Monday, July 13, 2009

All-Star Eve

In advance, please know that this in no way encapsulates all of my thoughts over the past week around baseball. I'll have another post soon clearing the notebook, which will include highlights from my first trip to CitiField and thoughts on the Roy Halladay trade rumors.

The Sunday before the All-Star game has been interesting to me when I first noticed how the break can influence managerial strategies. It's fun, as a fan, to see the unusual, the improbable, to see truly inspired moves by good managers. Of course, the drama of postseason play trumps any of this mid-July nonsense, but I still feel like there is an intriguing choice for the manager to balance two potential philosophies.

We've seen managers use Sunday's game as a chance to rest some players and add a day to the planned break. It's boring to not see your favorite stars, but ever since Lou Gehrig Wally Pipped, well, Wally Pipp*, baseball has allowed understudies chances to shine. I'm not trying to wax poetic about watching scrubs. It's not fun to see Neifi Perez play instead of your team's fan favorite infielder, who's not even wearing a cup or cleats because he knows he's got the day off.

*Did you know that Wally Pipp didn't necessarily famously miss Gehrig's first game, and lose his regular job, because of a headache? I don't know much about this snopes.com website, other than it refuted the recent claim that Tommy Hilfiger is racist.

Anyway, in this article, snopes shows there is confusion to the accurate story and the circumstances that opened the door for the Iron Horse to begin his unparalleled career.

Back to the discussion on the philosophies for the last game before the All-Star Break. My favorite is when a manager adapts an all out "Game 7" philosophy to winning this game with Starting Pitchers in the bullpen and everything. A couple of weeks ago, Jered Weaver got a win for the Angels by pitching in relief of an extra inning game. I love that stuff.

Were there any highlights of this happening yesterday? I honestly don't know. I'm still stuck without a cable or Internet in my apartment. In retrospect, this post would have been way better as an anticipation piece on Sunday morning. Well, you live and learn.

What I saw from last night's Cubs' game was exciting and memorable. From Jake Fox catching to Sean Marshall playing left field, fans won't soon forget that game. More on this later. It deserves it's own post, and I gotta run.

For those of you who will be watching, enjoy the Futures Game. I haven't looked at the rosters, but I heard Keith Law wrote an excellent piece showcasing who's who in the game. I think that Neftali Feliz should be on the team. If you're watching, and he pitches, pay attention to the command and movement on his pitches, while seeing if he looks like he is repeating a nice, clean delivery. The sky is the limit for this kid, and a sneak peak is always fun.

Oh yeah, and Justin Smoak can really hit, too. The Rangers are going to be really good.

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