Two teams and 30 uniforms. 400-foot home runs and 100-mile per hour fastballs. The sport’s greatest hitter facing its leading pitcher. Baseball’s best, all in one ballpark, for the 89th MLB All-Star Game.
In the heart of our nation’s capital, a crowd of 44,000 at Nationals Park was treated on Tuesday evening to an unprecedented display of baseball power between the American and National Leagues.
The two teams combined to put 10 balls over the fence — an All-Star Game record— but the game was no mere home run derby. On the pitching side, the power was just as evident, with a remarkable 10 out of the 18 pitchers dialing their fastballs up to 98 mph.
Both the batting and pitching statistics pointed to a continuation of Major League Baseball’s most recent trend: a reversion toward old-school baseball’s “three true outcomes” of home run, walk, and strikeout. This year’s game featured (along with the home runs) nine walks and 25 strikeouts.
But Tuesday night’s action was more than just a numbers game. The all-stars also brought to Washington a brand of baseball both energetic and relaxed. Players live-tweeted and streamed video from the dugout. Outfielders chatted with broadcasters through in-ear microphones. A couple players even took selfies at second base.
The contest itself lived up to its billing. Though the American League enjoyed the lead for most of the game, the National League managed to tie the score twice, including in the ninth inning. The AL took the lead for good in the top of the 10th.
While the Astros’ Alex Bregman won the game’s MVP award, Mariners shortstop Jean Segura enjoyed the most productive stat line of any player, scoring two runs and recording two hits, including a decisive three-run homer.
After an off day on Wednesday, MLB play resumes on Thursday for what promises to be an exciting second half of the 2018 season.