All-Star Game through the eyes of a Tiger

Kyle Schafer

Issue date: 7/17/07 Section: Sports
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Victor Martinez of the Indians is congratulated by his AL?teammates after his two run home run that put the AL?ahead 5-2

Every year, around this time, as the mercury begins to rise and the pennant races begin to heat up, the world of baseball cools its heels with the annual Midsummer Classic.

This year's All-Star Game - the 78th installment - took place in the City by the Bay, San Francisco. All the pomp and circumstance was brought out for the event. San Francisco Giants Hall of Famer Willie Mays was honored with a special tribute and got to throw out the first pitch. The "Say Hey Kid," believed by many to be the greatest baseball player of all time, is not just a San Francisco Giants legend, but is also Barry Bonds' godfather. Bonds, who was voted in by the fans to play, is (as of press time) five home runs away from becoming the home run king, bypassing "Hammerin'" Hank Aaron, who currently holds the record at 755.

But let's take a step back and look at how our Detroit Tigers played.

The Tigers had three starters. Ivan Rodriguez (C), Placido Polanco (2B) and Magglio Ordóñez (OF) were all voted in by the fans to start the game, thus giving the Tigers the most starting representatives in the game. Not to mention that as the manager of the American League (AL) champions, Tiger Jim Leyland would manage the AL squad, opposite National League (NL) manager of the World Series Champion St. Louis Cardinals, Tony LaRussa. Furthermore, two more Tigers were selected as reserves: Carlos Guillen, who may have backed up Derek Jeter at shortstop, and Justin Verlander, the Tiger pitcher who you may remember a month ago pitched a no-hitter.

Jeremy Bonderman (SP) was almost voted in as the 30th man to the team in the online vote, but was edged out by rookie Red Sox reliever, Hideki Okajima. Hey, that's what happens when you have a whole country voting for you. But, you also can't discount his stellar performance in the first half of this year, with a 0.83 ERA in 43 1/3 innings pitched. Watch out Joel Zumaya, you've got competition. And Okajima doesn't play Guitar Hero.

The festivities kicked off with the Home Run Derby, and Detroit's own Magglio Ordóñez was among the participants. Unfortunately, someone forgot to tell him that doubles don't count, as Mags was only able to sock two dingers. To be fair, Ordóñez is not really a home run hitter more of a doubles man. But, with Gary Sheffield missing the All-Star cut, Magglio is all we had.
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