Shadows due to early start may cause problems at baseball All-Star Game

Posted: July 13, 2010

ANAHEIM - Take a prime-time All-Star Game. Stage it on the West Coast. That's a combination that can create unique problems for baseball's best hitters as they try to track pitches in the early-innings twilight.

Angels manager Mike Scioscia knows as well as anybody how tricky his home stadium can be at that time of day.

"Everything you hear about the shadows and it being difficult to see is true," he said. "We've had some 4 o'clock [PDT] starts which are a little tougher. The 5 o'clock start [tonight], it will probably last for at least three innings or so before the lights take more effect and some of the shadows clear out."

Long ago and far away

Friendly banter between the honorary league presidents, Bill Giles of the NL and Jackie Autry of the AL, has become an expected part of the workout day news conference and yesterday was no exception, especially since the National League hasn't won since the game was played at Veterans Stadium in 1996.

That was so long ago that four players who were on those squads are now in the Hall of Fame: Cal Ripken Jr., Tony Gwynn, Wade Boggs and Ozzie Smith.

Anyway, in introducing Joe Girardi as manager of the American League, Autry noted that he had been an All-Star coach in the 2008 game, adding: "Which the American League won, of course."

In introducing NL manager Charlie Manuel, Giles noted this was his second chance "to try to beat that stupid American League jinx." And after citing the Phillies manager's accomplishments, he turned to Manuel and said, "So, Charlie, your job's on the line, man. You gotta win."

The longest winning streak in All-Star history was 11 years by the National League, from 1972-82.

The American League's unbeaten string of 13 years is a record; there was a tie in 2002.

Jersey boy

Oakland A's closer Andrew Bailey, the 2009 American League Rookie of the Year and a Haddon Heights, N.J., native, was a late addition to the AL roster when teammate Trevor Cahill and Yankees lefthander CC Sabathia both pitched on Sunday.

In a new rule this year, starters who throw on the last day before the break are ineligible to participate in the game, although they are recognized as full All-Stars.

"Right before the game they told me if Trevor throws a pitch and CC threw a pitch I was making it," he said. "So that's kind of what happened. Because of the Sunday starter rule. And I think it's a great rule, obviously, because I made the team."

Bailey didn't have to change a lot of plans to accommodate the late switch, though. He was already going to be in Los Angeles for a meeting with Pepsi today and to attend the ESPY Awards tomorrow night.

Pitching in

It wasn't a surprise that Charlie Manuel picked Colorado's Ubaldo Jimenez to start tonight's All-Star Game, although he said he gave a lot of consideration to Florida's Josh Johnson.

"We have some real talented pitchers," Manuel said. "But this guy is 15-1. He threw a no-hitter. His record speaks for itself. It was a tough pick but he's the guy I chose."

Girardi said starting Tampa Bay lefthander David Price was easy. "David's numbers speak for themselves," he said. "He was top amongst the player voting. I think he's very deserving of this honor."

Extra innings

Four of the last five All-Star Games have been decided by one run . . . Reds third baseman Scott Rolen has a dry sense of humor and it was on display yesterday when asked about Phillies righthander Roy Halladay. Rolen and Halladay were Toronto teammates and Halladay faced the Reds last Saturday. "He's lazy, lethargic and could use better work habits," Rolen deadpanned. Halladay, of course, is known as one of baseball's hardest-working players . . . There will be a record 33 first-time All-Stars tonight . . . The Yankees have three All-Star starters: CC Sabathia, Andy Pettitte and Phil Hughes. The last time one team had three starting pitchers was the Braves in 1997: Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux and Denny Neagle . . . For the first time, the All-Star Game will be televised in 3D . . . The 2011 All-Star Game will be staged in Phoenix, with Kansas City slated as the host city in 2012.

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