Tagged: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warren_Giles

WHERE HAVE YOU GONE, NATIONAL LEAGUE???

(In Tribute To “Where Have You Gone, Joe DiMaggio”)

I shouldn’t take it as seriously, but it sure would be nice to see the National League win one All-Star Game this decade.  Last night’s game was frustrating for an older NL Fan to watch, and past OLD.  Just like watching the Reds have losing seasons since 2001. 

The National League, with Pujols, Wright, and Utley starring, as well as a strong Reserve unit including Howard, Beltran, Tejada, and McCann, look better on paper, BUT they played inferior baseball in a 4-3 loss to the American League – the 13th Straight LOSS to the Junior Circuit.  Needless to say, the AL has owned the NL…since my eldest son was still one year shy of beginning Head Start in school – age 4.  My son will turn 18 in December, during his Senior Year of High School.  Yes, the NL hasn’t won an All-Star Game since…1996.

As much as I highly respect Mr. Pujols, he failed to get anything done at the plate, and despite two solid plays at 1B, he also made a costly error that led to a run.  Albert, unlike Pete Rose’s Cincy game in 1970, didn’t provide any heroics at the plate during his game before his St. Louis crowd.  

The Mets’ David Wright had a hit, and a decent play or two, but he made a costly throw that pulled Pujols off 1B in the AL’s 2-Run 1st Inning.  The Brewers’ Fielder had an RBI double in the 2nd Inning, which capped the NL’s resurgent 3 run inning that gave them the lead.  Unfortunately, Fielder was a pinch-hitter, and his evening was over, while there were several oh-fers to take over. 

Some NL players rose to the occasion at the plate, and many did the same on the mound.  The Reds’ relief ace Francisco Cordero took only nine pitches in the top of the 7th Inning to retire the AL in order, doing the Reds proud.  Unfortunately, two West-Coast pitchers last night choked, giving up the NL Lead, then the game (Billingsley plays for the Dodgers, Bell for the Padres). 

By the way, doesn’t last night’s loss from a Padres pitcher make it two ASGs where Padre pitchers have been tatooed by the AL at the All-Star Game in the last several years?  Maybe they need to send some backups fielders in 2010.     

Carl Crawford of the Rays made the HR-Robbing catch, and was 1-for-3, earning the ASG’s MVP.  I remember when NL Players stood out like that…many years past.   Last night’s offensive numbers for the NL Stars: 3 Runs (1 unearned) on 5 hits…in the whole game.  It just seemed the NL didn’t try as hard, and the losses are past old. 

I also remember when the National League dominated the All-Star Game – in the 1960s-1970s.  The late Warren Giles (1896-1979) deserves a lot of credit for that. 

Mr. Giles served as the President of the National League from 1951 to 1969.  Giles saw expansion, and a great infusion of Black Americans as well as Latin Americans in the NL.  Giles was a revolutionary, to say the least.  Of course, he was concerned about the Senior Circuit’s standing, especially during special events, such as the All-Star Game. 

“In clubhouse meetings before the midsummer classic, Giles famously would exhort the NL players to uphold their league’s honor…” 

The following is part of an article written by Alan Schwarz, who pointed out the influence of Giles, as well as a certain Cincinnati playing legend, in a online Special to ESPN.com back in 2006.  Schwarz had this to say in an article called “AL Dominating NL, But Why?”:

(From) 1963-82, …National League won 19 of 20 All-Star Games. Perhaps it is no accident that this run coincided almost exactly with the career of Pete Rose — and was aided, most symbolically, by Rose’s shoulder-separating slide on Ray Fosse in 1970. The National League president prior to that was Warren Giles, who made it a point to exhort his troops before every face-off with the hated Americans.

“He (W. Giles) really wanted to win the World Series every year, win the All-Star Game, draw more people than the American League, and at every All-Star Game he would go in the clubhouse and give the players a real pep talk about beating the other league,” said Giles’ son, Bill, later the controlling partner of the Phillies. “Even during the World Series, when we were flying charter flights in those days with executives from each league, he wanted the National League plane to take off first and land first.”

By the way, apparently Ichiro Suzuki pulls a “Giles” for his AL Team, exhorting his fellow All-Stars with a big pep-talk before every All-Star Game; he has a perfect record thus far.  You don’t hear of an NL Star giving any pep talks today, though.   

Additionally, I saw some AL Stars as the game was closing, laughing and smiling.  Derek Jeter was one of the All-Stars – he had every reason to be smiling.  Then, I saw the NL’s David Wright, player of several All-Star Games with NO wins to speak of yet.  The game was almost over, and Wright was laughing and smiling.  When you would see frustration on past stars, such as Hall of Fame great Reggie Jackson during countless AL losses to the NL, well, Wright’s reaction seems Pathetic – That’s my opinion…

I believe, as the old saying goes, Warren Giles would be rolling over in his grave in watching last night’s game.  I think I’ll choose to miss the 2010 All-Star Game.  I’ll choose instead to find some old footage, videos of All-Star Games in the 1970s, Etc., when the NL seemed to really care about Winning the game…then they went out and got it done.   

I recall Oldsmobile commercials from several years back – The Slogan included words such as “This is not your father’s oldsmobile.” Well, this is NOT my National League. 

WHERE HAVE YOU GONE, NATIONAL LEAGUE???

1970 ASG Collision, Fosse, 2nd (14JUL08).jpg

Rose/Fosse Collision – 1970 All-Star Game, Cincinnati’s Riverfront Stadium – When It Seemed the N.L. Players cared a little more about winning the Mid-Summer Classic.

FINAL NOTE: I’m not wishing for ballplayers to have their careers threatened or ruined during this Mid-Season Classic.  Of course, Pete Rose has been plenty villified for his bowling over then-Cleveland’s Ray Fosse to score the winning run in the 1970 ASG. 

Frankly, I’m tired of Mr. Fosse continuos “whining” about the injury 39 years later, and Rose’s getting negative press over it.  Mr. Fosse shouldn’t have blocked the plate from Rose, who wanted to slide.  Fosse should have had another Doc look at his shoulder instead of starting the very next game, and he should have gotten more help – – Still, Fosse didn’t even miss any games right after the 70 ASG.  Charlie Hustle, however, missed 3 games. 

Finally, the Home Run Derby, as a prelude, holds no fascination for me.  Lots of HRs during the contest, then little to nothing during the ASG.  For those who enjoy this exhibition, have at it.   

Okay…enough said.  Back to talking regular Reds baseball tomorrow.  Adios…