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July 14, 2009

Now that THAT'S over...the Main Event

Call me a chick, but I dig the long ball and I was really looking forward to the Home Run Derby.

Seriously…I was.

But even after an incredibly lackluster Derby (I’ll admit it, some Prince Fielder’s bombs were insane, but Brandon Inge…c’mon, man, I hit zero home runs at Busch last night), it is important to remember that as exciting as the sideshow is, the game itself is the main attraction.

This year, a record SEVENTY ONE players were selected to represent their teams in the Mid-Season Classic.

Some say it is “too many”, others say “not enough”. Should each team be represented…should “this one count”?

I can’t answer any of those.

One thing is for certain, being selected to the game is a thrill and recently I had the opportunity to get the thoughts of three former All-Stars…Ed Herrmann, Ron Kittle and Jeff Montgomery.

HOVG: Combined you were selected to handful of All-Star Games, each in very different stadiums and each with very different results. What was your greatest thrill?

JM: I really enjoyed the Home Run Derby at all of the games. My favorite experience was in Baltimore in 1993 because of the new stadium and the other festivities that took place in the Inner Harbor area.

EH: Unfortunately I was unable to make the trip to the 1974 All-Star Game because I was on crutches at that time of the year.

RK: My greatest thrill was, first, being chosen and second, playing in my home park with family and friends there.

HOVG: What is the climate like in the clubhouse…any good stories?

RK: Most of the players were with their families, so it was get dressed, sign about 25 dozen baseballs and enjoy. It was fun, not many stories…lots of rushing to do this or that.

JM: The clubhouse was very loose. I’ll never forget when Kirby Puckett put Al Gore on the spot during his visit around the clubhouse with Tipper and asked why the new administration had implemented a new surtax on the wealthy. Kirby informed him that it cost him an extra half million dollars that year alone. Al Gore was speechless.

HOVG: Ron, you dug in against Pascual Perez and Lee Smith in your lone appearance…was there anyone in particular that you had hoped you could have faced?

RK: No just looking to play and get a chance to hit. Lee Smith struck me out at 103 mph...I swung for the roof and had fun.

HOVG: Jeff, you appeared in three games…is it better to be selected as the lone representative of the team or go there alongside others?

JM: It is better to go with others, whether it be another player or someone from the organization named to the staff.

HOVG: Since the 2002 tie, the Classic is billed as "this one counts"...should it?

JM: I think most players take great pride in representing themselves, their team, and their league regardless of the stakes so I don’t think it makes much difference that it “counts” for something now.
RK: For home field advantage only.

EH: I feel the All-Star Game should be the game it was designed to be….entertainment for the spectators. Winning it should have no bearing on who is considered the home league for the World Series. I feel you should alternate each year…National, American, etc. etc.

Ed Herrmann played eleven seasons in the bigs and was selected to appear in the 1974 All-Star Game. Unfortunately, an injury kept him from making the mid-season trip to Pittsburgh. Since leaving the game, “Hoggy” has worked as a scout, tutor, coach and a manager of youth teams ranging in age from 13 through college.

Ron Kittle made the most out of his rookie season in 1983 by appearing in the All-Star Game (which was played at his home field, Comiskey Park), setting a White Sox record for home runs as a rookie and taking home the Rookie of the Year Award. Now…Kittle can be found riding his Harley, given motivational speeches and hand crafting benches. Check out his work at

Jeff Montgomery played thirteen seasons in the Majors…twelve of them with the Kansas City Royals. He is a three time All-Star, a member of the Kansas City Royals Hall of Fame and their all-time leader in games pitched, games finished and saves. “Monty” resides in the Kansas City area and lends his expertise to Sports Radio 810 WHB-AM.

Since there isn’t a parade leading up to the game like there was last year (did someone mention the “last season at Yankee Stadium"?), I will not be watching the All-Star Game in real time.

No, seriously, I won’t be watching the game live as I’ll be attending the Frontier League All-Star festivities. And since I can’t avoid the endless tweets, text messages and emails regarding the outcome of game…the phone will be turned off.

And one final note…did you catch good friend of The Hall Gar “Batting Stance Guy” Ryness on The Late Show? If not, it was an instant classic.

You can watch Gar HERE.

BallHype: hype it up!


Dan said...

Nice job, man. Definitely too man all stars though. It should be the elite players of the game: 71 is too many.

JP said...

I agree...71 is too many. And pluuuuhhhhleeeezzzee do away with this silly notion that the winning league determines WS Home Field Advantage.

If you want to determine that, then have a "Grab Your Crotch & Spit" contest!