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Bye-bye All-Star Game, bye-bye New York

Jul 17, 2013, 11:32 AM EDT

Apple Citi Field

I was at Citi Field until way after midnight last night then it took a good hour to make it back to my hotel. Then I was wired from my first All-Star experience and didn’t get to bed until it was way closer to my usual wakeup time than it was my usual bedtime. Waking up at, like, 9AM is insanity. I don’t know how you lazy people do it.

I’m getting ready to head out of New York, having taken in my first All-Star Game. Gotta say, the entire experience exceeded my expectations.  Some random observations as I prepare to book it back to America’s Heartland:

  • The Futures Game was more fun than I figured it would be. I touched on it a bit on Monday morning, but there is a lot of fun to be had seeing players you’ve never seen before. Sadly, however, way fewer people see the Futures Game than really should. Note to Major League Baseball: do not schedule the Futures Game opposite actual Major League action on Sunday. Give it its own day on Monday, move the Home Run Derby to Tuesday and the All-Star Game to Wednesday. You’d get yourself three days of feature programming and way more people could enjoy the Futures Game.
  • The Home Run Derby is probably the least interesting of the three main on-field events during All-Star Week. I don’t know how to spice it up. Maybe make a baseball triathlon of sorts, with a skills competition. Something involving running, throws from the outfield, precision bunting, whatever. I don’t know. The Derby just gets so tedious after a while, and I feel like the only reason it’s as long as it is is to justify a block of three hours of programming on ESPN. A baseball game is worth that. Batting practice isn’t.
  • Some people are saying last night’s game was uneventful. I don’t care. It felt way more like a real baseball game than a lot of recent All-Star Games. Good defense and some fun running and things. It put me in mind of 1988 baseball. And I really love 1988-style baseball. Except defense is way better now than it was in 1988.
  • I was happy this morning to wake up and read that the bulk of the commentary about last night’s game focused on Mariano Rivera being wonderful rather than “why didn’t Jim Leyland let him get the save?!” arglebargle. I’m sure some of that exists, of course. And if you think that you probably need to re-examine your priorities.
  • I rode the media bus back to Manhattan with former Royals/Rangers/Yankees/Pirates catcher Don Slaught last night. Slaught owns a company called RightViewPro which does video imaging of ballplayers for scouting and training purposes. He has come to nine straight All-Star Games where he sets up cameras to capture the swings of players, which he then breaks down, compares to others, uses for scouting and training and stuff.  Sounds like a neat operation, and not just because he claims that, if you do a video comparison, Ichiro and Mickey Mantle essentially have the same mechanics at the point of contact. Smart guy and a nice guy. And he’s fully aware that his 1990 and 1992 Strat-o-Matic cards are wonderful.
  • I’m not sure how it happened, but there are a lot of you in comments and on Twitter who got it in their head that I hate New York. Nothing could be further from the truth. New York is wonderful and amazing. To visit. Which is what I am doing, so this has been a fantastic few days. To the extent I’ve been critical or complainy it’s way more about me and my sensibilities not being all that compatible with life in a giant city for more than a few days, not a criticism of the city itself. In other words, it’s not you, New York, it’s me. And I know that. Besides, this place is beautiful. Even at 1AM:


Thanks for everything New York. Hope Minneapolis is just as much fun for next year’s All-Star Game.

  1. proudlycanadian - Jul 17, 2013 at 11:40 AM

    In other words NY is a great place to visit, but you do not want to live there. I concur.

    • fanofevilempire - Jul 17, 2013 at 1:30 PM

      What are you guys even talking about, if you want to know what New York is about then get
      to the other 4 Boro’s, that is what NY is about. I laugh at people like you and people who move
      to NY do not represent a New Yorker, I represent a New Yorker.

      Born in SI and raised in Brooklyn, there is no other place to live.

      • thebadguyswon - Jul 17, 2013 at 2:17 PM

        There most certainly is.

      • paperlions - Jul 17, 2013 at 3:06 PM

        Some people just don’t like living in a pile of people. NY or any city would make me miserable. I want and need peace and quite, time and space to move about and think without being constantly surrounded by people and bombarded by noise.

        I live 2 hours from NY and have never been. I don’t have anything against it, I just don’t care for cities. I only live 2 hours from Boston as well and I’ve been there exactly once, to see a game at Fenway…was there for about 6 hours total….that was enough city for me for a while.

        I can drive 10 miles to work and pass 2 cars, 20 deer, 12 wild turkeys, 1 jogger, 2 people walking their dogs, see 6 chipmunks scurry across the road, and pass through 9.5 miles of forested landscape. I can go for days without ever stepping on concrete or asphalt.

        I am glad cities exist. I am also glad I don’t live in one. Different strokes.

  2. drobstad - Jul 17, 2013 at 11:47 AM

    NY is the greatest city on earth for a reason. Everything here is bigger and better. It’s not for everybody that’s for sure, but I wouldn’t want my kids growing up anywhere else. New Yorkers are a special breed and we’re proud of that and hope everybody who came to our city had a wonderful time. Next up… The Superbowl.

