For only the second time in history Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles will host the Mid-Summer Classic, Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game. The last time the game was held in Chavez Ravine was 1980. The Dodgers hosted the Mid-Summer Classic in Ebbets Field, Brooklyn, in 1949.
The Dodgers were set to host the game in 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic hit and that changed just about everything around the world.
We will see several Dodgers representing the host franchise: pitchers Clayton Kershaw, Tyler Anderson and Tony Gonsolin, who is making his first All-Star appearance, along with outfielder Mookie Betts, shortstop Trea Turner and first baseman Freddie Freeman who will be a reserve.
More history will be made Tuesday evening. The Contreras Brothers will start the ASG for the National League; Wilson as the starting catcher and William taking over as the designated hitter, due to Bryce Harper’s thumb injury.
Also, each league will have a legacy selection, an outstanding veteran who will finish his career after this season. For the American League it will be the Detroit Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera. For the National League it will be Albert Pujols.
Another bit of history: Angels star pitcher and DH Shohei Ohtani will start the game as a starting pitcher and designated hitter. It’s easy to make the argument that Ohtani is the greatest player in the game. Until the Japanese star came along, his teammate, outfielder Mike Trout was considered the best player in the game. Due to back spasms Trout won’t be appearing at the All-Star Game.
Tonight we can watch the biggest display of power in sports, the T-Mobile Home Run Derby. This year’s power hitters are former Dodger Corey Seager of the Texas Rangers, facing Julio Rodrigues of the Seattle Mariners. Then it’s Juan Soto of the Washington Nationals against Jose Ramirez of the Cleveland Guardians. Pete Alonso of the Mets is looking to three-peat as the Derby champ. To do so he will have to face Ronald Acuña, Jr. of the Atlanta Braves.
The final pairing will pit Kyle Schwarber of the Philadelphia Phillies against St. Louis Cardinals great, Albert Pujols.
There will be a lot of sentiment pulling for Pujols, who will retire when the Cards’ season is over. Only four other players have more career home runs than Pujols: Barry Bonds (762), Henry Aaron (755), Babe Ruth (714) and Alex Rodriguez (696). Currently Pujols has 685 to go with his 3,333 career hits.
There’s no debate: Albert Pujols, who played for the Dodgers last season after the Angels released him, is one of baseball’s all-time greatest players. His name belongs in the same discussion of the greats as Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, Joe DiMaggio, Lou Gehrig, Willie Mays, Stan Musial, Roberto Clemente, Greg Maddux, Sandy Koufax and Mickey Mantle.
Albert Pujols will be a first ballot Hall-of-Fame inductee, once he becomes eligible. Tonight and Tuesday night Americans will have a rare opportunity to see one of the game’s all-time greats compete in the Home Run Derby and the All-Star Game.
Baseball fans will be in for a couple of great nights, from Dodger Stadium.
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UPDATE: National League manager Brian Snitker has selected Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw as the NL All-Star starter for the game. Snitker could have chosen any one of the other starters going to the game and made the “right” choice, including one of the best in the game this season, Dodger starter Tony Gonsolin, but the Braves manager showed us how much he respects Kershaw and his body of work over the past 15 seasons.
Tampa Bat Rays ace Shane McClanahan will start for the American League.
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