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Why baseball's All-Star Game is the best


Why baseball's All-Star Game is the best

The best argument for the superiority of the baseball’s All-Star Game was presented on Sunday night, nearly five months before the actual event and four days before the beginning of spring training.

That was the NBA’s All-Star Game. The NBA, NHL and NFL have their all-star games within a three week period, and though I’ve long since given up watching the Pro Bowl, I can assert with confidence that baseball’s All-Star Game most replicates the actual sport.

The Pro Bowl and NHL All-Star Game have changed their formats radically so that they don’t have any resemblance to their sport. So many NFL players declined the trip to Hawaii that Derek Carr and Tyrod Taylor were two of the six quarterbacks.

Of course, the NFL now plays it a week ahead of the Super Bowl eliminating the best players from the best teams.

In Dec. 1983, the Detroit Pistons beat the Denver Nuggets 186-184 in a triple overtime game, the most points ever scored in an NBA games.

Sunday night’s travesty featured the West scoring an unfathomable 196 points when it outscored the East’s 173.

The NBA is my second favorite sport, and I have long argued its superiority over college basketball. I’ve insisted to people that the defense played in the NBA is intense, and it’s just that the offense is so good.

Last night, the defense wasn’t there. It was as if we had a July All-Star Game where the American League beat the National League 32-29.

Do you think that would be much fun?


Only six times in 86 All-Star Games has a team scored more 10 or more runs, and despite the offensive explosion in the late 90’s and early this decade, never have more than 13 runs been scored.

Fortunately for fans of the Cleveland Cavaliers, home court advantage for the NBA Finals wasn’t at stake.

There are plenty of things I’d like to see fixed in baseball’s All-Star Game. Perhaps try the World vs. U.S. in a game. Maybe during World Baseball Classic years play the semifinal and final in lieu of the All-Star Game.

I’d like to return to a time when starting pitchers actually went three innings so that Clayton Kershaw could face every American League starter, and with 15 teams, we don’t need 33 players on a roster. It seems silly to insist that every team have a representative.

In the All-Star Game, pitchers try to get batters out, and fielders try to make excellent plays. One of the most memorable of all All-Star Game plays was Pete Rose bowling over Ray Fosse in the 1970 game.

That might not happen today, but it was an indication that the players cared.

These days, many players leave the dugout and the stadium before the end of the game, and the postgame handshake line isn’t very long.

MLB has changed with the times just like the NBA. The Home Run hitting contest is baseball’s version of the Slam Dunk show, and last year it was tightened up and improved.

But once the game comes, defense usually dominates. The two leagues haven’t combined to score more than 10 runs since 2005.

And, there are the Kobe Bryant-like farewells. Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter were greeted warmly by the fans and their peers in 2013 and 2014.

I’m not forgetting the 2001 debacle when the managers ran out of pitchers after 11 innings. If pitchers threw multiple innings, that wouldn’t happen.

In 2008, the game lasted 15 innings and six pitchers threw multiple innings. That worked out.

When there were league presidents, they often gave pep talks to their teams, telling them that the game mattered—and that was years before home field advantage was at stake.

A year from now, NBA commissioner Adam Silver might encourage some defense. Dunks and 3-point shots are great, but not constantly.

The All-Star Game has lots of intrigue. For weeks prior to the team’s announcement, fans vote and try to devise their own team. That’s much better than the NBA version where you know that LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry and Russell Westbrook will make up four of the 24 spots.

Mike Trout is now a certainty to play in the game, but can you say with confidence that Andrew McCutchen and Josh Donaldson are sure things to be voted in?

Next February, I’m sure I’ll watch the NBA All-Star Game as spring training prepares to start, and I’ll hope it can be more like baseball’s.

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Indians' 14-hit victory hands Orioles 8th loss in 9 games


Indians' 14-hit victory hands Orioles 8th loss in 9 games

BALTIMORE — The Cleveland Indians figured it would only be a matter of time before their struggling offense provided some support to a solid starting rotation.

Jose Ramirez and the rest of the batting order finally got into a groove Sunday, and the result was a 14-hit attack that carried Corey Kluber and the Indians past the Baltimore Orioles 7-3.

Cleveland came into the game with a .211 team batting average and ranked second-to-last in the AL in runs scored. On this day, however, Ramirez hit a solo shot in the fourth inning and a two-run drive in the ninth, and Yan Gomes had three hits to lift his batting average 41 points to .261.