    • sdelmonte - Jul 17, 2013 at 11:56 AM

      I hear the Jets and Giants are trying to store the hot, humid air from last night just in case of a blizzard.

      • fanofevilempire - Jul 17, 2013 at 1:33 PM

        who told you, the voices in ya head.

      • sdelmonte - Jul 17, 2013 at 1:53 PM

        Yes. The ones i get when it’s this hot.

        Both of which also think the Mets will win the World Series. Someday.

    • mybrunoblog - Jul 17, 2013 at 12:04 PM

      Umm, the Super Bowl is in New Jersey not New York.

      • jimeejohnson - Jul 17, 2013 at 1:30 PM

        Umm, look at a map. The site is like 5 miles from NYC as the crow flies.

      • fanofevilempire - Jul 17, 2013 at 1:32 PM

        duh, I guess the league holding events in Manhattan doesn’t count, thanks for
        informing me.

    • fanofevilempire - Jul 17, 2013 at 1:34 PM


    • fanofevilempire - Jul 17, 2013 at 1:34 PM


    • paperlions - Jul 17, 2013 at 3:11 PM

      I’ve been to a lot of cities. One thing they all have in common is that the locals think they are a special breed.

  3. sdelmonte - Jul 17, 2013 at 11:55 AM

    Thanks for visiting. Your contribution to our city’s economy is welcome. Remember to buy more souvenirs at the airport. There’s a sale on A-Rod t-shirts.

    Seriously, it does my heart good as both a New Yorker and a Mets fan to know that we made you feel welcome. I know that the city is great at rolling out the red carpet for tourists of all sorts – I’m on the convention and visitors bureau’s industry e-mail list, so I see the things they do. But that the Mets organization did everything right is nice, too, given the occasional tendency to get things wrong. It really sounds like Citi Field served as a great place for a big event.

    I wouldn’t change the Home Run Derby, though. I have loved the idea ever since I found reruns of the old Home Run Derby show from the 50s on ESPN. And frankly, it’s managed to be a lot more interesting than the slam dunk competition in the NBA. That used to be fun until the big names stopped coming. At least MLB makes sure to have a few stars participate every time. That makes it matter to me for some reason.

    And now to have an interminable wait till the next games…

    • yournuts - Jul 18, 2013 at 2:03 AM

      The Home Run Derby is the most boring, stupid part of the All Star game. Even the all star game is so boring. They should just do away with it and give the ball players a week off. BORING.

  4. kopy - Jul 17, 2013 at 11:57 AM

    Minneapolis is going to knock everybody’s socks off next year. I have some extra space, Craig, in case someone has already claimed Gleeman’s top bunk.

    • jcmeyer10 - Jul 17, 2013 at 12:06 PM

      I’m excited. I think Target Field is just nifty and one of the best places to see a game (when it’s not snowing)

    • fanofevilempire - Jul 17, 2013 at 1:35 PM

      I hope it doesn’t snow…..

      • kopy - Jul 17, 2013 at 2:51 PM

        FUN FACTS!

        Minneapolis averages 350 hours of sunshine in July, compared to NYC’s 268. The average high is 83.4 degrees, which is slightly less (but more comfortable) than NYC’s 84.1. Minneapolis averages a half-inch less of precipitation. Both cities average 0 snowfall. You don’t have to worry.

  5. jaturso - Jul 17, 2013 at 12:04 PM

    Craig, there are way too many “way more”s in this post.. you’re way more better than that…

  6. km9000 - Jul 17, 2013 at 12:05 PM

    I know they used to have a relay throw event, but either someone got hurt, or there was enough concern over it. It’s sad that that they couldn’t even have a baserunning event without (probably legitimate) fear of injury. The skills competitions in other sports are often more interesting than their actual all-star games (well, except the dunk contest).

    And Craig, sounds like a wild night. I hope you’re not neglecting your studies.

  7. baddogjosie - Jul 17, 2013 at 12:09 PM

    I think it was the late great Levon Helm in “The Last Waltz” who described New York as ‘an adult portion’. I don’t remember the exact quote but it basically stated that you go to NYC, get your butt kicked by the scope and energy of it all and then go home to lick your wounds. And he was right.

  8. jrbdmb - Jul 17, 2013 at 12:16 PM

    Agree 100% with the Futures Game. Why even bother having it when it is buried beneath all of the Sunday afternoon MLB games?

    Here’s an idea- why not make the Futures Game the Sunday Night game on ESPN?

    • chip56 - Jul 17, 2013 at 12:27 PM

      Because there are far more people interested in a major league game than the vocal minority who actually follow the minor leagues closely enough to care about the prospects who play in the Future’s Game.

