the 2011 MLB

Fans unimpressed by watered-down All-Star game.

American League's Alexi Ogando of the Texas Rangers pitches at the MLB All-Star baseball game Tuesday, July 12, 2011, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
American League's Alexi Ogando of the Texas Rangers pitches at the MLB All-Star baseball game Tuesday, July 12, 2011, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

The National League beat the American League 5-1 in the 2011 MLB All-Star game, and that is about as much as some are willing to remember.

“What a waste of two hours and some odd minutes of my life,” said broadcast journalism senior Derek Lewis.

Like many sports fanatics, Lewis decided to watch the All-Star game on Tuesday, but was disappointed by the lack pomp and circumstance. Some of these fans said that this year’s watered-down cast of All-Stars and boring broadcast was not appealing.

“It had three big plays,” Lewis said. “The rest was all fairly boring, undominating pitching that was just good enough to get outs for the National League and some poor defensive efforts that made the game into Keystone Cops at certain points. Plus, several big American League pitchers were out. Several big name players overall were out. Not a good showing from baseball.”

In the American League two players chosen to by the fans — Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez — and four pitchers selected by the players (including three more Yankees), skipped for medical reasons. Jeter, who recently recorded his 3,000th career hit, cited mental and physical exhaustion as the reason for his absence. Rodriguez is currently in on the DL.

In the National League, only one voted starter — Jose Reyes — didn’t suit up Tuesday in Phoenix, but Shane Victorino, who won the final vote over Washington Nationals first baseman Michael Morse, was also out injured.

Though this year’s numbers have not been released, the MLB All-Star game’s ratings have declined consistently over the past decade, with last year’s mid-summer classic boasting the worst ratings ever. Fans who watched but didn’t enjoy this year’s game said the MLB isn’t doing enough to keep the very people that drive the game interested — the fans.

“It was like any other baseball game, which is sad because it’s the All-star game,” said baseball fan Sarang Patel. “A lot of it may be Fox's fault. There was no "fun" appeal. The highlight was Justin Timberlake with his beer near a pool with girls. The NBA All-Star game has all these in-game microphones, celebrity interviews, jokesters, etc. The MLB and Fox couldn't even utilize Brian Wilson correctly.”

Other fans echoed Patel’s sentiment that the MLB has gotten lazy in keeping fans interested, and say other sports offer more exciting draws in the summer sports lull.

“They [MLB] really aren't trying to fight Soccer for this summer market while the NBA and NFL take vacations,” Lewis said.

Brian Wilson is the San Francisco Giants reliever known for his post-game celebrations and hilarious antics.

It may not be fair to compare the two sports’ All-star games, but in terms of ratings, the NBA knows what it’s doing. It puts the game on a weekend and spends an entire week building the event up with funny promotions; Usher crooning about it, and with players who actually want to play in the game. The 2011 NBA All-Star game boasted its highest ratings since 2003, bringing in over 12 million viewers.

Some regular sports fans didn’t even realize the All-Star game was even scheduled for Tuesday night.

“I didn’t even know it happened,” said business senior Saagar Grover, adding that he didn’t mind missing it.

Obviously these dissenting voices don’t represent the voice of every sport and baseball fan. The fact of the matter is that baseball is slowly losing younger viewers to the glitz and glamour of the NBA and NFL. Both those leagues are able to draw viewers to games in which a fan may not even have a vested interested beyond the desire to be entertained. One would have thought that with the other leagues wrapped up in lockouts, baseball would do everything it could to retain and even gain viewers who have nothing else to follow right now. If I were Bud Selig, I would have put in a call into Usher, or maybe Ke$ha.

Not every baseball fan had a bad time. History junior Eli Perez said he preferred the low-key nature of the game, as well as getting the opportunity to see some fresh talent.

“It was exciting to see the next crop of super stars like Starlin Castro and Rickie Weeks come up and playing in the game, but it was really disappointing to not see Derek Jeter out there," Perez said. “Overall it was a fun game to just sit back and relax to. Not every game is going to have hundreds of runs scored. Sometimes they are just a grind which can be equally as enjoyable to watch.”

He may be right. That type of game does appeal to some people, and I certainly tuned in for 90 percent of it. But it wasn’t exciting enough to keep me from flipping back and forth between Fuse’s 100 Sexiest Videos of All-time, and ESPN U’s rerun of last year’s Texas vs. Nebraska football game.

Cincinnati RedsÂ’ Drew Stubbs (6) is tagged out while trying to steal second base in the first inning of a baseball game Friday in Milwaukee.

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

As the first half of the 2011 MLB season comes to a close, it’s time to look at how the former Longhorns in the MLB have done.

Huston Street, CP, Colorado Rockies — Only Atlanta’s Craig Kimbrel has more saves than Street, who has converted 26 of 28 save opportunities this year. Street has cashed in on his last 12 chances to pick up a save, not blowing a save since May 20. He’s enjoying the best season of his career and is likely to break his career high record of 37 saves he set in 2006 with Oakland. Street’s career has been an up-and-down one, and although he’s not an All-Star this year, he has established himself as one of the game’s premier closers.

Drew Stubbs, CF, Cincinnati Reds — In his third season with the Reds, Stubbs has displayed his ability to be a five-tool player, in addition to becoming one of the league’s best center fielders. However, he has shown a propensity toward striking out. On average this season, Stubbs has struck out once every three at-bats and leads the majors with 122 strikeouts. It’s what he does with those other two at-bats that keeps him in the lineup, as he’s banged out 11 home runs and stolen 23 bases while hitting .252.

Sam LeCure, SP/RP, Cincinnati Reds — Stubbs’ teammate in Cincinnati, LeCure has been an outstanding option out of the Reds’ bullpen. He’s made the most of his 19 appearances and 43 innings, posting a 2.72 ERA and a team-leading 0.98 WHIP while even turning in a quality start (six innings pitched, one earned run) April 12 against San Diego.

J.P. Howell, RP, Tampa Bay Rays — Howell had great years in 2008 and 2009, providing solid efforts out of the Tampa Bay bullpen as the Rays advanced to their first World Series in ’08. However, shoulder surgery sidelined Howell for the entire 2010 season, and he has been shaky in his 2011 return, currently possessing a 8.56 ERA.

James Russell, SP/RP, Chicago Cubs — Russell’s 4.60 ERA may not be impressive, but he has shown steady improvement this season. Each month, Russell’s ERA has dropped — from 8.31 in April to 4.58 in May, to 1.64 in June to a spotless 0.00 so far in July. While a couple of Cubs starters were injured, Russell made five spot starts but picked up just one win.

Taylor Teagarden, C, Texas Rangers — Teagarden has only 26 at-bats this season, but has recorded hits in seven of them, good for a .269 batting average. He’s on pace to get only 46 at-bats this season, which would be a career low. Teagarden has spent most of this year in AAA Round Rock, where he’s batting .309 with nine home runs.

Brandon Belt, 1B, San Francisco Giants — A fifth-round pick, Belt became the first member of the Giants’ 2009 draft class to be called up to the big leagues. Belt was San Francisco’s starting first baseman for most of the first month of the season, hitting .211, but hasn’t had a major league plate appearance since May 31. Still, he has shown enough promise to stay on the Giants’ radar and will likely see playing time at the big league level sometime soon. 

Printed on 7/11/2011 as: Stubbs, Street among former Horns making mark on MLB teams