MLB is clicking on all cylinders and part of the All-Star Game success is, too

SEATTLE — For the first time in recent memory, our annual pre-All-Star game press conference with the commissioner has turned into a 15-minute bragging session.

why not? Attendance increased by 8 percent across the game. You read that right. Eight percent!

Match times have been reduced by 28 minutes. Which means kids of a certain age can now see an entire game before they go to bed. And some of us can stick to deadlines.

Scoring is the highest. Stolen bases on the way up. Traffic is at an all-time high.

The new rules are amazing, probably the second best thing in the current game, after the impossible Shohei Ohtani of course.

The only thing Commissioner Rob Manfred didn’t mention is that Major League Baseball still has the best all-star game, a 3-2 NL win. Because, of course, that goes without saying.

The audience, which paid an average of $658 for a ticket, according to the Internet — $2,458 for good seats, which looks more like a Taylor Swift concert — was really into it. They welcome every move made by a sailor, and also by a competitor, Two-Way Angels star Ohtani, whom they hope will one day become a sailor.

“Come on Se-at-tle,” they chanted whenever Ohtani came to bat.

Ohtani, not an idiot, praised this beautiful town – I agree, the Emerald City is a gem – in his in-game press conference.

“I love the city,” Otani said. “she is beautiful.”

(Don’t get too excited, Mariners fans. While the Mariners were one of the seven finalists last time, I don’t think it’s likely since he made it clear on Monday that he wanted to win so badly. But I give the fans credit: cheering showed great spirit and unreal coordination.)

The enthusiasm was felt throughout the night, as was the enthusiasm in two cases. Every time the Astros are mentioned, the roar can be heard distinctly back to Tacoma, wherever he is.

The crowd, 47,159, even booed the Astros’ space mascot, Orbit, a cute little fellow who’d never knocked a trash can, at least as far as we know. They also booed the Astros’ universally beloved manager Dusty Baker, who had been managing the AL All-Stars and had apparently been found guilty of the association. In fact, he helped clean up the mess in Houston, and he deserves nothing but cheers wherever he goes.

Mariners fans love their team, and nearly every former Mariners great has been fielded, with the notable exception of Alex Rodriguez, who hit . 358 here as a 20-year-old. He’s been here doing pregame and postgame All-Star shows for Fox, but is mostly called upon for deserting Seattle for more money. Presumably, he would have gotten a little better reception than Orbit.

Anyway, it was always the best All-Star Game, and it gets better. It even came back to par, even for the two players.

Gone are the days when players deserved to take time off as an opportunity to escape from baseball. I’ve only heard of two uninjured players who turned down the chance to be here (and I won’t mention them because they made family plans based on low expectations to make it happen).

The stars generally wanted here. And if you assumed that the stars might be exhausted by now, you’d be wrong. American League player Gerrit Cole, here in his sixth All-Star game, looked euphoric before and after the game.

“This was an adrenaline-filled day,” Cole said after his scoreless first half. “It was a really fun experience overall, really fun.”

Everyone had a lot of fun at first. AL cornerbacks caught jumping pins on the wall to help Cole. Adolis Garcia and Randy Arozarena celebrated with big smiles as the two former St. Louis Cardinals reminded them of their painful season and poor decisions.

“You have to trust your defense,” Cole said of the catch. “I think it worked great. They have big swings. … nine courts. “

I asked Cole what the best All-Star games were, and naturally he started remembering the previous games he’d been in. I meant it to answer baseball’s All-Star Game standings compared to those of other major sports. After I explained, Cole replied, “To be honest, I don’t watch many Pro Bowls.”

I told him no one else does, and be sure to point to the camera that I was saying that. It doesn’t matter. Nobody does. And everyone knows that.

The only thing I would change about this All-Star event is the Home Run Derby, and just a little bit. The way it works every year, the star of the show doesn’t win because ludicrous grammar favors standard consistency. Make it so that total home runs win. This way the star of the evening, Mariners-worthy Julio Rodriguez – J Road Over A Road! – Whoever has the most home runs ever with a record 41 home runs may have won.

Instead of counting swings, they cleverly put a clock into batting innings a few years ago, which is great. However, they do need to put a timer on the entire event. Like many homing pigeons, it is tall.

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