LOS ANGELES — Major League Baseball took over Los Angeles in so many ways last week that the prospect can be hard to pull off. I asked Clayton Kershaw what he thinks will remember the most in 10 years.
“That my 2-year-old son is a maniac,” Kershaw said. “Trying to contest it for the Home Run Derby, I think I’ve never been so tired as I was (Monday) night.”
There were so many moments to choose from – planned and unplanned – that it’s hard to know where to start. Perhaps the lasting conclusion is the volume itself. The nine innings that made up the real all-star game felt like a series of side shows, rather than the main act. If it wasn’t for me to write about it, I might have already forgotten the final score.
So here are some contenders at the moment who are most worth keeping in mind:
1. Mookie Betts with a mic and a platform
Betts stood on the court just before Tuesday’s game at a ceremony honoring Rachel Robinson’s 100th birthday. Oscar-winning actor Denzel Washington started the ceremony, then broadcaster-turned-host Joe Davis gave Mookie a shot, who said a few words ending with “Happy Birthday.”
“It was beautiful,” said teammate Trea Turner. “I give Mookie a lot of respect. I know he was probably a little nervous about it, especially after a great speech from Denzel.
Betts said he finalized plans for the Robinson tribute with MLB representatives a day in advance. He did not coordinate with MLB on the T-shirt he wore to batting practice, which read “We need more black people in the stadium.”
That one, Betts said, evoked a sense of responsibility he didn’t always feel for being an advocate for representation: “I used to walk away. Now I think it’s my responsibility. Someone has to take this property.
2. Representation in the project
Betts would have been heartened to watch the first round of the MLB draft on Sunday. Four of the first five players chosen were black: Druw Jones (second overall), Kumar Rocker (third), Termarr Johnson (fourth) and Elijah Green (fifth).
All four are alumni of the DREAM Series, a diversity-focused development program offered by USA Baseball and MLB. Five other black players were drafted before the end of the first round. Within this group of nine, three are sons of former major leaguers: Jones, Justin Crawford and Cam Collier.
Seeing more black players on the field and more black fans in the seats are mostly separate causes. The Hustle website reported Wednesday that the average cost to attend an MLB game for a family of four is $204.76 to $265.93 at Dodger Stadium. Reducing this number would be a good starting point.
3. Kershaw vs. Ohtani
It wasn’t the launch match that many were hoping for. It might have been better.
Ohtani struck first for the American League in the All-Star Game on Tuesday, giving up his pitching opportunity. Before we begin, Ohtani gave a short interview to Fox Sports’ Tom Verducci on the court. It was his first in a meaningful context without the presence of an interpreter. He didn’t play shy.
“First pitch, full swing,” Ohtani said. “That’s it.”
Kershaw heard that — it played over the Dodger Stadium PA system — but didn’t change his plans.
“You can’t throw the first pitch of an All-Star Game like a breaking pitch,” Kershaw said. “He had to be given a heater there, just for everything. You had to.
Ohtani singled, but Kershaw had the last laugh, dashing to first base to successfully knock out Ohtani before the next at-bat was over. It was the game’s signature moment, shared by two of its signature stars, completely organic and wonderfully unscripted.
“It was all Clayton,” said Willson Contreras, the Chicago Cubs wide receiver who started for the National League. “He’s a player, he’s a competitor. He’s nothing but business. A lot of players play this game just for fun. I’ve seen Clayton pitch with scouting reports. That’s why this guy is a Hall of Famer He’s nothing but business and competition when he takes the mound.
4. Logistic nightmares
It could have been worse.
After threatening to strike, concession workers represented by UNITE HERE Local 11 announced “substantial progress in our contract negotiations” on Friday, allowing the Futures Game, Home Run Derby and All-Star Game to go ahead without inconvenience. major for the fans.
Or so it seemed.
Anyone who’s seen a sold-out game at Dodger Stadium knows the hassle of pulling into parking lots, waiting in lines, and fighting for elbows in crowded lobbies and stairways. Now imagine the additional logistical hassles presented by the All-Star Game.
I happened to be walking down a flight of stairs when the personnel involved in the pre-match color presentation appeared behind me. We were all forced into a dense crowd of fans – barely able to move as they were – as the flags slowly descended five flights of stairs.
Prior to its latest round of renovations, Dodger Stadium used the area behind the center field fence as a staging area for such presentations. It is now a children’s play area. There are other “backstage areas” where groups like flag bearers can congregate, but there is no private tunnel to get them quickly onto the pitch.
The same goes for the media. MLB said it issued about 3,000 credentials for the week. When Fox commentator David Ortiz tried to make his way from the first to the seventh floor midgame on Tuesday, one of the elevators behind home plate parked on the first floor until he arrived, blocking anyone waiting for a turn on the other levels. . Then, upon exiting the elevator, a security guard guided Ortiz through another dense group of fans. Some of those issues look likely to repeat themselves if and when the Dodgers put together a playoff game.
All of this got me thinking that maybe less is more. Fewer events. Fewer All-Stars; more than one player has made the squad for 10 roster spots. Fewer IDs.
I don’t volunteer for mine, but 3,000 seems like a lot to me.