Dan's Dugout: 'More than Exhibition Game' • Latino Sports


Dan’s Dugout: ‘More than Exhibition Game’


SAN DIEGO – While the rest of the immediate world was basking in the Southern California sunshine, All-Star managers Terry Collins and Ned Yost were inside trying to make the All-Star Game sound important.

AL manager Ned Yost

AL manager Ned Yost

“I will do whatever I can to get all of our players in,” Yost said at a Monday morning media conference in the Manchester Grand Hyatt. “But our first priority is to win the game.”

The American League manager for the second year in a row, Yost agreed with Collins when asked about the winning league receiving home-field advantage in the World Series.

“I know how important that is,” said Collins in a room crammed with camera equipment. “It’s especially true in a city like New York. We didn’t have home-field advantage last year and it hurt us.”

Often criticized as a publicity stunt by FOX to attract more viewers, home-field advantage actually helps only those All-Stars whose teams reach the World Series. That means it won’t matter to most of the All-Stars.

But pride is at stake, the pilots insisted.

NL pilot Terry Collins

NL pilot Terry Collins

“Managing the All-Star team is one of the biggest honors I’ve had in 45 years of professional baseball,” said Collins, whose New York Mets faced Yost and the Kansas City Royals in the 2015 Fall Classic.

“But it’s also been one of the most difficult. There are guys out there who should have been here.”

Colorado shortstop Trevor Story comes to mind immediately. No previous rookie hit more home runs before the All-Star break but he never got the call after losing a five-way vote for the last spot on the NL roster.

Ditto Ichiro Suzuki, the aging but energetic Marlins outfielder who is within shouting distance of the 3000 Hit Club and has one of the best batting averages in the league.

San Diegi’s status as a huge military town also impacts the game, scheduled for Tuesday at Petco Field. Asked how important it was to win the game for the active and retired military personnel who plan to attend, Yost didn’t hold back.

“Every time I stand out there on those white lines during the National Anthem, I think of their sacrifice,” he said. “They’re the ones putting their lives on the line to protect our freedom – so

Ned Yost answers questions directly

Ned Yost answers questions directly

we can do things like play the All-Star Game.”

Yost, who guided the Kansas City Royals to a five-game World Series win over Collins and the Mets last October, named White Sox lefthander Chris Sale as the American League starter.

With Clayton Kershaw injured, Jake Arrieta slumping, and Madison Bumgarner disqualified because he started Sunday, Collins chose Johnny Cueto, a former Royal now in his first season with the San Francisco Giants. Both have pitched well, although the weak-hitting Atlanta Braves battered Sale for eight runs in five innings in his last outing.

Former Triple Crown winner Frank Robinson will serve as honorary captain for the American League while former Phillies owner Bill Giles will be his National League counterpart.

Star Gazing:

The entire infield of a single team, the Chicago Cubs, will start for the NL — the first time that has happened since the 1964 St. Louis Cardinals did it . . .

Collins bowed the local pressure in anointing San Diego leadoff man Wil Myers his DH and cleanup hitter . . .

Two-time National League MVP Dale Murphy and wife Nancy said hello during an invitation-only All-Star brunch.



About Dan Schlossberg

Former AP sportswriter Dan Schlossberg of Fair Lawn, NJ has produced 35 baseball books, including autobiographies of Ron Blomberg, Al Clark, and Milo Hamilton. Also a broadcaster, he is the host and executive producer of Braves Banter and Travel Itch Radio and a contributor to Sirius XM.

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