While not wearing a cap, Prince Fielder won the Home Run Derby tonight in St. Louis on the eve of the All-Star Game. In fact, several sluggers went capless in taking their hacks at Busch Stadium, and maybe that’s just as well. I was not keen on either of the league’s cap and jersey styles. To me, the All-Star Game always has been special, and seeing all the caps and colors from the various teams represented made it so.
One of my Twitter buddies, who posts a San Francisco Giants blog called Nuschlers News, asked during the derby if anyone besides him preferred the old days when the players wore their own team uniforms or at least their team caps while at the All-Star Game. I’m not sure how many replies he received, but all but two preferred players wearing their own apparel.
The derby is a lot of fun, and our family usually makes a point to watch, although it’s a little more difficult out here in the Pacific time zone than it was when we lived in the Eastern.
The kids running loose in the outfield to retrieve flyballs is a nice, if calculated, touch. You can imagine the baseball marketing guys saying, “Let’s remind everybody that this is a game for kids played by men who still are kids at heart.” Yeah, yeah. And let’s all profit richly (by selling All-Star uniforms and caps, say?).
But I shan’t crab anymore. The All-Star Game and the hoopla surrounding it are genuine American creations and traditions. I can’t remember if the players revert to their own uniforms and caps in the game itself, but I certainly hope that’s what happens tomorrow night. I want to see Tim Lincecum in San Francisco orange and black standing on the sidelines for the anthem with Manny Ramirez in his Dodger blue, Derek Jeter in Yankee pinstripes and Ichiro sporting the Mariners’ compass rose. Those “ordinary” uniforms gathered on one diamond underscore just how special a night it is.