The summer of my freshman year of high school I was in Las Vegas. But on a particular night of that family vacation I could care less about the lights, excitement, and pretty girls that waited outside of our Strip hotel. Because on that hot July evening, all I wanted to do was stay inside our room with my eyes fixated on the television screen.
As a sports-obsessed 14-year-old, the only thing that mattered to me that night was the MLB All-Star Game. Not only did the spectacle of the best professional ball players converging in one spot for the Mid-Summer Classic captivate my attention but this particular year the game was played in Seattle at Safeco Field—the one place on earth that I loved more than any other. Add to all that the fact that the Mariners were having a record year with eight All-Stars on the American League squad and you could imagine that for a young man like myself it was must-see TV.
It was pure magical. I still remember vividly the many iconic moments that happened during that game: Alex Rodriguez trading positions with Cal Ripken Jr. Ichiro sprinting past Randy Johnson for an infield single. Ripken belting a ball out of the park in his last All-Star Game. Tommy Lasorda dramatically falling backwards when a bat flung his way. The good guys (the AL) picking up the W. It was simply everything that I hoped it would be.
Tonight, the MLB All-Star Game will once again return to Seattle. A lot has changed in 22 years. Safeco Field is now T-Mobile Park, the game of baseball has pitch clocks/instant replay/bigger bases, and I am no longer a sports nut. In fact, I haven’t watched an entire 9-inning MLB game all season. But that changes tonight.
Watching this evening’s All-Star Game is a priority for me. Of course I want to pay homage to that epic evening more than two decades ago when a star-struck boy put the glitz and glamour of Vegas on hold to watch a baseball game full of pageantry that was taking place in his backyard…or at least his home state. But in all honesty, whether tonight’s game was in Seattle or not, I would be tuning in. In my opinion, no other all-star game comes close to what Major League Baseball offers.
I also equate the MLB All-Star Game with summer. Aside from Independence Day, nothing screams July more than the Mid-Summer Classic. There isn’t any other game—Super Bowl included—that I can remember what I was doing at that moment. I have so many crystal clear memories that I can connect with All-Star Games over the years…it is a little crazy.
Because we don’t have cable, I won’t be able to watch the game at home tonight. That won’t stop me from catching the game. During lunch today, I will drive over to my parents’ house. I will work the afternoon from their home and then transition directly to watching the game with my dad. We are going to eat tacos and I am so excited!
I hope those who plan to watch tonight’s game enjoy it. I sure know I will. Crossing my fingers for many special moments and an American League victory. Don’t Blink.