LOS ANGELES — The problem with baseball is that your eyes often betray you. Or at least, you can’t see the whole story. What you see on the ground is not even the tip of the iceberg In a game limited by large sample sizes and unexpected value, understanding must be measured.
It makes the All-Star Game pointless — I mean, it was anyway, and those who thought it was too cool when determining home-field advantage in the World Series knew to keep it less of a game. Even at the individual performance level. Aaron Judge Still the best slugger on the planet despite his passing 0-for-2 with a pair of strikeouts Tuesday night in Los Angeles.
One can try to write about how any given moment sets up a game or season as its ultimate goal, but that’s mostly poetic license. In All-Star, moments are everything. They’re not as big or funny or edgy as they make you out to be at first glance.
Or, put another way: no analysis, only vibrations.
During the month of May Seattle Mariners came through New York, Julio Rodriguez was baseball’s stolen base leader at the timeAlthough described more for power than speed as a prospect.
“There are a lot of guys that somebody else will come in from the outside and say, ‘Oh, you’re a power hitter.’ I feel like I shouldn’t limit myself to whatever you want to be.
He had played about 30 major league games by that point, and declared that he was “getting used to it.”
He has now played in nearly 100 major league games. His 21 stolen bases rank third in baseball and he leads all rookies in bWAR. He was the only one who made the All-Star Game, and the only one who competed Home Run Derby.
The vibes on Tuesday night were hectic, lighthearted, and a little boring in terms of actual baseball. A decent showcase of players’ personalities It felt more natural and less pleading than attempts to prove the game. But in the end, nothing came of it The J-Rod Show from the previous night.
These days, the home run derby is the main event of All-Star week. This is not an indictment of the two events, nor is it because all kinds of people dig the long ball. The derby is for the same reason as other sporting events: the thrill of competition. The inherent flaw in any showcase game is that it makes things feel like a hit — at least for the athletes involved. All-Star prioritizes giving each guy his moment and allows players to deviate a bit for coverage through optimal strategy. And the only real upset came when the end result was that the National League had to score one more to send us into the tiebreaker home run derby.
The real derby, though, is those guys Try. It’s hard not to notice the tension building in a head-to-head match, or marvel at singular displays of strength and endurance.
In terms of pure baseball viewing bliss, Rodriguez — who has 30 career minor league home runs and 16 in the bigs so far this season — threw 32 long balls to kick off the derby, just shy of the top number. All through the night. It was the moment everyone was watching felt Pete Alonso eliminated the two-time reigning champion with a 31 in the semifinals before coming up short against Juan Soto in the final round.
Soto won the Derby — and Rumors surrounding his uncertain future dominated the news cycle — but Rodriguez won the night. (He also beats Soto regularly in “Call of Duty.” “If he says he’s better than me, he’s lying.”)
“What did I show the fans?” Rodriguez reflected after the derby, “I guess who I am. A little bit of my style … I think they know a little bit now.
This is old news now. All-Star Week feats include the Dodger Dogs’ pitchers, the only food available in the press box. But with proper performance, the impression lasts. All the players in L.A. are in for their talent this week, but it’s hard to decide whether Rodriguez’s eyes or smile are more attractive (it’s the saucer-sized diamond-encrusted 4 necklace that shines the brightest).
Julio Rodriguez came in this week as an All-Star and is leaving as one Star Star – This is very rare. We were lucky to see him cement that position early in his career. The 2022 Home Run Derby is just the beginning, but it’s just the beginning.
He will return to the Mariners this weekend Wild card status. The season still has a long way to go as Seattle tries to snap a long postseason drought in games. All the more reason to see what Rodriguez can do.
Even if they come up short, another shot at the national stage awaits another year when the All-Star festivities head to Seattle.
Quite naturally, the chaos of players leaving and clubs boxing up commemorative jerseys has raised questions not just about whether Rodriguez will compete in another derby, but whether he will hit a ball cleanly out of bounds.
“I can try,” he said. “I can try.”
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