It was a night of blue Dodgers and continuous blues in the National League. On Tuesday evening, the Midsummer Classic finally returned to Dodger Stadium. The continuing excellence of the American League killed any notion that the famous venue’s first hosting duties since 1980 would restore us to an era in which the Senior Circuit owned this tournament.
Under a magnificent Southern California sky, the AL overcame an early hole and held the NL hitless from the second through seventh innings en route to a 3-2 All-Star Game presented by MasterCard victory, its ninth in a row. Regardless, before a crowd of 52,518 and a national audience on FOX, the Dodgers’ “Blue Heaven on Earth” sparkled and shone in an entertaining exhibition of the sport, with past and present legends honoured, monster blasts sailing into the bleacher seats, and mic’d up players in abundance.
The fact that Giancarlo Stanton, the Most Valuable Player of the Chevrolet All-Star Game, won the game with a two-run homer was reminiscent of the Beach Boys. Stanton, a native Angeleno who grew up stalking the big boppers of yore and catching batting-practice homers in the stands, hit the game-winning shot.
Stanton, whose jersey will serve as the Hall of Fame’s keepsake from this Midsummer Classic, added, “It’s all come full circle.” “I, too, play in the left position. When I was a child, you constantly tried to get a ball thrown to me from whoever was playing left field. Simply being outdoors is so enjoyable and cool.”
From the moment it was announced, it was expected to be a fun, interesting event — a constellation of stars in a city famed for them. However, that was a very long time ago. The Dodgers were scheduled to host the All-Star Game in 2020, but the pandemic derailed those plans and prolonged the already lengthy wait for the All-Star Game to return to Chavez Ravine. This season marks the 60th anniversary of the structure, yet it had never before hosted the Midsummer Classic.
The COVID intricacy resulted in this game being played in the year that the sport and the nation are commemorating the 75th anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s debut with the Dodgers. Denzel Washington, a two-time Oscar winner, paid an eloquent homage to Jackie before to a baseball game in which Hollywood was in close proximity. Then, Mookie Betts, joined by his fellow NL and AL All-Stars, led the crowd in a poignant rendition of “Happy Birthday!” to Jackie’s widow, Rachel, who turned 100 on Tuesday.