Close your eyes (not really; that makes it hard to read). The date is July 7, 1998. Seinfeld just went off the air, Armageddon is crushing it at the box office, and the Denver Broncos have just one Super Bowl victory.
OK, now that you are calibrated, welcome to the night of July 7, 1998 just after the conclusion of the All-Star game...please enjoy this recap!
★ ★ ★
As the lights turn out at Coors Field, we can close the book on the highest scoring All-Star game of all time and return our focus to the greatest threat to our society: Y2K. The computers will soon be our overlords, but for now, we have the great human heroes showing us the power of hard work, dedication, and nothing else (certainly not any chemicals or hormones of any kind). Players such as Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Alex Rodríguez, Rafael Palmeiro, and Roger Clemens have displayed just what a human body is capable of if you train hard enough, and they will surely be enshrined in the Hall of Fame.
Beanie Baby madness ruled the day as fans were treated to a giveaway of a limited edition All-Star themed Beanie Baby. Beanie Babies are all the rage and, as far as collectables go, this should be a hot item for many years to come. The $500 price that they are selling for on Blake Street will undoubtedly continue to climb as the years pass. Apropos of nothing, I feel the need to open a buy-and-sell video game retailer. Maybe I’ll call it Game Stop.
Rules and stats that will always be paramount to the sport
American League starting right fielder Juan González entered the game with 101 RBI and looks to be the greatest threat ever to Hack Wilson’s record of 191 set in 1930. González naturally recorded an RBI tonight on a sac fly to center field in the winning effort of the AL team. RBI, of course, is the most important stat as it displays just how productive a hitter is when his teammates are in scoring position and shows how many runs a particular hitter produces. As we know, “analytics” prove that the team with the most runs wins the game.
Relief pitcher (for tonight anyways) Tom Glavine laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt in the fourth inning, setting up Tony Gwynn for a two-run single. This once again showed the excitement and strategy of the National League game as the fans were treated to watching a pitcher take a plate appearance instead of a pinch hitter that wasn’t even good enough to be voted a starter. Clearly, the NL will never adopt the designated hitter and it seems more likely that the AL will eventually get rid of the crazy DH rule.
Seattle Mariners poised to succeed
American League starting shortstop Alex Rodríguez went 2-for-3 with a homer, coming through on the big stage. Rodríguez was asked last month what a dream date with him would be and he responded, “Jennifer Lopez. Hopefully you can find me a date with her.” Unfortunately for Rodríguez, Lopez reportedly has her eye on rapper Puff Daddy, a person who has no future or earning potential unless he changes his name to something less ridiculous. Poor A-Rod doesn’t stand a chance, but keep swinging for the fences, big guy!
Ken Griffey Jr. started the game in center field for the AL after leading the league in fan votes. Fresh off his Home Run Derby win, Griffey went 2-for-3 tonight, and combined with Rodríguez and ace Randy Johnson, Seattle should remain near the top of the standings for many years to come.
Predicting the future for 40/40 man
Starting NL left fielder Barry Bonds, who hit the lone NL home run, was seen noticing sluggers Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa. He seemed to sneer when seeing the cheers they received and one could see the wheels turning in his head as he plotted out a plan and I, for one, will predict that he will be hitting the weight room hard in an effort to increase his power over the next seven or eight years. He might even consider asking McGwire (0-for-2) for workout advice as he tries to increase his power numbers and fan popularity.
Larry Walker represented the only starter for the host team, coming off an MVP season in 1997. He started in center field and went 0-for-1 with a walk. While Walker is having a good season, he is definitely overshadowed by the power hitters surrounding him at the game and will need to produce more home runs if he ever stands a chance at even sniffing the Hall of Fame.
Vinny Castilla came off the bench to go 0-for-2 tonight but is coming off consecutive seasons with identical stat lines in the most important statistics with a .304 average, 40 HR, and 113 RBI. He seems poised to best those marks in 1998.
Dante Bichette (0-for-2) was the other representative of the Rockies and was seen during batting practice throwing soft toss to his four month-old son, Bo, who shows a promising swing for his age. Craig Biggio’s three year-old son, Cavan, reportedly approached the youngster about a play date.
Former Rockies and current Atlanta Braves first baseman Andrés Galarraga was met with cheers as the Colorado faithful lamented letting the former batting champion go for unproven rookie Todd Helton. It seems that perhaps the Rockies brass gave up on Galarraga a little prematurely and the diehards at Coors Field will be left hoping that Helton can come close to filling the shoes left by the Big Cat.
The starting shortstop for the National League was former Colorado Rockies shortstop Walt Weiss, appearing as a member of the Atlanta Braves. Weiss went 2-for-3 and displayed a knowledge of the game and leadership that will undoubtedly lend itself to becoming a great manager when his playing career comes to an end.
All in all, this game displayed just how different the game is at Coors Field with all these sluggers smashing the ball out of the park for — checks notes — THREE home runs. It is a fun sideshow, but there should not be a team playing at this elevation. The Rockies will never have a quality pitcher and will never appear in a World Series.
But we will always have Beanie Babies.