All-Star Game Tonight

Todd Frazier won the 2015 Home Run Derby.

Todd Frazier won the 2015 Home Run Derby.

Cincinnati Reds slugger Todd Frazier won the Home Run Derby last night in front of the home crowd.

Frazier, who currently has 25 homers this season, bested Los Angeles Dodgers rookie Joc Pederson in the finals to win the contest.

The field of 8 included two other members of the NL Central, with the Chicago Cubs Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant each losing in the 1st round.

* * * * * * * *

I really can’t wrap my mind around this, but there are 38 members of the National League All-Star team tonight. How can that be? Is my memory faulty? I swear it used to be a pretty standard 25-man roster, not 38.

The NL Central players who I suppose might show up in tonight’s exhibition game:

Chicago Cubs – 1B Anthony Rizzo, 3B Kris Bryant

Cincinnati Reds – 3B Todd Frazier, RP Aroldis Chapman

Milwaukee Brewers – RP Francisco Rodriguez, OF Ryan Braun

Pittsburgh Pirates – OF Andrew McCutchen, SP A.J. Burnett, SP Gerrit Cole, RP Mark Melancon

St. Louis Cardinals – SS Jhonny Peralta, SP Carlos Martinez, RP Trevor Rosenthal, SP Michael Wacha, OF Matt Holliday, C Yadier Molina

The division has four players who are in the starting lineup, with McCutchen leading off in center, Frazier batting 2nd and playing third, Rizzo 6th and acting as the designated hitter, and Peralta batting 7th at short.

There’s a weird part of me that still enjoys the All-Star Game.

I think too much is made of trying to make it mean anything. The idea that it affects World Series home field advantage is ludicrous. Every other sport that has inter-league play as MLB finally does just has home-field advantage going to the team with the better regular season record and there’s no reason for baseball to be any different.

And too much is made of complaints about players just don’t care anymore. They do. They totally do. The season is a grind and I can’t fault players for wanting 3 days off rather than taking part. I think when I was a kid I thought it was kind of weak to ask out of playing. But being a parent, I get it. Being away from my family for over 7 straight months, I think I’d welcome a chance to get 3 days off in the middle of the season.

But at the end of the day, it’s still the best of the four major sports’ mid-season breaks. The NFL is a total after thought. The NBA is a joke. The NHL skills competition is pretty damned fun and I’d love to see baseball come up with something similar to that; the home run derby is only scratching the surface. But the MLB game itself is still pretty entertaining.

Enjoy the game, everybody. We’ve got a heck of a second half coming our way in the NL Central.

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