I have to start this by mentioning The Onion’s take on the All Star Game. This cracked me up.
Now, on to the Indians – in addition to a recap of Asdrubal Cabrera and Chris Perez’s performances tonight, I decided to discuss a few memorable Indians moments in All Star history. I thought it would be fun to take a look at some of the Indians’ past participants in the Futures Game as well, which is played during the All Star Break. This year’s participants were pitcher Drew Pomeranz (Class A Kinston Indians) and second baseman Jason Kipnis (Class AAA Columbus Clippers).
Cabrera got the opportunity to start in the 2011 All Star Game after Derek Jeter decided to withdraw from the festivities. For as much as I (and countless other Indians fans) wanted to see Cabrera start, he did not really impress this evening (not that 2 at-bats is really an ample opportunity to make a huge impact). Cabrera was 0-2 with a strikeout.
Chris Perez had the opportunity to pitch during the 6th inning and struck out one, and allowed a well-hit double to left field. He left without allowing any additional NL runs to cross the plate (the game was 4-1 in favor of the NL at that point).
There were a couple of injuries this year as well (or at least by the 7th inning when I started writing this). Miguel Cabrera left with a strained left side, and Jeff Weaver appeared to leave with some discomfort as well.
A few memorable All Star moments from the past that involved Cleveland Indians players – (note, “memorable” can be good or bad).
July 14, 1970 – Riverfront Stadium, Cincinnati, OH. Ray Fosse was catching in the 12th inning, when Pete Rose barreled home after a base hit by the Cubs’ Jim Hickman. The relay throw beat Rose, who plowed into Fosse at the plate. Fosse, who suffered a fractured shoulder, dropped the ball during the collision; the National League won the game on the play.
July 8, 1997 – Jacobs Field, Cleveland, OH. The AL and NL were tied at one entering the bottom of the 7th inning, when Sandy Alomar, Jr. hit a 2-run home run to put the AL up 3-1. It would prove the difference in this game, as the AL went on to win by that same score. Alomar was awarded the All Star MVP award, the only Indian to receive that honor since the award started in 1962. (The All Star Game started in 1933). Alomar was the first player to hit a home run at his home stadium since Hank Aaron did it in 1972. Alomar was voted a starter six different times – in 1990, 1991, 1992, 1996, 1997, and 1998.
July 10, 2007 – AT&T Park, San Francisco, CA. Victor Martinez hit a 2-run home run in the top of the 8th inning, which put the AL up 5-2. It would prove to be the difference in this one, since the NL scored 2 in the bottom of the 9th to make the final score AL 5, NL 4. The American League won home field advantage for the World Series from this one, and I kept hoping Victor’s big hit would directly benefit the Indians. Alas, it was not meant to be.
The Futures Game started in 1999 as a way to showcase young talent in teams’ minor league systems. The game is played with a “U.S.” team and a “world” team. This list isn’t comprehensive, but here are some of the Cleveland Indians’ participants in the game over the years, as well as current roster members that played in a Futures Game. The only Futures MVP the Indians had – Grady Sizemore in 2003 for the U.S. team.
1999: Russell Branyan, infielder (U.S.)
2000: Danys Baez, pitcher (world)
2001: Ricardo Rodriguez, pitcher (world) – I’d been wondering what ever happened to Rodriguez; I saw recently that he’s playing in Korea.
2002: Ricardo Rodriguez, pitcher (world), Shin-Soo Choo, outfielder (world), Victor Martinez, catcher (world), Billy Traber, pitcher (U.S.), Brandon Phillips, infielder (U.S.).
2003: Andy Marte, infielder (world)
2004: Andy Marte, infielder (world), Shin-Soo Choo, outfielder (world), Fausto Carmona, pitcher (world)
2005: Fausto Carmona, pitcher (world), Shin-Soo Choo, outfielder (world), Ryan Garko, catcher (U.S.)
2006: Carlos Carrasco, pitcher (world), Adam Miller, pitcher (U.S.)
2007: Carlos Carrasco, pitcher (world)
2008: Carlos Carrasco, pitcher (world), Matt LaPorta, infielder (U.S.), Lou Marson, catcher (U.S.), Jess Todd, pitcher (U.S.), Wes Hodges, infielder (U.S.). I’d been wondering what happened to Wes Hodges recently, he really seemed to fall off the Indians’ radar. I saw that they released him on June 7 of this year.
2009: Carlos Santana, catcher (world), Nick Weglarz, outfielder (world)
2011: Drew Pomeranz, pitcher (U.S.), Jason Kipnis, infielder (U.S.)
I won’t go into everyone’s performance, but I will discuss Pomeranz and Kipnis’s performances during Sunday’s game, which the U.S. team won 6-4. The game was a homecoming of sorts for Kipnis, who played two seasons at Arizona State. He hit a leadoff home run to right field during the first inning as a way of greeting the home crowd. He finished the day 1 for 2.
I should note that Pomeranz may be earning a call-up to Akron in the near future – at Kinston he has a 1.87 ERA in 77 innings and has recorded 95 strikeouts. Opponents are batting .219 off of him. Unfortunately, that performance did not carry over to the Futures Game – Pomeranz gave up all 4 of the world team’s runs in the 6th; pitching for just 2/3 of an inning. Pomeranz allowed 3 hits (including a home run), walked one and struck out one during his short appearance.
Unless there’s some kind of 9th inning meltdown, it looks like the NL may have this one again this year.