The aftermath of 2014 MLB All-Star Game certainly provided the media, in all its forms, with a rich field of questions and topics on which to chew. They included such things as, “Who will be the next one to get what has become known as, the “Jeter” treatment?” as well as “Who, in fact, will be the next Derek Jeter?” The various conversations included some praise, but much criticism of Fox’s coverage. There was also a great deal of speculation as to who will be, now that “The Captain” is calling it a career, the “new face” of baseball. The Game itself, and all that surrounded it, I believe, demonstrated why the All-Star Game should be treated strictly as an “exhibition”, with nothing more at stake then bragging rights. Well, since my opinion is as meaningless as anyone else’s, I’m now going to share my thoughts, such as they are, with you.
I have to think that if anyone gets a special send off at an All Star game in the next few years, that it will be David Ortiz. That being said, I’m not going to bet the ranch on it. For one thing I doubt that he would ever concede that his career was coming to an end soon enough to do a “Farewell Tour”. In addition, I’m sure that there are many out there that are offended by his being painted with the PED brush, using that to exclude him from such an honor, while still others find him too opinionated. That’s too bad, because the way he preformed, in pressure situations for over a decade, leading his team to three World Championships, is something that may not be duplicated in this day and age.
Which leads me to why I think we may have seen the last of Jeter’s kind. Probably the most obvious point to be made is that there just are not many athletes who can stay relatively healthy for such as extended period of time, while maintaining a high level of performance at one of the most visible positions in sports, and do it in one of the two or three most pressurized markets in sports. Also, a young star in this era is far less likely to commit to an organization, but is rather inclined to “test the waters”, and with deep pockets turning up on the West Coast, leave to follow the money. A large part of what made Jeter’s achievements special, as with Mariano Rivera, was that he did it with one franchise. That’s just far less likely to happen again.
As for the Fox coverage team of Joe Buck, Harold Reynolds, Tom Verducci, and Erin Andrews; all I can say is- Verducci’s good. Seriously, Buck isn’t as good as his Dad, but he’s professional enough. Andrews proved a long time ago that she’s just a pretty face, and I think the same can be said for Reynolds. (Why does this man keep getting hired? He brings nothing to the table and does it in an unappealing way.) I have no problem with the way Fox honored Jeter, but I think they embarrassed themselves with their failure to pay tribute to those who recently passed away, such as Tony Gwynn and Don Zimmer.
As for the “new face” of baseball; there’s not going to be one. Notice I said “one”. The day when just one player represents baseball to even casual fans is likely done. With all the social media, as well as multiple sports networks, a variety of faces will come to represent their sport. Young guys like Mike Trout and Yasiel Puig may come to dominate the game and the media, but only if they can stay healthy, which I do have some doubts about. Maybe basketball can be dominated by a single face in Lebron James, but baseball will see multiple faces leading the way.
Finally, home field advantage in the World Series should go to the league that wins inter-league play. That seems far more logical then having it come down to a single game where the teams, as good as they may individually be, are essentially thrown together.
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