Lead Story - 2/12/2022
ASG15 Was Minnesota Nice!
** SPOILER ALERT ** If you'd like to watch the game first - DO NOT READ THIS **
Ben Rortvedt isn't even in the league yet, but he was certainly part of the ASG15 show!
(You can see the box score and watch the game in its entirety by clicking on the links in the "Message Center" on the League Home Page)
The Twin Cities of Minneapolis-St. Paul hosted the AYL’s 15th All-Star Game on Sunday afternoon. Minnesota native, and former Twin Dave Winfield threw out the ceremonial first pitch. Pre-game festivities included a montage of some of Billy Martin’s best arguments/ejections, which the fans appreciated very much. Newly-acquired real-life Yankee Ben Rortvedt showed off his muscular frame during a pre-game exhibition, first hitting homer after homer in a home-run hitting contest between himself and Gary Sanchez, who he was traded for in real life. Rortvedt won the contest 14 home runs to 9. Rortvedt then further displayed his musculature by treating the fans to a weight-lifting demonstration. The crowd seemed impressed with his curls, squats, and deadlifts. However, while trying to bench-press two fairly overweight local Minnesota politicians who were seated on special seats welded to the barbell, Rortvedt cried out in pain. His injury is not yet known, but he will likely need some more time on the IR before making his real-life debut with the Yankees.
The National League has dominated the AYL Mid-Summer Classic, winning 10 of the first 14 contests, including the last two, so the A.L. was determined to force a different result on home turf.
The home team certainly started out well, with starting pitcher Sam McDowell of the Indians throwing two dominant innings, striking out 4 of the 7 men he faced, keeping the N.L. hitless through two, and giving up only a walk to Johnny Blanchard.
Meanwhile, the A.L.’s offense got off to a quick start in the first inning. Robinson Cano led off the game with a double, moved to 3rd base on a groundout by Chili Davis, and then scored the game’s first run on a wild pitch by N.L. starter Al Downing of the Dodgers.
Pitchers on both sides dominated over the next few innings, with the A.L. hurlers keeping the N.L. batters hitless through 4, while the N.L. pitchers did allow a hit in each of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th frames, but didn’t allow the A.L. to add to their lead.
In the 5th inning, the National League got on the board. Bill Dickey led off with a single, moving to 3rd on a double by Darryl Strawberry. Catfish Hunter continued to struggle as he walked the next two batters, Andy Kosco and Troy Tulowitzki, scoring Dickey to tie the game. That was it for Hunter, as Anthony Swarzak came in with the bases still loaded and nobody out. Swarzak gave up a sacrifice fly to Red Rolfe to give the N.L. a 2-1 lead, but escaped further damage by retiring Steve Sax on a shallow fly ball and then striking out Ike Davis to end the threat.
The A.L. bats remained quiet for the next few innings while the visitors added a run in the top of the 7th on a home run off the bat of pinch-hitter Paul O’Neill, giving the N.L. a 3-1 lead.
During the 7th inning stretch, “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” was sung poorly by AYL Twins’ owner MaaPearson. Ben Rortvedt, seated nearby with his right arm in a sling, couldn’t stand the sound, and made his way over to where Pearson was piercing the air with his off-key notes, ripped the microphone out of Maa’s hand, and crushed it into fine dust with his bare left hand. While disintegrating the microphone, Rortvedt winced in pain. Doctors haven’t confirmed, but it is thought that he cut his middle finger. It should be fine in a couple of weeks, ready for his real-life Yankees debut. (I know you’re all wondering why I’m spending so much time on an unknown rookie who hasn’t even appeared in pinstripes yet, but I’m predicting that he has a great career for the Yanks filled with many home runs and many injuries, and you’ll all look back on this write-up with fond memories recalling that the Commish really did get it right in his ASG15 prediction. We shall see.)
In the top of the 8th, it would become a 4-1 lead. Gary Sheffield singled to lead off the inning. Two outs later, Strawberry would single, followed by walks to O’Neill and Phil Rizzuto.
Reggie Jackson would draw the home team closer in the bottom of the 8th with a long home run that brought the fans to their feet, but that would be as close as the A.L. would get. Unfortunately, Reggie’s home run ball hit Ben Rortvedt squarely on top of his head. Rortvedt was rushed to the Mayo Clinic for head X-rays but they showed nothing.
Dave Righetti came in for the 9th inning and did give up a two-out double to Kenny Lofton to bring the tying run to the plate, but Kevin Maas grounded out to end the contest, giving the N.L. yet another victory in what is becoming a lopsided series. They now lead the overall series 11 to 4 and have won 3 straight. The game's MVP award went to Darryl Strawberry who went 2-4 and had two key hits in N.L. rallies to help secure the victory. Congrats, Darryl.
Next season's mid-summer classic will be hosted by the Pirates in Pittsburgh.
The game was simmed and managed by me, your friendly Commish, using my All-Time Twins League Sandbox.
Good luck in the 2nd Half everyone!