Jul 14, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; A general view as baseball fans hold up signs representing "stand up to cancer" during the 2014 Home Run Derby the day before the MLB All Star Game at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Series Preview: 2014 MLB All-Star Game from Target Field

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Everyone has their reasons for curling up to watch the 2014 MLB All-Star Game…this time the 85th edition from Target Field in Minnesota. Fred Lynn’s grand slam. Tim Raines flying around the bases. Randy Johnson intimidating every batter stepping to the plate (I am looking at you John Kruk). Pete Rose destroying Ray Fosse’s career. The list goes on and on.

The All Star Game is always revered by some and hated by others. A showcase of the best of the best in each league for supremacy: American or National. But is the game as important as it was when it was started in 1933? Is it as magical as it was when I was a kid or is being allllll growed up just making it seem like a 3 day commercial break from the real season?

These days with interleague play a permanent thing and free agency and deadline trades it doesn’t hold the same allure. You used to wonder how Goose Gossage would do against the Big Red Machine and the only ways to find out were either the World Series or All-Star Game. These days everyone has pretty much seen everyone. There are no more surprises. No more what if match-ups to draw you to the game.

Sure it now holds the distinction of choosing home field advantage of the World Series but that only helps a little. It is still an exhibition and it will always be so. Managers are not going to risk some other guy’s players and the players are not going to go full bore anymore. There will never be another moment like Rose/Fosse…but there for sure will be moments. There always are.

Starting Pitchers

Adam Wainwright, Cardinals: 12-4 1.83 ERA
- WHIP: .091 (2nd in National League)

Felix Hernandez, Mariners: 11-2, 2.12 ERA
- WHIP: .090 (1st in American League)

National League All-Star lineup

1. CF: Andrew McCutchen, Pirates: .324/.420/575
- .995 OPS (2nd in National League)
2. RF: Yasiel Puig, Dodgers: .309/.393/.522
- 7/14 Stolen Bases
3. SS: Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies: .345/.435/.613
- 1st in National in Average, OBP, SLG, OPS, HR
4. 1B: Paul Goldschmidt, D-backs: .308/.400/.549
- 61 RBI (2nd in National League)
5. DH: Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins: .295/.395/.538
- 63 RBI (1st in National League)
6. 3B: Aramis Ramirez, Brewers: .288/.336/.459
- .324 AVG in last 10 games
7. 2B: Chase Utley, Phillies: .293/.349/.445
- Career OPS of .866
8. C: Jonathan Lucroy, Brewers: .315/.385/.494
- 1st in Average, OPS, SLG, OBP amongst all National League Catchers
9. LF: Carlos Gomez, Brewers: .304/.370/.510
- 2nd appearance in the All-Star Game (2013)

American League All-Star Lineup

1. SS: Derek Jeter, Yankees: .272/.324/.322
- 14 time All-Star
2. LF: Mike Trout, Angels: .310/.400/.606
- Only American League Player with OPS over 1 (1.006)
3. 2B: Robinson Cano, Mariners: .334/.393/.462
- 1st in American League 2B in OBP (.393) and OPS (.855)
4. 1B: Miguel Cabrera, Tigers: .306/.364/.534
- Career OPS of .963
5. RF: Jose Bautista, Blue Jays: .292/.409/.502
- 1st in American League with .409 OBP
6. DH: Nelson Cruz, Orioles: .287/.353/.570
- 2nd in American League in HR (28
7. CF: Adam Jones, Orioles: .301/.324/.486
- 3rd All-Star Appearance
8. 3B: Josh Donaldson, A’s: .238/.317/.449
- 2nd lowest fielding percentage amongst AL Third Basemen
9. C: Salvador Perez, Royals: .283/.329/.437
- 1st in American League catchers with .437 SLG

There will never be another moment like Rose/Fosse…but there for sure will be moments. There always are.

Regardless of how the game turns out there will be something to take away from it. The game itself should, in my humble opinion, not be used as it is but rather needs to be taken more seriously by the players themselves and they should hold themselves accountable for not playing the game just as hard as when it counts. Now I don’t want there to be another injury situation but that’s the way things are. There are no guarantees.

The reason the game is not looked upon as a great and wonderful event is that it is treated by some players as an annoyance and the events are no longer mandatory. If the players truly cared about the fan experience they would be in the Home Run Derby and the game itself. The top 25 players should be the only ones who are allowed on the team and every team shouldn’t necessarily be represented.

If you want this game to mean something than treat it like it does. Otherwise, it is just another exhibition match amongst players who really don’t seem to give a rats butt. I look forward to some tight pitching, timely hitting and hopefully something that isn’t 4 hours too dull.

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Tags: MLB All-Star Game