      • Steve A - Jul 17, 2013 at 12:36 PM

        Maybe if the Futures Game was more accessible to baseball fans, more people would enjoy it. I love following the prospects, but I also like to watch my favorite MLB team. The MLB team won my attention Sunday. Put the Futures game on Sunday night (Great idea, jrbdmb), and everyone can watch with undivided attention.

      • chip56 - Jul 17, 2013 at 1:00 PM

        ESPN is not going to give up the ad revenue that a major league game in prime time generates. The fans who are interested in the minors are going to find the futures game regardless of when it’s on – same way they find the college world series games. You don’t schedule niche programming in prime time.

      • paperlions - Jul 17, 2013 at 3:13 PM

        No one is asking them to do so. The suggestion is to have three prime time events rather than 2. No one has suggested that it replace anything but dead air.

      • chip56 - Jul 17, 2013 at 5:07 PM

        That’s why I suggested below that the perfect time to have the Future’s Game is tonight. There is absolutely nothing going on in sports tonight.

  9. chip56 - Jul 17, 2013 at 12:26 PM

    New York’s not for everyone – especially someone who lives in rural Ohio. I picture Craig being like the little Amish kid from the movie Witness when he is walking around in Philadelphia.

  10. Steve A - Jul 17, 2013 at 12:37 PM

    Comcast showed only a two hour block for the Home Run Derby on my guide. Why even put up that ruse?

  11. Stacey Kengal - Jul 17, 2013 at 12:40 PM

    Good idea on the Future Game. It should have it’s own day.

    The HRD needs to be shortened by two hours. Whatever the format, get it done in an hour and move on. Of course MLB wants to suck every red dime out of it’s “market”, so I suspect they’ll only try to increase it to a 5-hour event in the future.

    I thought the actual game was pretty boring myself. But I’ve been in a bad mood of sorts lately, so maybe it was better than I thought. I went to bed though when they trotted Neil Diamond out there. Could you be any more predictable? “Sweet Caroline! Blah! Blah! Blah!”

    Sorry, but Mariano Rivera was not the MVP of the 2013 All-Star game. He may have been the MVP of the last 15 years for all of baseball, but last night all he did was hold the game. There was no MVP last night. It was a no-MVP kind of game.

    Don Slaught? Cool! Sluggo!

    New Yorkers tryin’ to make you feel guilty? Take it from a guy from New Jersey, “Fahgetta ’bout it!”

    Nice article. Enjoyed it. Thanks!


    • gammagammahey - Jul 17, 2013 at 4:18 PM

      The HRD is probably as long as it is both for TV and so that they can charge hundreds of dollars for the tickets and make it not seem like a complete ripoff of an hour’s worth of time. Tickets for the Futures Game + Legends/Celebrity Softball on Sunday were running as low as $6 on StubHub.

  12. daveitsgood - Jul 17, 2013 at 12:43 PM

    Yes, but during your time spent in Gotham, did you see The Batman?

  13. chip56 - Jul 17, 2013 at 1:07 PM

    What they should do with the Futures Game is put it on a day like today where MLB is completely shut down. No games, no HR derby, nothing in sports today unless you’re a fan of the WNBA.

  14. jimeejohnson - Jul 17, 2013 at 1:34 PM

    NYC: where money talks, and theet walks. Think of the Pace Picante Salsa commercial of old and say with incredulity, “New Yawk City”!!!

    • jimeejohnson - Jul 17, 2013 at 1:36 PM

      Punctuation police say use question marks instead of exclamation points to get the right inflection: “New Yawk City???”

      • km9000 - Jul 17, 2013 at 1:40 PM

        Cookie says, “What’s the difference!”

  15. APBA Guy - Jul 17, 2013 at 4:39 PM

    I always loved visiting New York. As a kid I grew up on military bases all over, mostly in rural areas, NYC was exactly the opposite of that. When I got older and started visiting on my own it was the sheer energy that I liked, and the challenge to amp up mentally to keep pace with the speed that New Yorkers think and talk. It takes a few days to speed up to their level.

    Another thing I love is that NYC is the dining capital of the world. Such variety, such quality, at all different price points. This is where getting out of Manhattan helps. I was always blown away when I’d go to Brooklyn and eat at some really old Italian place one day, then at some fabulous Caribbean place, then at a great North African place. Astonishing variety.

    But. All that pace and energy can be draining. It certainly is for me. I completely understand the need to live somewhere else. I admire those who can thrive in that environment. I have a friend who’s a fashion illustrator who grew up, like I did, on military bases. As soon as he could he moved to NYC and hasn’t left. He’ll never leave. More power to him and others like him.

  16. indaburg - Jul 18, 2013 at 7:55 AM

    As a born and bred former New Yawker, I 100% agree with the sentiment that New York is a wonderful place to visit. To live, not so much. I don’t miss much. The food. The chutzpah. The electric feeling in the sidewalk. Central Park in the fall. The Temple of Dendur at sunrise. Grand Central Station. Watching Dwight Gooden pitch as a kid when I was a little girl at Shea. I’ll take my palm trees and sand. They’re free. It’s peaceful.

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