Garlic Fries…

…aka All-Star Game flavor.

I took a bunch of pictures today and was all set to put up a photo gallery of sights from the All-Star Game. Good stuff, too — a hot-air balloon, the Goodyear blimp, Bonds taking BP, a view from the press box and lots more. Then I couldn’t get my camera to sync up via USB with my laptop. So you’ll have to wait until I can get home and do it on my home computer. Ah well. That’ll be something to post while I’m not in Philly.

Anyway, it really has been a fun day. Tuesday is the best day of the week for those of us covering the events, because it’s the one day when there’s not much going on during the day. You can get out and wander a bit.

I think my favorite sight of the day was a father and son walking up O’Farrell Street, right outside my hotel, this morning. Dad was in a gray flannel Sandy Koufax Dodgers jersey — No. 32, no name, very sharp. Kid was in a shiny new white No. 9 Dodgers jersey, for Juan Pierre, but with his own name on it. I’m sure they got a few looks walking around San Francisco in Dodger stuff, but it was really cool. Gets right at all the corny stuff that I love about baseball.

Today is a fun day for the players, too. They’re all signing stuff for each other, trading stuff, hanging out and having a good time. It’s neat to see guys who aren’t teammates completely hit it off — Ben Sheets and Roy Oswalt were giving each other a hard time like they’d been playing on the same team together for 10 years. Team photos are today, and of course BP on the field, which all the fans dig.

The game starts in an hour or so, and no matter what anyone says, it’s still one of my favorite events of the year. If you grew up loving baseball — and heaven knows I did — you have tons of cool All-Star memories, and it’s an absolute privilege to be here. As I wrote yesterday, wish you all could be here, and I hope you all get to go when it’s in StL.

-M.

24 Comments

“The game starts in an hour or so, and no matter what anyone says, it’s still one of my favorite events of the year.” Well, yeah, you can say that, given where you’re watching it from. Don’t get me wrong, Matthew, I’m not hostile to you being in that auxiliary press box; you certainly deserve it. But truthfully, would you be enjoying the thing so much if your only access was via a Fox broadcast? Those guys are TERRIBLE. Probably the worst broadcasting job I’ve ever seen in a major-league game, and that’s going some.

Actually, that IS my only access. No view of the field down here. So, yeah. Love the game no matter who’s calling it — but I hear you, for sure…

-M.

Why no Pujols in the ninth inning of the all-star game?

Stick around. Story to come.
-M.

I just burned my copy of 3 Nights in August…TLR can leave for Cincy any time he wants…

maybe that was a little harsh, but if he is the best player you have ever managed, how do you leave him on the bench?

Hard to watch ex-Cardinal (Haren) play and current Cardinal “held back.” LaRussa is disappointed Pujols does not understand? How about all the baseball fans who are disappointed? Nice job LaRussa – now you can use your charm with Rolen and Pujols!

COUNTERPOINT

You might need Pujols later. WHO CARES?! Do you really want Aaron Rowand (no disrespect intended) up there with the sacks jammed, two outs, and one run behind.

Sure, he is a good hitter. Franky was wild. But send up Pujols, who even in an off year is a better clutch hitter that Rowand.

He makes an out, game over. He gets a hit, probably game over. Sure, a walk, hbp, infield hit, one base error, wild pitch, past ball and the game may go into extra innings.

I repeat: WHO CARES?! Cope with it. I root for the NL. I still say it is so hard to watch the game end with Albert never getting a chance.

OK, that was a counterpoint. I can see some of the reasoning for keeping him out. This underscores a point, that the game is flawed. How about this:

Have a rule that if the game goes past nine, three position players can re-enter the game if needed. Then you would have to hold back only a pitcher. Why not? The game is unique, with the manager forced to try to win, while getting everybody in the game.

