Wow. This was one of the more fun All-Star weeks I can remember. But it was kind of exhausting? At least we got a couple more days to rest up. Let’s hit the highlights.
Before the game, there was a moving tribute to the late Henry Aaron.
Outstanding tribute to the great Hank Aaron ahead of the All Star Game pic.twitter.com/V6kpnIWjx7— Jared Christopher (@JaredLChris) July 14, 2021
Rockies fans gave huge ovations to Nolan Arenado throughout the game. Hey, maybe one day we’ll get to do the same for Longo?
In the All-Star Game itself, Kevin Cash guided the AL stars to a 5-2 victory over the NL. The Rays contingent of Zunino, Wendle, and Kittredge all contributed in key ways.
Mike Zunino stretched the AL lead to 5-1 in the sixth with an extra large oppo taco.
106.6 mph, 31 degrees, 433 feet. Wow. He went 1 for 2 on the night and made several nice plays behind the dish, including this fun ... um ... relay throw? Willy would be proud.
How bout this? Mike Zunino gets a lucky bounce off the backstop to gun down Omar Narvaez pic.twitter.com/vERbLor7PE— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) July 14, 2021
With the lead at 5-2, Kitt got the seventh and worked a clean frame. Quite a ways from the Rainforest Café.
#Rays reliever Andrew Kittredge was having dinner with his family at the Rainforest Cafe at Disney on Monday, now he’s flying to Denver to be part of the AL team for tonight’s All-Star Game https://t.co/RbJxO9FwXt— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) July 13, 2021
Joey Wendle also entered in the seventh to man third base. Joey did Joey things in the field and at the plate, making a nice grab behind Kitt and later singling to left center. He also made a nice snag of liner when things were starting to get away from Matt Barnes.
All in all, a good night for the boys from St. Pete.
“To get a home run, Joey get a hit and catch Kittredge, this was pretty special.”— Tricia Whitaker (@TriciaWhitaker) July 14, 2021
1-on-1 with Mike Zunino after the AL win & getting a HR in his first all star game. What fun. pic.twitter.com/eR4M197Z2E
Topper on Kevin Cash managing the All-Star game.
In non-Rays news, ASG MVP Vladdy Jr. destroyed a baseball. He also had an RBI groundout.
OH MY WORD VLAD JR.— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) July 14, 2021
He just destroyed that ball.
Tatis Jr's reaction He knew it was gone right away. pic.twitter.com/wLMff6XJZb
There were a lot of mostly good mic’d up segments, including Fernando Tatis and Freddie Freeman. But for the ninth, someone made the inexplicable decision to mic up Liam Hendriks. And it was everything we could have hoped for.
Liam Hendriks saying more bad words. pic.twitter.com/FEHhdyg0l9— Major League GIFs (@MajorLeagueGIFs) July 14, 2021
At one point, Zunino tried to remind Hendriks that he was mic’d up. Hendriks blew him off.
zunino telling him that he's mic'd up is like when your friend tells you you don't need that last drink and hendriks waiving him off is you telling the bartender it's a double— Chork (@cdgoldstein) July 14, 2021
If you missed the game, here’s a good collection of highlights.
But of course, this week was about more than the ASG. There was the Futures Game and the celebrity softball game over the weekend. Then on Monday, Tampa’s own Pete Alonso won the Home Run Derby...again.
Get this man a boat parade!
While the actual Derby was one of the most compelling ever, ESPN’s broadcast of it was widely panned.
Here’s a good collection of the highlights.
Brett Phillips was not added to the All-Star team, but he was in Denver.
Yes that is #Rays OF Brett Phillips you saw on your TV during All-Star Home Run Derby. He will be hosting on MLB’s Instagram account, and launching a Baseball Is Fun t-shirt line pic.twitter.com/3IS2PubXMs— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) July 13, 2021
Kevin Cash on how he was allowed to use Ohtani in the game. It was something he says he “begged” MLB to let him do. Good on MLB for doing the right thing for a change.
AL All-Star team manager Kevin Cash on how he’s allowed to use Shohei Ohtani as two different players (starting pitcher and designated hitter) for the All-Star game. pic.twitter.com/oB0HUjpTiu— Brent Maguire (@bmags94) July 12, 2021
In a shocking development, Rob Manfred was right twice on the same day! On Monday, he announced that MLB would commit $150 million to create opportunities for Black communities in baseball.
And a third time! What is happening???
Manfred expects the seven-inning doubleheaders and runner at second to expire with these season, suggesting that there would however be “non-radical changes.”— Derrick S. Goold (@dgoold) July 13, 2021
Asked if the DH in the NL now qualified as “a non-radical change,” he said:
Kind of lost in the All-Star and Derby hype was the Major League draft. We’ve got a ton of good stuff on the site already that I encourage all of you to read so you can impress your friends and family. But if you want a summary, Topper does a nice job.
In non-Rays draft news, the Angels made some interesting choices:
The Angels had 20 draft picks.— B/R Walk-Off (@BRWalkoff) July 13, 2021
The Angels drafted 20 pitchers. pic.twitter.com/tjAIGIhMuf
I hope this kid gets to the Show so I can buy a Pirates Sharts jersey. And if there’s any justice in the world, he’ll wear #2.
Noted shouter of dumb opinions Stephen A. Smith shouted something dumb about Shohei Ohtani and then apologized for it the next day. I didn’t actually watch either segment and don’t intend on linking to it, but I feel pretty secure in saying that it was perfect for a Castellanos meme. Y’all know how to Google if you really want to watch it.
In other Champa Bay news, the Lightning had a very successful if kinda wet boat parade on Monday, celebrating their Stanley Cup victory. Unfortunately, the Cup sustained some minor damage and was shipped off to Montreal for repairs. But don’t freak out too much: The Cup has a long history of needing repair (along with some other weirdness).
Hearts are breaking everywhere as Rays legend Rocco Baldelli is getting married.
The Rays still have a couple more days to rest up before things kick off in earnest. Let’s float!
This is Chewie. She is 16 years old, and paraplegic due to a neurological deficit. Her favorite thing to do is float. Her second favorite thing to do is take a nap while she floats. 14/10 #SeniorPupSaturday pic.twitter.com/JL3ioDgS4H— WeRateDogs® (@dog_rates) July 10, 2021
Things get going again on Friday, when the Rays travel to Atlanta to kick off a three game set.