Jacob deGrom would have easily been the National League’s choice to start at this year’s All-Star Game. The best pitcher in baseball was going to finally start the Midsummer Classic while representing the New York Mets.
It wasn’t meant to be as deGrom was going to be ineligible due to a scheduled start on the Sunday prior. A rainout pushed back his first half penultimate start making him actually available with a fresh arm next Tuesday. He may still pitch a few frames in the final game of the first half. Even if he doesn’t, deGrom is going to skip out on even going to Colorado for the festivities.
Can we blame him? deGrom is too good for the antiquated exhibition match referred to as the MLB All-Star Game.
It would have been fun to see the Mets ace in action, but who really cares?
There’s something more important boiling this year in Queens than which members of the Mets attend the All-Star Game. Even Pete Alonso’s presence in the Home Run Derby isn’t drawing much fanfare from Flushing. With a Home Run Derby Crown already to his name, there’s more concern over how it may affect his swing than whether or not he can defend his title.
The All-Star Game ain’t what it used to be. We can see players from the other side of the country at any given moment. There’s no longer a difference between the American and National League other than the use of a DH. Players switch leagues from year to year and midseason far more than they used to when the All-Star Game had more meaning.
deGrom’s decision to bow out of the All-Star Game isn’t hurtful to anyone who cares about the Mets. We all know the drill. All-Star Games in any sport no longer hold the same luster they once did. Even if MLB’s competition is the most like a regular game—unlike the NBA, NFL, and NHL where it’s an absolute slugfest for the offense—there’s very little excitement from fans for those nine innings.
The been there, done that approach to the All-Star Game is nothing new for a major athlete of deGrom’s caliber. Pitchers have been able to skip the game for a few years now. Position players haven’t been as lucky to get a break because they are expected to play every day. However, some have surely called out of work “sick” in mid-July.
There used to be pride in representing your team in the All-Star Game. Somewhere along the way, it no longer mattered. Was it the tie in Milwaukee? Did it occur when multiple players began to actually express joy when they could get a few days off rather than make an unnecessary trip and risk injury?
We probably should be mad about this but we’re not. There’s no outrageous because the All-Star Game means far less than having a healthy deGrom for the second half. One less inning alone can help ensure this.
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Enjoy your time off with family, Big Jake. Mets fans are rooting for you to be nowhere near the thin Denver air.