But remember, Albert has never hit well at AT&T Park, and in his only career AB against K-Rod, he did just that, struck out. So I would rather have AP used to win a game for the Cards than the NL All-Star Team.

can you imagine Stan Musial, WIllie Mays, Hank Aaron, or Joe Dimaggio not being used in an all star game. To me not letting Albert in the game is equivalent. Albert has earned the right to an appearance. In addition, if the game is supposed to be for the fans, what would have been more exciting than having Albert, who is recognized as one of the best hitters in the game up in the key bottom of the ninth situation. Not only did it not make sense, but it was an insult to Albert. It was also an insult to all cardinal fans, who were probably the only fans that did not have a player make an appearance in the game. Shame on Tony. It is time for him to hang it up.

I really dont have anything productive to add here but… that situation screams for Albert. It’s like Gotham throwing up the Bat Signal and no batman shows up. Send in Puljos and que the mighty mouse theme. It would have been the prefect ending for the Allstar game. We would be either talking about how Puljos saves the day. Or how Rodriguez lost his control in the 9th only to get it back just in time to get the most feared hitter in the NL out.

OK, we all agree (Matt?) that LaRussa blew it, the baseball logic is just flawed… tntn2001 is exactly right, no matter what the batter does (the bases were, as I recall, loaded) the game was going to be over after that at-bat… what is more upsetting to me, and I’ve said this before, is that he made no attempt to communicate with Albert before, during or after the game… that his public comments were “If Albert doesn’t like it, he can lump it.” My lord, who does he think he is? Someone please tell me that being described as a “genius” hasn’t gone to the man’s head. It just reminds me again and again and again of not starting Ozzie when he clearly out-played Clayton in Spring Training, the constant reification of lefty-vs-lefty, pitching-change after pitching-change after pitching-change, the failure to give Rolen a heads-up in the play-offs last year and similar events earlier this year. Can’t wait ’til he does the same to Carpenter.

To reiterate what everyone else has said, not in so many words, Tony LaRussa really really screwed the fans out of what should have been a memorable All-Star game ending. Instead we are left to think about what could have been. What might have happened had the NL manager not been out-thinking himself again. I’m sorry to say this, M, cause I know you don’t like it, but THAT was a HUGE bonehead move (or non-move). Come on. No amount of excuses he comes up with makes it ok to leave out one of the best hitters in the game! To rob the fans of the oppurtunity to see a match-up like that, with the game on the line, well that’s an atrocity. I will be glad to see this supposed “genius” move on. He has been doing this to Cardinal fans during the season as well. Making seemingly inexplicable moves that don’t work, then he defends himself to the media using some obscure baseball stat, and they all buy into it and write it. I’m sick of it. Bring on Joe Girardi. Now THAT MAN is a geniuos. He holds an engineering degree from Northwestern and is obviously a very smart baseball mind.

It appears I managed to mis-spell Pujols twice in one post. It is truely a typo. I know I did it twice. But it honestly was a typo. Sorry. Im just slightly embarrassed.

“If he wants to get upset, he can get upset,” La Russa said. “Whatever he wants to do, he can do. It’s America. That wasn’t the most important thing tonight.” Nice, the old “it’s a free country” slap in the face…

“If Albert doesn’t understand that, I’m surprised and disappointed. It isn’t that tough a thing.” Nice, the old “you’d think he was smart enough to understand the game” slap in the face…

I explained his role to him before the game.” Nice, but, somehow, I also allowed him to (or had none of my staff be sure to tell that he went off to) warm up in the third, seventh, and ninth thinking he might be given the opportunity to make a difference…

“Who’s the most versatile guy not playing? It’s Albert. It isn’t even that tough. He’ll figure it out sooner or later.” Nice, but just make sure you understand that I wouldn’t want to be part of working it out with him because having an upset superstar or two around is good for my team in the second half…

Could this mean that TLR might get the boot? He seems to slowly get a lot of players mad at him, like Rolen for last year’s playoffs and now Albert.

It might be TLR’s time to go, and I’m sure that Walt will take it under some consideration for the latest incident.

