Coming to you live, from my basement, it's me watching an old VHS tape of the 1994 All Star Game! It'll be a long evening of adjusting the tracking of my VCR, awesomly bad commercials, childhood memories, and, if I play my cards right, tacos. Feel the excitement!
"The city of Pittsburgh is a glitter!" Greg Gumbel's afro tells us as we come back from break. Pan to a picture of Phil Rizzuto and, for some reason, Meatloaf.
Today's All Star Game Death Count: Six. (Rizzuto, Kirby Puckett, Johnny Podres, Ken Caminiti, Los Expos, Rod Beck.) Yet Jim Leyland is still somehow alive.
A graphic which reminds me of the graphics from RBI Baseball informs us that Ken Griffey Jr, Frank Thomas, and Matt Williams are all on pace to sock sixty dingers. Surely there will be an exciting, record breaking second half of Major League Baseball in 1994!
Nobody rocked a teal hat like Griffey.
Frank Thomas had a 383/515/795 line at the break. Yes, that's an OPS of 1.310. Incredible.
Hey—the guy from the annoying Southwest Bank commercials was doing commercials for Goodyear 16 years ago! Good for him!
Wow, camcorders used to be big. And there was once something called "The Cosby Mysteries?" Was it about mysteriously awesome sweaters?
Thoughts from the player introductions: Hey, the worst two-time All Star ever, Scott Cooper! Kenny Lofton was once young. Ricky Bones can not be a real name. The booing of Barry Bonds by the Pittsburgh faithful is great, decade-early foreshadowing. Saint Louis Cardinal Gregg Jefferies is leading off, playing first, in what has to be the first of many All-Star games in his young career. And speaking of Cardinals with many All Star game appearances, it's Ozzie, back-flip and all!
Oh for fucks sake! Joe Morgan is announcing! This has suddenly become a terrible endeavor. At least Bob Uecker is on the booth, spinning yarns.Here are your lineups:
|American League||National League|
|1||Roberto Alomar||Blue Jays||2B||1||Gregg Jefferies||Cardinals||1B|
|2||Wade Boggs||Yankees||3B||2||Tony Gwynn||Padres||CF|
|3||Ken Griffey, Jr.||Mariners||CF||3||Barry Bonds||Giants||LF|
|4||Frank Thomas||White Sox||1B||4||Mike Piazza||Dodgers||C|
|5||Joe Carter||Blue Jays||LF||5||Matt Williams||Giants||3B|
|6||Kirby Puckett||Twins||RF||6||David Justice||Braves||RF|
|7||Cal Ripken, Jr.||Orioles||SS||7||Mariano Duncan||Phillies||2B|
|8||Iván Rodríguez||Rangers||C||8||Ozzie Smith||Cardinals||SS|
|9||Jimmy Key||Yankees||P||9||Greg Maddux||Braves||P|
People used to think Frank Thomas should swing at more balls so he could get more RsBI. His OPS is 1.310. As he drives in Wade Boggs with two on and one out, there is nothing about his 1994 to criticize. People are stupid. Joe Carter lines into a DP (1-3) to end the inning with the American League holding the early edge 1-0.
Gregg Jefferies doubles! The extra g in "Gregg" always confused me. Tony Gwynn (not on steroids) advances the runner to third with a ground out to the right side of the infield (that's a standing O plate appearance at Busch Stadium) and Barry Bonds (not yet on steroids) drives Jefferies in on a sacrifice fly. Get 'em on, get 'em over, get 'em in. National League baseball! The game is tied, 1-1.
Hey a World Cup ad! I bet soccer is going to take off in 1995!
Greg Maddux gets Kirby, Cal, and Pudge out 1-2-3. Jimmy Key gets Matt Williams, David Justice, and Mariano Duncan out 1-2-3. Things have slowed down, and the game's still tied 1-1.
An A Clear and Present Danger trailer. 16 years later, this movie is on at least one HBO channel 24/7.
Maddux works another perfect inning. Best steroids-free pitcher of his generation. Hulk Hogan will be on Leno later. So maybe American culture hasn't just recently gone in the toilet; we've apparently been spinning around in the bowl for 16 years now.
David Cone in to pitch for the AL. Ozzie pops out, young Jeff Bagwell (sans goatee) gets a pinch hit single to left, and Gregg Jefferies gets hit by a pitch. On a Cone "slide-piece" perhaps, thanks Mr. Morgan. Not quite as fat as you remember him, Tony Gwynn drives them both in with a double to right field. Jefferies has a tremendous slide to sneak in with that last run... He might just be the MVP! Barry Bonds losses his handle on the bat while striking out and nearly kills Ozzie Smith. Villain! Piazza drives Gwynn in with a rather effeminate single to left. That mustache isn't fooling anyone, pal. Matt Williams strikes out to end the inning, NL leads 4-1.
Ken Hill on the mound for the NL, and with one out he walks Frank Thomas. Costas's boner is actually visible from the Goodyear blimp as he begins gushing and gushing about him. Joe Carter flies out, Kirby grounds out to end the half. Bob Costas needs a few minutes in the restroom.
Cone retires the first two batters before Ozzie knocks the weakest single ever into right field. Bagwell strikes out to end it and immediately does a cycle of deca.
Gatorade needs to just replay some of their old commercials instead of making new ones.
Hill stays on to pitch; Ripken, Pudge, and Chilli Davis go down in order.
A young Hannah Storm with the terrible haircut every woman had in 1994 interviews David Cone.
Mike Mussina in to pitch, Dante Bichette singles to short left. Gwynn pops out to left, Bob Costas reminds us Andres Galarraga was really good once he left the Cardinals. Bonds goes down swinging (again) and Piazza delicately fouls out to first. NL still up 4-1.
