Tuesday, January 14, 2014

2002 MLB All Star Intros

Recently I’ve been on a kick of watching old baseball games in their entirety on YouTube.  There’s this account I’m subscribed to that’s called MLBClassics that has like 1000 of them, mostly old World Series, Playoff, and All-Star Games.  I really enjoy watching the old playoff games just because of the intensity level.  The other thing I just love doing is watching old All-Star introductions and pregame shows.  Let’s be honest, the All-Star Game usually is about as interesting as your uncle’s fishing story and all the best players are generally in the dugout comparing and contrasting their favorite steroid cycles flavors of Grizzly by the 6th inning.  However, the pregame shows and introductions, especially of games like 10 or more years ago, are jam packed with unintentionally comedy and quotes just begging to be taken out of context.  The best part is by FAR the bench player intros because there are always a handful of guys who either were A. players who are hilariously historically insignificant, or B. hilariously awkward in front of the whole country.  Without further ado, the 2002 MLB All-Star Game Introductions and Starting Lineups:

Ok, so to start off the broadcast there was a tribute to the late great Ted Williams who had passed away like a week and a half earlier.  This is perfectly fine, until the second player they show to talk about Ted Williams is Sammy Sosa in a Home Run Derby uniform that has elastic on the sleeves like a football jersey in order to show off his guns.  This whole intro just reeks of the steroid era, and the tone is set immediately.  He’s not even attempting to hide his steroid use.  He won the HR Derby that year and hit a ball like off the retractable roof of Miller Park or something crazy like that.  And the funniest part is looking back, no one gave a shit or even suspected at the time.  “Hey Sammy’s looking good this year guys, I heard he got a Bowflex in his basement over the offseason.”

Nomar talking about Teddy Ballgame’s first pitch at the 1999 All-Star Game: “That was a great moment.  It was a really pure moment.”  Note that this was the same All-Star Game that Mark McGwire hit a ball like 584 feet out to left in the HR Derby off a 65 MPH pitch.  The 1999 All Star Game was the height of the steroid era the same way Woodstock was the height of the 60s.  I think it’s a funny quote to take out of context and it doesn’t bother me all that much, but I’m pretty sure Tom Verducci just puked.  Oh well, here come the All Star Reserves!

Tony Batista is a fucking great lead off for this.  I mean just look at him.  Jesus Christ, Tony, act like you’ve been there before.  Just flip the proverbial ball to the referee like Barry Sanders and keep a little of your dignity.  No way he shows his grandkids this video if he wants even a shred of respect from them.

Yep, that’s the same Ugueth Urbina that FUCKING LIT HIS LANDSCAPERS ON FIRE IN VENEZUELA!!!!!! No seriously, he fucking burned them half to death.  Looks like a  good guy here though.

Mark Buehrle frosted tips alert!  It’s a good thing he had baseball as a plan B because he absolutely choked in his ‘Nsync audition.

Robert Fucking Fick just happy to be here.  Gotta respect the shit out of the guy with the huge shit grin carrying a career .268/.336/.447 line into an All Star Game against fucking Barry Bonds.  Knew he didn’t belong and owned it.

Holy shit an Eddie Guardado appearance! He was an All Star?!  Look out Mo, Everyday Eddie wants the ninth in this game.

Sneaky REALLY smug look on Jeter’s face here.

This is just a classic veteran, know-your-role move.  Robin Ventura knocked the happy to be here shrug out of the fucking park.

I’m not sure why I found this so hilarious but I did—Zito and Tejada were lined up in the wrong order and the announcer announced Zito as Tejada, so Miggy just switched spots with him quick, problem solved.  Plus Zito looks absolutely rolling stoned during his intro which is always a nice touch.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t include a young Doc Halladay in gorgeous old Jays unis.  You’re welcome, everyone.

“Fuck this shit.”—Frank Robinson

Damian Miller, ladies (who am I kidding) and gents.  I love his inclusion here.  I mean, it’s not like they needed a representative for the D’Backs.  They had just shown Luis Gonzalez right before.  Yet, unexplicably, ol’ Damian got the invite to Milwaukee yet sporting a robust .274/.332/.434 career slash line prior to the season.  And I think he looks sneaky like an alcoholic in this picture too.  All around great ASG Intro performance.

