While the All-Star Game no longer holds any sway on home field advantage in the World Series, the game itself will likely invoke some sort of emotion in people. Unfortunately for me, I feel a sense of apathy.
If I could be perfectly honest with you for a second, the All-Star Game does little for me. Don’t get me wrong as I enjoy baseball and the atmosphere surrounding the festivities is cool. Monday’s Home Run Derby definitely had an enjoyable atmosphere. The Future’s Game is always a treat to watch, albeit the event was on a Sunday with regular season action still active.
Alas, the actual Mid-Summer Classic does little for me as there is little incentive to the game itself. The best I’d hope for is a wacky play that defies expectations. Of course, these wacky plays would somehow avoid player injury in my mind. In my opinion, the best part of this year’s All-Star Game will be seeing that the Astros are well-represented for a change. But if you, the reader, enjoy the game, more power to you.
The Astros themselves have a so-so history in the All-Star Game. Sure, the city has hosted three Mid-Summer Classics, so that’s cool. But in terms of player performance in the actual game, there isn’t much distinguish. Maybe this year’s event changes that narrative?
Observation #1: A tidbit about Craig Biggio, Cesar Cedeno, and All-Star home runs
In the Astros’ history dating back to the beginning in 1962, there has been only two home runs hit by Houston players. One was by Cesar Cedeno in the 1976 All-Star Game, and the other by Craig Biggio in the 1995 All-Star Game. Yes, only two home runs in the All-Star Game in the Astros’ history. Not exactly a “fun” fact, but it is definitely something that there are only two. This is a franchise that has seen the likes of Jeff Bagwell, Lance Berkman, Glenn Davis, Jose Altuve, Moises Alou, Morgan Ensberg, Carlos Lee, George Springer, Ken Caminiti, Jeff Kent, Carlos Beltran and Carlos Correa represent the Astros at least once in their career. The lack of home runs by an Astros’ hitter during the Mid-Summer Classic isn’t an earth shattering revelation, but it is definitely a curious point.
Observation #2: Miguel Tejada somehow made TWO All-Star appearances with the Astros
The Astros acquired Tejada before the 2008 season to be the answer at shortstop. The next day he was named in the the Mitchell Report. Quite an introduction to a new team, right? Previous ownership was hopeful for another run to the postseason despite a roster clearly in decline, and Tejada was viewed as a missing piece. And while the Astros further decline was clear during the next two seasons, Tejada actually performed relatively well with a 4.4 fWAR for Houston. While he wasn’t the power hitting shortstop of his early days, Tejada was an All-Star during both of his seasons for the Astros. In fact, he is one of two Astros to have a multi-hit showing in the All-Star Game back in 2008. The other was Bagwell roughly 14 years prior.
Observation #3: Nolan Ryan and another record
Back during the 1985 Mid-Summer Classic, Ryan went three innings in his appearance. He was the first Astros’ pitcher to record at least three innings in a All-Star Game. To this day, he remains the only one in club history. Nine Astros have reached the two inning mark during the event, with the most recent being Dallas Keuchel in 2015. While there isn’t any pitcher expected to throw more than two innings in the All-Star Game nowadays, the fact that Ryan did adds little bit more to his Astros’ legend.
While I do not expect the Astros to do much in this All-Star Game, the odds are definitely on their side to make some noise. If I were a betting man, I would place a wager that Alex Bregman somehow makes his presence known.