Doug Drabek of the Astros takes to the mound and Bob Alomar singles. Wade Boggs K's looking, Alomar steals second and scores on a Griffey single. Griff was thrown out going for two. Thomas singles and is on for the third time. Costas's boner just took out camera two. Joe Carter grounds to third, Williams takes the short throw to second for the force.... THROWS IT AWAY!!! Frank Thomas very slowly scores and Carter ends up on third. Kirby singles to drive in Carter and we are tied up, 4-4. Drabek is pulled for something called John Hudek. Hudek strikes out Ripken and makes me hungry for Hodak's fried chicken.
This game was pre- so many things: Pre-high speed internet, pre-data ready cell phones, pre-mass fantasy baseball, pre-Michael Jordan's first comeback, pre-The Martin Short Show. What a world we lived in!
The impeccably impecuniously mulleted Randy Johnson takes the ball for the AL. Matt Williams flies out to Ruben Sierra patrolling right field. Marquis Grissom homers to right. Wait... what? Yep, that just happened. Nobody is more surprised than Grissom. The Pirates' Carlos Garcia singles to center and Ozzie Smith misses a homer to left, foul by maybe three feet, before Johnson picks off Garcia. Ozzie grounds out to third to end the inning, National League leading 5-4. Costas makes it sound like they are going to shoot Ozzie after the game.
By the by, Randy Johnson was topping out around 92. Last night, Mitch Boggs was firing 99 mph fastballs. I do not believe radar guns.
John Hodak's fried chicken returns to the bump for the 7th. Pudge Rodriguez singles to start off the inning. Mickey Tettleton, who I assume was ahead of the curve when it came to steroid use, draws a walk and there are two roided up catchers on base for Chuck Knoblauch. Knoblauch hits a grounder to the hole between short and third but Ozzie does his Ozzie thing and absolutely robs Chuck of a hit. The $7.95 half chicken dinner is replaced by Danny Jackson. All Star Scott Cooper (!!) doubles off the left field wall (!!) to drive in Pudge. Lofton gets his first plate appareance and drives in two with a single through a drawn in infield.
Things are quickly spiraling out of control for the senior circuit. Will Clark, six years prior to being the best late season addition in Saint Louis Cardinals history, singles to center. Ozzie is double switched out and put out to stud while Rod Beck takes the ball from Danny Jackson, who I assume did not get laid that night. Albert Belle and Rod Beck meet up in a battle of crazy on crazy. Lofton and Clark complete a double steal after Piazza is caught staring dreamily into Ricky Bones's eyes. Belle reaches on a fielders choice to short, Lofton is out at the plate. Ruben Sierra, who is immortal, pops out to second to end the inning. After another three run inning, the AL leads, 7-5.
Pat Hentgen comes in to throw the bottom of the seventh and promptly gives up a single to the freshly cycled Jeff Bagwell. Wil Cordero grounds into a double play. In a Joe Morgan-patented asinine moment, Joe assures us the ball jumps better of Cordero's bat than anyone in the game, which is an amazingly ridiculous statement ever, let alone in a game where three of the players participating have thirty or more homers at the All Star break. Gwynn grounds out to first to end the inning.
Ripken gets a leadoff double off of Beck. Yes, that's right, there are still starters in the game in the 8th inning. Pudge flies out to center, bringing up Paul O'Neil, not quite yet Seinfled-famous. O'Neil pops out to the short stop and declares about the new cotton uniforms used for the All Star game, "'I never dreamed anything could be so soft and fluffy." Beck strikes out Knoblauch to end the inning.
Childhood hero Wilson Alvarez takes to the hill for the AL and gets Barry Bonds to fly out to center. Piazza grounds out 4-3 and Ken Caminitti flies out to left. An inning left at Three Rivers, American League still leads, 7-5.
Randy Myers comes in to face Cooper who, more in his fashion than doubling off the wall, grounds out to second. Lofton loses his bat while striking out and Will Clark beats out an infield single, which sounds impossible. Albert Belle flies out to right to end the inning, before murdering someone.
Big Lee Smith comes in for the save and faces Grissom, fresh off his improbable dinger. Grissom works a long plate appearance into a walk, bringing the tying run to the plate in Craig Biggio. Biggio works another extended at bat before grounding into a fielders choice, 5-4, and not the last time in his MLB career that Biggio will hang around a little too long. Fred McGriff steps into the box as yet another tying run and he TIES IT UP WITH A HOMER TO LEFT!!! As much as I love Lee Smith, it's important to remember he made seemingly every game he pitched in really interesting. (My favorite Lee Smith quote, after being asked what he thought of the fans booing him after a blown save: "I'd boo me, too."). Bagwell comes with a chance to win it but gets robbed on a grounder up the middle by Knoblauch. And so it comes down, as it so often does, to Wil Cordero. And he grounds out to third.
Doug Jones takes the ball, beard, mullet, and all. Sierra singles to right before Ripken strikes out. Pudge singles to right, bringing up Travis Fryman with two on and one out. Fryman flies out to right and Sierra advances to third. Knoblauch comes up looking to be the hero, but instead strikes out on three pitches.
An ad for ER, "beginning this fall", is odd to see.
It's Jason Bere! Forgot about that guy! He faces Gwynn to start the inning and gives up a single to center. Moises Alou doubles to deep left and THERE'S A PLAY AT THE PLATE... SAFE! GWYNN BEATS THE TAG!
And just like that, it's over. The National League's six year losing streak is done, and we are all sure there will never be a streak like that again. Fred McGriff is your All-Star Game MVP and we head into the second half of the summer of 1994, a summer that will surely not destroy my childhood and make me bitter and jaded for the rest of my life.
Wait... what happens?!?