Last Night's Winner: The NL, By Default And Attrition

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In sports, everyone is a winner—some people just win better than others. Like the National League, finally, which gets this coveted LNW spot only because there were literally no other competitive contests in the universe last night.

That game was boring, right? I've seen some gripping 3-1 pitchers' duels in my time, and this was not one. This was a game without rhythm, without chemistry, and, for a 3-1 game, seemingly without end. I really didn't need to wait until midnight to see John Buck get in the game.


But these All-Star Games are usually low-scoring, and since no one throws more than two innings, the game's MVP award always goes to whichever player got their hit with the most men on base. In this case, Brian McCann, with the only run-scoring hit of the game.

After the game, McCann was asked how old he was in 1996, the last time the NL won one of these. He said he was 8 years old. He wasn't; he was 12 in 1996. But he can be forgiven for forgetting his birth year (or basic subtraction, whichever way he figured it out). He's the All-Star Game MVP! Can you feel the excitement!


Let's hand out our own laurels, for strangest managing: honorable mention goes to Charlie Manuel, for batting Ryan Howard at cleanup even though what promised to be an NL-style, small ball, move the runners over type of game called for batters that won't waste outs. Howard struck out his first time up. Manuel justified his inclusion by saying he needed a lefty in the middle of a righty-heavy lineup. One wonders if Charlie knows that Joey Votto's a lefty too.

But the award goes to Joe Girardi, who had a 34-man roster and managed to run out of players in the ninth inning, the only time a substitution would have actually made sense. Actually, that's not true: he had Alex Rodriguez on the bench, who's a much faster runner than David Ortiz, and a much better hitter than John Buck. So, of course, Ortiz reaches first and Buck comes to the plate as the tying run. The rest is history.

At least the All-Star Game answered some pressing questions. Would Jose Valverde do his fruity little strikeout dance in a meaningless game? (Even more meaningless than a mid-May Tigers/Royals tilt?) Yes. Is Ty Wigginton the greatest utility man in the American League? Apparently. Would come up with their own annoying band? You better believe it.

But more questions were raised. What the hell was Tim McCarver talking about during his remote chat with Girardi? Who are these people who watch, and enjoy Glee? And who was that woman in the red dress behind home plate?


So there we have it. Some players got free trips to Anaheim. Matt Capps and Phil Hughes got the deicisions. The first game of the World Series will be played in a National League park, for the first time since 2001.

Aren't you glad this wasn't soiled by the inclusion of Stephen Strasburg?