The NL wins MLB All-Star Game for the first time in almost a Decade
The anticipation was high as the American League aimed to extend its impressive winning streak at the All-Star Game with favorable MLB Lines. Having emerged victorious in the past nine matchups, the Junior Circuit appeared poised to secure yet another triumph. With Bo Bichette’s sixth-inning sacrifice fly putting them ahead and a bullpen stacked with dominant arms, the American League seemed to be just moments away from sealing the win.
However, Colorado Rockies catcher Elias Diaz had other plans. In a stunning turn of events, he launched an unlikely two-run home run off Felix Bautista in the top of the eighth inning. This was particularly remarkable considering Bautista had only given up three home runs in 42 innings throughout the season. Diaz’s homer shifted the momentum, giving the National League the lead. Josh Hader delivered a solid performance in the eighth inning, and Craig Kimbrel managed to escape a precarious situation in the bottom of the ninth, securing a 3-2 victory for the Senior Circuit.
Diaz’s game-changing home run not only secured the win but also earned him the title of All-Star Game MVP, making him the first Rockie to receive this honor and only the sixth catcher in history to do so. The ninth inning proved to be a tense battle for both teams. The National League threatened to extend their lead against Pablo Lopez, with Juan Soto delivering a scorching base hit and Nick Castellanos adding a single, placing NL runners on second and first. However, Diaz failed to replicate his earlier heroics, striking out to end the threat.
The American League didn’t go down without a fight and kept MLB Odds interesting. In the bottom of the ninth, they posed a challenge for NL closer Craig Kimbrel. With two outs, Kyle Tucker drew a walk, setting the stage for local hero Julio Rodriguez as the potential winning run. Rodriguez displayed patience at the plate, earning a full-count walk against Kimbrel and bringing Cleveland Guardians star Jose Ramirez to the plate. However, Kimbrel managed to induce a chase on a high fastball, stranding the tying run just 180 feet away and ending the NL’s losing streak.
Both teams got off to an early start in the scoring department. Yandy Diaz ignited the American League with a solo home run off Pittsburgh Pirates starter Mitch Keller in the second inning, granting the AL an early lead. Nevertheless, the National League retaliated two innings later when Luis Arraez delivered an RBI single, tying the game. Impressively, Arraez managed to achieve this feat with just two pitches seen throughout the game, resulting in two hits.
Following Bichette’s sacrifice fly in the top of the sixth, the NL appeared to respond swiftly as Lourdes Gurriel Jr. launched a deep fly to left field, initially ruled as a home run. However, after an official review, the homer was overturned. Gurriel eventually reached base on a swinging bunt but was left stranded in a scoreless top of the seventh before Diaz’s game-winning home run in the following inning.
The National League’s victory officially narrowed the gap in the overall record, bringing it to 47-43-2 in favor of the American League.
Is it still the best All-Star Game in sports?
The 2023 MLB All-Star Game took center stage on Tuesday, delivering an eventful spectacle that showcased the brilliance of transcendent talent and concluded on a high note. However, the game’s ratings didn’t mirror its excitement.
This season’s Midsummer Classic recorded a record-low 3.9 rating and attracted an average of 7.01 million viewers, marking a 7% decline compared to last year’s already-record-low numbers of 4.21 and 7.51 million viewers. The MLB All-Star Game has now set record-low ratings in every but 2 of their past 7 editions, only 2017 and 2020 didn’t suffer this fate.
The MLB All-Star Game stands out among its counterparts as the one All-Star Game that truly works, given its unique dynamics. The NFL’s Pro Bowl has struggled for decades due to concerns over player safety, as the game inherently carries risks whenever players step onto the field. On the other hand, NBA and NHL All-Star Games often lacked defensive efforts and incentives to compete at a high level. While all three leagues have attempted to tweak their formats—with the NFL eventually abandoning the game altogether—the results in terms of ratings have been underwhelming.
MLB has never encountered those same issues because pitching an extra inning isn’t a significant burden for pitchers and often aligns with their regular throwing routines (as evidenced by American League starter Gerrit Cole referring to his outing as “a lot of adrenaline for a bullpen day”), and hitters strive to avoid strikeouts, while pitchers aim to prevent home runs on the grand stage of a national broadcast.
Historically, the MLB All-Star Game has consistently provided the best competition among All-Star Games. However, this double-edged sword presents a challenge for the league when it deems the ratings unacceptable. Although adjustments can be made, any major changes run the risk of diminishing a game that carries more authenticity and credibility than its counterparts.
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred may attempt to address the situation, but significant alterations to the game’s format could potentially undermine its value. It’s crucial to tread carefully, as the true problem lies not within the game itself but in the ever-changing landscape of viewer preferences and consumption patterns.