The All-Star Game is meaningless to begin with. This is good. Let us see the great, big baseball men—the greatest and the biggest—hurl and smack balls hither and thither, and let it not matter one iota.
The American League won Major League Baseball’s 89th All-Star Game on Tuesday night in Washington, D.C., defeating the National League for the sixth straight time with a score of 8-6. In the absence of real stakes—to the victor go no spoils, not even home-field advantage in the World Series—let’s consider the night’s other winners and losers.
Loser: Orioles Fans
It has been days or weeks or months or maybe long, orange years since my phone went more than an hour without buzzing with some fresh report about the future of Orioles shortstop Manny Machado. He was going to spend the second half of 2018 in Philadelphia. Or in Milwaukee. Or Los Angeles. Or Arizona! He would stay in Baltimore a little longer or else he would not stay even a day more; the team was circling in on a frontrunner or the competition was only growing. His phone was ringing every day.
On Tuesday, the most credible rumor yet surfaced: The Dodgers were on the verge of inking a deal with the O’s that would send Machado to Los Angeles for the remainder of the season, reported Fancred’s Jon Heyman. Further details followed. In return, L.A. would reportedly send outfield prospect Yusniel Diaz. Machado was making his way through medicals. Bonus pool money could be made to disappear. By the afternoon, the result seemed clear: A trade to Los Angeles was imminent.
Meaning that for Manny—and for the many, many Orioles fans in attendance wearing his no. 13—the All-Star Game had the sudden potential of being the last time he would ever wear an O’s uniform. It had already had this potential in theory, but now, as Machado snapped a selfie with Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp, it suddenly seemed real; when he was introduced in the pregame ceremony as “the shortstop from the Baltimore Orioles,” a crowd made at least partly of defiant O’s fans cheered heartily.
But by the seventh inning, Fox’s Ken Rosenthal was reporting that the trade was on. In an in-game interview, Machado slipped into describing his time in Baltimore in past tense. For Orioles fans, what was meant to be a celebration—Machado’s fourth All-Star appearance and his first at shortstop—turned distinctly funereal.
As an O's fan, this whole Manny Machado thing feels like breaking up with your significant other in a really public place while everyone watches and laughs.— Cespedes Family BBQ (@CespedesBBQ) July 18, 2018
Even the Orioles seemed resigned to this being Manny’s last night in an O’s uniform. Take it away, Mal:
Loser: Some Hopefully Inanimate Object in the National League Dugout
Max Scherzer gave up a solo home run to very large baseball boy Aaron Judge in the second inning. But as the National League’s starting pitcher, Scherzer was dealing nonetheless, exhibiting a full range of human emoti—[touches earpiece]—sorry, of rage; a full range of human rage, in just two innings on the mound.
Pray for whomever first made eye contact with him as he exited the field:
lol Scherzer stalking straight to the dugout pic.twitter.com/xLImFEizlq— Jomboy (@Jomboy_) July 18, 2018
Winner: Players Using Phones in the Dugout
Aaron Judge homered; teammate Gleyber Torres documented, in precisely the same way that your Aunt Sue would.
Tuesday saw 10 home runs, the most ever in an All-Star Game. D.C. humidity is great! Just kidding. It’s very bad.
Winner: The Eagles
Or is it Loser: the Sport of Baseball? Last year, Bryce Harper used his mic’d-in-the-outfield time to gush about the Dallas Cowboys. This time, it was noted Eagles fan Mike Trout who got the chance to talk football, lighting up and throwing in a “go Eagles” for good measure.
Loser: Bryce Harper
I mean. You get to be tired the night after hitting 45 home runs. But still: On a night of many dingers, the Nats’ franchise star—for now, anyway—went 0-for-2.
Winner: The Easter Bunny
The Nationals’ de facto mascots are the Racing Presidents, who do pretty much that. Young Teddy Roosevelt, who has a history of finding inventive ways to lose, has long-standing beef with, like much of the earth’s large-scale fauna, none other than the Easter Bunny. Previously in Washington:
On Tuesday, the dreaded rabbit leapt once again at Teddy from the stands, handing the victory to George (as in Washington) in the process.
Winner: Alex Bregman
Bregman was responsible for homer no. 8 of 10 on the night. Was it the night’s most dramatic home run? No. Was it the one that meant the MVP voters could go home after a nearly four-hour-long game? I mean.