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Ken Levine Headshot

Hey Now, You're an All-Star

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It's time once again for the big mid-summer's classic -- the All-Star game, held this year in historic Yankee Stadium soon to be torn down because they can't jam enough luxury boxes into it.

To make the game fair they just start by giving the hapless the National League a 3-0 lead.

Now that the All-Star game COUNTS I notice a much greater intensity on the part of the Seattle Mariner and Pittsburgh Pirate players for that coveted home field advantage in the World Series.

What good is the home run derby when elite power hitters like Alex Rodriguez decline to participate? Come on, Madonna, let him play.

Best home run derby moment was a few years ago when Barry Bonds stepped up to the plate and the Astros bullpen catcher signaled for an intentional walk.

Does anybody in their right mind keep score of an All-Star game?

The All-Star game is the only time a member of the Texas Rangers is ever on national television.

A number of ace reporters have blasted the fans for voting in Boston catcher Jason Varitek who's hitting only .220. That's fine except he's a reserve so players voted him in not the fans.

Only one player played in All-Star games every year of his career. Answer below. Hint: It's not Coco Crisp or Choo Choo Coleman or Hee Sop Choi.

Here's what I'd REALLY like to see in an All-Star game -- a benches clearing brawl. Would guys get suspended from future All-Star games? Would Yankees and Red Sox start wailing on each other even though they're on the same team?

Remember the year Lou Whitaker forgot to pack his uniform? He had to buy a jersey from a concession stand and he wrote his number on the back with a Sharpie.

NL manager Clint Hurdle did not name Joe Torre to his coaching staff so the former pinstripe manager won't be returning to Yankee Stadium for one last time. And he couldn't be more thrilled.

Josh Groban will sing "God Bless America" and Sheryl Crow will attempt the national anthem.

When the Indians decided to trade C.C. Sabathia there was a huge frenzy. He was like a Snickers Bar in a fat farm. Anyone notice that he didn't make the All-Star squad? Same with Rich Harden.

Another question: Had Sabathia been selected, which team would he play for? He was with Cleveland in the American League and now is with Milwaukee in the National League. Harden went from the American League A's to the National League Cubs.

This exact situation happened a few years ago. Carlos Beltran was voted into the starting line up of the AL as an outfielder of the Royals. Between then and the game he was traded to the Astros in the NL. Originally he was told he just couldn't play in the game at all (that'll show him for getting traded!) but when Ken Griffey Jr. bowed out due to injury he was allowed to take his spot on the NL roster.

At least there's defense in a baseball All-Star game. Were it played like its NBA counterpart (or in Colorado) the final score would be 69-58.

The bunt sign is the third base coach yelling "bunt"!!

If you're a relief pitcher and you're not a closer you've got no shot. Several have better statistics than the glory guys who got in. Sorry to say it but "Chicks dig the long ball, not middle relief".

And Fox analyst, Steve Lyons on my KABC radio show recently felt that there should be a spot for utility players. That'll happen the day they give Tonys to understudies.

Fun betting pool: Which player will get seriously stabbed by a broken maple bat?

Kevin Youkilis is Jewish. Ian Kinsler and Ryan Braun are both half Jewish. So there are two Jews in the All-Star game. And then there's Alex Rodriguez studying the Kabbalah.

More people watch the Home Run Derby than divisional playoff games (this is true).

I like the fact that every team has to have at least one representative to the All-Star game. That way viewers can say, "Hey, Kansas City is still in the league!"

There is one Los Angeles Dodger but three Tampa Bay Rays on the rosters. As it should be.

Now that you can vote online from anywhere in the world I bet American Idol David Cook got more votes for centerfield than Andruw Jones.

Joe DiMaggio is the only player to have played in All-Star games every year of his career.

The All-Star Game is a lot like the Academy Awards. It never lives up to the hype, you don't recognize half the stars, and it's usually too long, but every year you gotta be there. See you next summer in St. Louis.

You can read more from Ken at kenlevine.blogspot.com .