Had to baseball reference Junior Spivey because I honestly had no recollection of his existence whatsoever, and evidently he absolutely crushed the ball that year, his first full year, for the D’Backs to the tune of .301/.389/.476.  He was out of baseball 3 years later after being injured and ineffective.  The steroid era, everybody!

Part of me always wished John Smoltz was my dad.  He just struck me as a guy you’d love to play a round of golf and have a few drinks with.  I mean, just look at him, looks like the coolest dad around.  And if he were my dad, I probably would have been more athletic, too.  Bummer.

Is that Robert Downey, Jr.?  Nope it’s just Mike Remlinger.

This shouldn’t be so funny to me because Adam Dunn actually used to be a really good player, but I keep cracking up at the thought of this being the same Adam Dunn who hit .159 in 122 games in 2011.  .159!!!!

Mike Lowell had one of the best goatees in baseball for nearly a decade.  That’s a legacy you can hang your hat on.

Not only did Eric Gagne make my All Steroid Team, he made a couple real All Star Games too.  And he looked like Turtle from Entourage’s retarded brother, so there’s that.

Y’all know me, still the same Oh Dee (Odalis Perez for all of you who don’t know what the fuck I’m talking about).

Brewers fans give Richie Sexson just a RACHOUS ovation.  I understand it because he was their best player at the time and he was a pretty good player in his own right, but I will always remember him for being really not very good in Seattle towards the end of his career after signing a big deal there.  In 10 years kids might think of Josh Hamilton this way after imploding in Anaheim after being pretty good in Texas.  And “Sexson” has always made me laugh.

I honestly have never heard of Jose Hernandez before in my whole life.  Baseball reference says he was an All Star only this once, despite playing for 15 years in the bigs.  .252/.310/.427 before 2002, .288/.356/.488 in 2002 at age 32.  I’m not saying, I’m just saying.

Here’s another All Star that I legit have never heard of before in Pittsburgh’s Mike Williams.  And honestly, I can’t make any fucking sense whatsoever of his BRef page either.  2.93 ERA/1.22 WHIP in ’02 makes sense for an All Star I guess.  But the most ASTOUNDING part is that he was an All Star the next year despite posting a 6.14 yearlong ERA.  I have no words.
Here come the starters!

Shea Hillenbrand!  Hitting second!  In the ASG!  I'm speechless!

This is Alex Rodriguez.  He started at SS and hit third.  Aaaaaaaand 2002 officially was a thousand years ago.

I had no recollection of Posada sending his kid out for the starting lineup.  None whatsoever.  And neither does his kid.

Torii Hunter was an All Star starter and was at the absolute peak of his powers.  Miss these days :(

Back to the "action."

Derek Lowe was the All Star starting pitcher for the AL.  This officially may have been the weirdest ASG of all time.  And that glove is absolutely gigantic.

If you didn't think this game could get much weirder, just remember that Jose Vidro led off for the NL.  Two Expos got voted in as starters (Vlad being the other—I LOVED Vlad) yet they couldn’t draw 10,000 a game. 

Barry Bonds was absolutely gigantic and pumped full of steroids and I couldn’t care less.  I mean look how big his whole upper body was.  He looked like fucking Patrick Willis out there.  Just for fun, he hit .371/.582/.799 that year.  I mean, yeah he was on steroids, but so were all these other guys, and it’s not like the only thing separating Jacque Jones and Barry Bonds was steroids.  He dominated the game like no one ever has.  He was basically Babe Ruth for 4 years in his mid- to late-30s, and I would do it over again in a heartbeat.

Vegas set the over/under on time Mike Piazza’s stylist spent grooming that goatee at 45 minutes.

And thus ends one of the weirdest All Star intros that I can remember.  For those that may not remember, the game was actually a lot weirder as it went 11 innings and both teams ran out of players, so Bud Selig called it a tie.  It was as weird as it sounds.  Their resolution was to make the game count for home field advantage in the World Series in their "This One Counts" campaign which is a great idea because who doesn't want a Marlins hitter facing a Blue Jay to decide who gets home field in the World Series.  Makes sense.

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