"When things are not going my way, I stay positive and work it," Ramirez said through a translator. "I know eventually I'm going to break out."

Ramirez has three homers in two games and a team-leading seven for the season.

"I try not to do too much," Ramirez said. "I just look for a good pitch and then I hit it somewhere."


Kluber yielded two home runs to Manny Machado, but the Indians twice came from behind before tacking on three runs in the ninth.

"I thought we did a pretty good job," manager Terry Francona said. "When they came back, we came back at them. We kept pushing and took some better swings."

Kluber (3-1) allowed three runs and six hits over seven-plus innings. The reigning AL Cy Young Award winner walked none and struck out four to move past Charles Nagy into sixth place on the Indians' career strikeout list with 1,238.

"It doesn't matter if you feel you pitched well or didn't pitch well. The goal is to end the game with more runs they do," Kluber said. "That's what we did."

Machado's third multihomer game of the season wasn't enough to prevent the Orioles from losing for the ninth time in 10 games, a skid that has dropped them 10 games under .500 (6-16).

"You know what? There's no excuse for what's happening," Machado said. "We need to play better overall. Nobody is in here pointing fingers. We are in here together, and we are going to ride or die together."

Andrew Cashner (1-3) gave up four runs and eight hits in six innings, walking two and striking out seven. He's 0-3 with 7.41 ERA in three lifetime appearances against the Indians.

After Machado connected in the first inning, Cleveland went up 2-1 in the fourth when Edwin Encarnacion and Yonder Alonso hit successive doubles following a leadoff homer by Ramirez.

Baltimore regained the lead in the bottom half. After Machado homered, Adam Jones doubled and scored on a single by Chris Davis.

A pair of walks and run-scoring singles by Francisco Lindor and Michael Brantley put the Indians up 4-3 in the fifth.

"Once you get the lead, you can't give it up," Cashner lamented.


Indians: CF Bradley Zimmer was a late scratch with a mild right ankle sprain. He was replaced by Rajai Davis.

Orioles: LF Trey Mancini missed a second straight game with a swollen right knee. ... DH Mark Trumbo (strained right quad) will begin a three-game stint with Double-A Bowie on Monday, then play three games with Triple-A Norfolk later in the week, manager Buck Showalter said. He won't be rushed to return. "It's important we get it right the first time," Showalter said.


Indians right-hander Josh Tomlin threw a side session Saturday and is expected to start Tuesday against the Cubs. Francona opted to skip Tomlin's last scheduled start Wednesday to reset the rotation after Cleveland had two straight games postponed last weekend.


Indians: Carlos Carrasco (3-0, 3.48 ERA) starts the series finale Monday night. The right-hander is 9-0 with a 1.75 ERA over his past 11 starts since Aug. 27.

Orioles: RHP Kevin Gausman (1-1, 5.57) makes his fifth start of the season after allowing 27 hits -- including six homers -- over 21 innings.


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Orioles bats stay silent against Cleveland

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Orioles bats stay silent against Cleveland

BALTIMORE -- Mike Clevenger pitched a two-hitter in his first career complete game, and the Cleveland Indians hit three solo homers off Chris Tillman in a 4-0 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Saturday.

Jose Ramirez went 3 for 4 with his team-leading fifth home run. Yan Gomes and Yonder Alonso also went deep for Cleveland, which came into the game ranked second-to-last in the AL in runs and last in batting average.

Clevenger (2-0) hardly needed the offensive support. Pitching on seven days' rest, the right-hander struck out three, walked two and allowed only one runner past first base.

The only two hits he allowed were singles by Manny Machado in the fourth inning and Chance Sisco in the fifth.

It was Clevenger's 35th career start. His previous longest outing was 7 1/3 innings, earlier this month against Kansas City.

While Clevenger is unbeaten in 11 starts since July 31, Tillman has experienced an opposite fate. This was his 22nd straight start without a victory, dating back to his first outing last season.

Tillman (0-4) gave up four runs, eight hits and a walk in six innings. The three home runs were one more than he yielded in his first three starts this season.

Michael Brantley hit a run-scoring groundout in the first inning and Gomes connected in the fourth for a 2-0 lead.

The Orioles put runners on the corners with one out in the fourth, their lone threat against Clevenger, who responded by retiring Tim Beckham on a short fly to left and getting Anthony Santander to ground out.

Ramirez led off the sixth with a drive to left, and Alonso hit a two-out shot that landed on Eutaw Street beyond the right-field scoreboard.