I’m not upset that Pujols did not play in the all-star game, however, I’m upset about TRL comments after the game such as, “If Albert doesn’t understand that, I’m surprised and disappointed.” It isn’t that tough a thing. I explained his role to him before the game.”
“Who’s the most versatile guy not playing? It’s Albert. It isn’t even that tough. He’ll figure it out sooner or later.” Pujols also did not seem very happy about not playing and said he was not told that he would not play… now I ask all Cards fans who do you believe. TRL will not win in the court of public opinion vs. AP. AP is not Scott Rolen, who was batting .100 in the playoffs, until he was benched and the change was the best for the team; which made it hard to argue with TRL’s decision regarding Rolen. But now it will be interesting to see how the AP vs. TRL story plays out.

“Be careful — with quotations, you can **** anything.” (Andre Malraux)

One thing I have learned through my own dealings with the press — and nothing personal here, Matthew, I think you’ll agree with me — is that if you are interviewed at length, you set yourself up to be quoted at length, but selectively. Someone who wants to make you sound argumentative, insensitive, naive, bigoted, or you-name-it *will* be able to find something you said that reinforces that, if you talk long enough. And that’s what I suspect happened here.

Look. Of course AP was unhappy about not playing; that’s what he was there for, and competitors want to compete. But I think he’s also smart enough to be able to say — whether he actually said it or not — “I’m willing to sit on the bench whether I like it or not, if it helps us win.” Similarly, TLR doesn’t like being second-guessed; that’s what managers are for, to make decisions. And *he* is smart enough to say — again, whether he did so in public or not — “I didn’t intend any disrespect, Albert is absolutely my go-to guy when a CARDINALS game is on the line because I won’t have to manage in a way that creates this kind of problem.”

Let’s not jump to conclusions here. I’d want to know how the whole interaction played out on both sides before getting too concerned, and let’s face it, we’re not gonna get the whole story when reportage that implies a problem is so much more intriguing — and promises the reporter so many more opportunities to get fun quotes as the participants try to extract feet from their mouths that the reporter put there.

bebpjohn, I’ve been misquoted in the press as well and, to be make matters worse, one of the (unattributed) Assoc Press stories started by calling Pujols a whiner… which was oh-so-polite of them. However, TLR never did much to repair his relationship with Ozzie, apparently hasn’t done much to repair things with Rolen (who only really asked to be given a heads up — who could argue about his lack of success to that point, or the success of the move), and we can only hope he does something (publicly or privately) to patch things up with Pujols (who stressed that no one [read: his manager or the managers staff] talked to him during the game. The key for me has been the failure to keep his players in the loop when it would be easy to do so and the refusal to take responsibility for that failure… LaRussa’s buddy Jim Leyland is regularly appreciated here in MI for his regular communications with his players… and the straight-shooting way he tells them where they stand — Dmitri didn’t like it but Leyland told it like it was and to his face in private before anything went public.

I agree with the opinions expressed, it was a major disappointment that Pujols did not play, especially in the 9th in a spot that seemed tailor-made for him. If he had batted and not come through, or batted and tied it up and the NL lost in extra innings, we could say we gave it our all. Now all we can think about is what could have been, and now another riff in the team dynamics.

I would really hope that AP and TLR are both big enough to forget this one little incident that had nothing really to do with the cardinals and move on in their lives.

In stltoday.com, Pujols is doing his part to insist the whole thing was overblown.

So, Wellmeyer’s on the DL and Eckstein is back and Edmonds is feeling well enough to travel with the team on this road trip in anticipation of is return… but, while I learned this an hour or more ago from ESPN, there’s no story on the Cardinals MLB page… no slap at Matt, a press release would do, it just seems to me that the Cards play everything inordinately close to the vest and have done so for quite some time (I never see the Cards’ transactions in the paper…)

In a magazine that I read it said in the second half as follows, “After making strides in the bullpen, RHP Kip Wells has moved back to the rotations. But RHP Chris Carpenter is expected back soon and RHP Todd Wellemeyer, who was bumped to the ‘pen, has been solid as a starter. The team has options if Wells reverts to previous form.” This straight out of the mouth of Mr. Matthew Leach himself. =D And when did Wellemeyer get injured?

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