Normally at the Mid-Summer Classic, baseball players from the two New York teams—especially the Yankees—steal the show at the festivities.
However, despite Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano’s victory in the Home Run Derby Monday night, the New York players were relatively quiet Tuesday evening in the National League’s 5-1 win over the American League in the 82nd annual MLB All-Star Game.
The fans at Chase Field in Phoenix, Ariz., greeted the Yankees players with “boos,” as is customary for many fanbases other than the one in the Bronx.
Though the players who were there seemed to enjoy themselves, Derek Jeter, fresh off his 3,000th hit, and Mariano Rivera—normally mainstays at the All-Star Game—chose to rest their injuries, while C.C. Sabathia took a trip to the Bahamas.
Fans and analysts alike questioned why these players did not represent their league, especially since the prize of home-field advantage in the World Series may very well affect the Yankees.
Without Jeter, Rivera, Sabathia and Alex Rodriguez (knee surgery), other Yankees were thrust into the All-Star spotlight. Centerfielder Curtis Granderson and Cano each finished the game 0-for-2 with a pair of groundouts.
Setup man David Robertson made his first All-Star appearance as a late replacement for Tampa Bay Rays starter David Price, who backed out of the game.
In the bottom of the second inning, Robertson recorded the first out on a sliding catch in the right field corner by Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista. Robertson then gave up a single to Cardinals slugger Lance Berkman but struck out Berkman’s teammate Matt Holliday. Berkman was caught stealing on the play, which gave Robertson an atypical 1-2-3 inning.
“It seems like everything has been really quick, really fast,” Robertson told MLB.com. “I’m glad I got to pitch in an All-Star Game. It’s something that if it never happens again, I still got to throw in an All-Star Game.”
Yankees catcher Russell Martin was selected to his third All-Star Game, but he did not see any game action.
For the Mets, shortstop Jose Reyes made the trip to Phoenix after being voted as a starter by the fans, but he did not play due to a hamstring injury.
Outfielder Carlos Beltran, who was the NL’s starting DH, made his sixth All-Star appearance and fifth with the Mets.
After striking out in the first inning, Beltran started the NL’s rally in the bottom of the fourth. With the AL leading 1-0, Beltran led off the inning with an infield single off Texas Rangers hurler C.J. Wilson. Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp followed with a single.
The game’s MVP, Prince Fielder of the Milwaukee Brewers, slugged a three-run homer to left center to give the NL a 3-1 lead. Fielder became the first Brewer to win an All-Star Game MVP.
Beltran finished the game 1-for-2 with a single and a run scored.
“It’s a lot of satisfaction for everything that I went through last year, trying to rehab myself, trying to put myself back on the field,” Beltran told MLB.com. “Being able to have a good first half, that really means a lot. And being able to be selected to the All-Star Game, it’s a great honor.”
With the victory, the NL clinched home-field advantage for the second straight year. It’s the first time since 1994-96 that the NL has won at least two straight games.
“It’s always disappointing to lose,” Cano told MLB.com. “Where I come from, everything is about winning. But I had fun and enjoyed getting to talk to guys from other teams. We enjoyed it and [are] looking forward to next year.”