From the Sidelines
Going to an All-Star event of any kind is like being the only kid in a candy store with a handful of money.
You get to be the only one making decisions on what candy you want, and have nearly unlimited resources to cash in on your prize.
This week could be one of the best weeks ever for a baseball fan such as myself. Tuesday night I got the HDTV all to myself as I watched the Major League Baseball All-Star Game.
The American League won 3-0, earning the home field advantage for the World Series in October.
But also happening this week is another type of All-Star Game, the American Legion game: It will be played Saturday at 7 p.m. at Spring Mobile Ballpark in Salt Lake City.
For me, it’s an opportunity I shouldn’t pass up but likely will, as my son’s third birthday will fall on the same day as the game.
But having the opportunity to see some of our locals play beyond the high school baseball season is one I can’t recommend too highly.
Plus the game is free of charge, and who couldn’t pass up a game they could watch completely free of admission?
But All-Star games mean different things at different levels. For high school-aged student athletes, it’s an opportunity to showcase skills in front of what could be scouts, managers and coaches of the college or professional ranks.
In the minor league ranks, it’s an accomplishment just to play in the games, as most of the voting is done by die-hard fans that even I couldn’t compare to.
The Major League Baseball All-Star Game is something completely different, however. Since the dreaded 7-7 “tie” that we all remember from 2002, the game now determines home field advantage for the winning league.
This year, the American League will have the advantage, thanks to its 3-0 win.
But the game also can serve as a final stepping stone for players on their way out of the game.
Last night, Mariano Rivera Р considered the best closer in Major League Baseball history Р took to the mound in the eighth inning and shut down the National League for his final appearance in an All-Star Game.
Rivera is retiring after the season, and made the most of his appearance by doing what he’s always done best.
Baseball fans at the stadium showed their respect by giving the athlete a standing ovation, and the players didn’t even take the field for warm-ups, all so he could have the stage to himself.
He later admitted that he almost cried. I was nearly there myself, but I enjoyed the entire game from start to finish and still got to see players from my favorite team get on the field for a just a few innings.
So this Saturday, take a chance to head on over to the American Legion All-Star Game at Spring Mobile. You never know what kind of talent might emerge.
There may even be the next Mariano Rivera in the midst.