obviously eager to win the game in order to procure home-field advantage for the World Series if his chance should arrive.
The AL team dominated the game from the get-go, and going into the ninth inning leading 3-0 with the NL having only managed three hits all game, Leyland might have been safe in assuming that the game was essentially wrapped up. With this in mind, perhaps sending Castro out as a pinch hitter to give him just a sense of what it feels like to be an All-Star would have been the fair thing to do.
Leyland is a no-nonsense coach, however, and clearly not much of a romantic.
Castro flies back to Houston with some great memories, such as the farewell salute to the retiring Mariano Rivera in the eighth inning, but he would have preferred to have gained some playing time for some stories of his own. Instead, he joins Hunter Pence on an unenviable list of Astros reps who, since 2009, have been selected to the All-Star game but contributed only applause from the sidelines.