Ever since 1933, Major League Baseball has taken a break in roughly the mid-point of its lengthy season to play the All-Star Game. This annual event has the American and National League stepping between the lines fielding squads jam-packed with superstars. What once was played for bragging rights has more recently had home-field advantage in the World Series tied to it to ensure a greater incentive to win after the 2002 game was declared a tie after both squads ran out of players to substitute. Like much of professional baseball’s history, this particular game possesses a rich vein of memories be it Pete Rose destroying Ray Fosse in a home plate collision in 1970, the National League racking up 21 strikeouts in 1984 (including some newbie named Dwight Gooden striking out the side) or last-minute sub Derek Jeter taking A-Rod’s spot in 2000 and becoming the first Yankee to win the award with a three-hit performance.
It’s arguably the one all-star game of the four major sports that fans seem to genuinely care about tuning in to and reviewing around the water cooler (or nowadays the blogosphere) the following day. Maybe it’s the idea that most kids growing up as baseball fans picture themselves launching balls out of a stadium during the Home Run Derby or better yet, winning the coveted Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award. Village residents can only hope that local prospect Keith Couch, a recent Boston Red Sox draftee, can one day join local heroes Carl Yastrzemski, Frank Viola and Craig Biggio as players who brought a little bit of Long Island to the Midsummer Classic.