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"LET'S PLAY TWO!"
July 6, 2001

by Bill Hogan

 

 
 

Here's your history lesson for the week: From 1959 through 1962, Major League Baseball played two mid-season All-Star "classics". The leagues recognized that the event was so popular with the public, it was in their best interest to play two games. The players approved the decision because the proceeds of the games would go to their retirement fund.

Can you imagine the uproar at the next Players Union meeting if they were subject to the same demands today? Heck, quarter-billionaire A-Rod doesn't even want to participate in the Home Run Derby on Monday.

 
 


With today's escalating salaries, I don't think the added retirement revenue is much incentive any more (in 1959, the great Mickey Mantle "held out" for a $72,000 contract - he played two!). One good day on the NASDAQ would more than compensate the modern ball player's "nest egg".

I say, "LET'S PLAY TWO"!

Then we can put an end to all the "I've been snubbed" rhetoric that is being bantered around the baseball world since the line-ups were announced.

All the "snubbed" players can get together (don't worry, there's enough of them to field two teams), pick their manager and play in the second 2001 All-Star classic.

Play the second game in a ballpark that has never been picked to host an All-Star game (as long as the stadium is not named after some big corporation).

By the way, to all you "snubbed" All-Star hopefuls, I say, wake up! You have a system whereby starters are determined by the outcome of a popularity poll. If they put Willie Mays' name on the 2002 ballot, he would be gracing centerfield next year in OverValuedIPODotCom Park (which will probably be renamed twice by next July).

A personal note to "snubbed" Marlins outfielder Cliff Floyd (.337 B.A., 21 HR's, 69 R'sBI): the reserves are picked by each team's manager. If you wanted to be named to the All-Star team, you shouldn't have called NL manager Bobby Valentine *&%#@ stupid! Even if he is *&%#@ stupid, you should have waited until August to broadcast such revelations. Pissing off the guy that picks the team is, well, *&%#@ stupid.

The only legitimate snub would have been if the retiring Tony Gwynn were not invited to participate in the festivities in some capacity. He was. No snub

* * * * *

Corporate sponsors of the annual mid-summer classic would love the marketing opportunities created by playing two All-Star games each year.

How much would these companies pay into the ball players' retirement fund to gain that kind of double exposure?

You'd have the owners of Network Associates Coliseum, Tropicana Field, Cinergy Field, Coors Field, PNC Park, Busch Stadium, Pacific Bell Park, Enron Field, Pro Player Stadium and Miller Park champing at the bit to be the center of the baseball world for two nights.

Where and when is the over-commercialization of our national pastime going to stop?

This year's game is at SAFECO Field. SAFECO is an Insurance and Financial Institution.

The in-stadium All-Star ballots are brought to you by Claritin (for your seasonal allergy relief).

You can cast your All-Star ballot online courtesy of Radioshack.com or fill one out at your local Kroger Grocery store at the conveniently located Pepsi display.

This year's Home Run Derby (without A-Rod) is presented for your viewing enjoyment by your friends at Century 21.

Where is Microsoft? Bill Gates must be kicking himself for not getting in on this marketing extravaganza.

A second game each season would give competing companies equal time.

The game can be held at Prudential Park. I know, there is no such venue. In time…

You can fill out your in-stadium ballot courtesy of your local Allegra distributor, cast your votes online at NobodyBeatsTheWiz.com or conveniently pick one up the next time you go to Super K-Mart for a six-pack of Coca-Cola.

Maybe you'll even catch A-Rod at the Coldwell Banker Home Run Derby.

LET'S PLAY TWO!

That'll take care of the "snubbed" players, "snubbed" sponsors and "snubbed" ball parks.

Of course, the tried and true fans, waiting diligently in line for affordable tickets will undoubtedly be - you got it - "snubbed".

* * * * *

The game Tuesday marks the sixty-seventh anniversary of one of the greatest achievements in All-Star history.

On July 10, 1934, N.Y. Giant pitcher Carl Hubbell, starting the All-Star game for the National League at the Polo Grounds, struck out Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Jimmie Foxx to end the top of the first inning. He began the second by striking out Al Simmons and Joe Cronin.

Hubble had struck out five of the all-time greatest hitters in baseball. Consecutively.

I bet if Greg Maddox hadn't been "snubbed" this year, he could've done that.

Let's give him the chance.

LET'S PLAY TWO!

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