Each summer around this time I hear various people politely ask "why don't we do away with the MLB All Star Game? Has it run its course? Is it good for baseball?" You bet it is. The major league baseball All Star Game is an event where fans of all ages connect AND participate with the players, fans from other cities and the game itself. The Fan Fest each summer days before the game has lines longer than Disney World. The Home Run Derby has been a smash hit and this year may have been one of the best ever when hometown slugger Bryce Harper trailed by six with thirty seconds remaining in the finals and proceeded to swat six homers to tie and one in extra time to win it. He hit nine home runs in his final ten swings. There was an unmatched buzz throughout the baseball world.
Before this year's All Star Game, MLB introduced twenty nine men who have been awarded the prestigious Medal of Honor. Hero and valor are words thrown around too casually but both those words fit the 29 recipients perfectly. It was a goose bump moment. Watching the end of the 5th inning was another stirring moment. Everyone in Nationals Park rose as part of an annual campaign, Stand Up To Cancer. Forty-Four thousand fans, players and umpires ALL holding placards with someone's name who has, or is, battling cancer. Every single person in the park displayed a hand written name. Cancer has touched them all and to date Major League Baseball has raised close to \$44 million dollars to strikeout cancer.
If your city has ever hosted an All Star Game you will never forget it nor the good will the game leaves in its wake. In 1999 Fenway opened its arms to the best in baseball and it will forever be remembered as one of the more iconic moments in the Parks' history. The All-Century team had been announced and the last player introduced was the greatest of them all...Ted Williams. If you weren't misty eyed that evening or even watching it now on YouTube, you need your oil changed. The best base stealers, strikeout aces, power hitters all gravitated toward Ted, to say hi, shake his hand or borrow some greatness for themselves. It was unscripted, IT was unvarnished and IT WAS UN -believable.
Ten home runs were hit in this year's All Star game including back to back game winners by Houston Astros teammates Alex Bregman and George Springer just 40 seconds apart. I've written about Springer in the past. Springer has a stutter and has overcome his stutter though the support of family as well as friends and proudly serves serves as a model to those who lack the confidence to speak in front of others.
Bregman burst on to the scene last October in the post season. He was named the MVP of this year's All Star Game and provided an unselfish moment on live television. As his reward, Bregman was offered the choice of a pickup truck or a Chevy Camaro. He chose the Camaro and immediately announced that he was giving it to his mother Jackie. He later told folks that his mother drove him to every practice and every game as he was growing up and couldn't think of anyone who deserved the car more. It was an all-star gesture and a fitting end to America's Game.