All-Star week in Pittsburgh

Kenny Roda will be writing a weekly blog on Cleveland Scores covering the entire Cleveland sports universe. Check back often for his updates!

As I attended Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game in Pittsburgh many thoughts went through my head.

How can the best stadium in the big leagues be home to the worst franchise in the big leagues? What a waist. The city of such a historic franchise should be embarassed by it’s baseball team and call for Kevin McClatchy, owner of the Pirates, to sell the team to somebody who cares about bringing a winning tradition back instead of just stuffing his pockets with the revenue sharing money he gets!

Phil Garner, a former Pirate, screwed the National League out of a possible win. How do you not take advantage of the bat of the N.L.’s leading hitter, Nomar Garciaparra, as well as totally ignore Scott Rolen and Andrew Jones? I understand wanting to play the two hometown favorites, Jason Bay and Freddie Sanchez, but not as long as Garner did. This was for home-field advantage in the World Series!

The American League is now 9-0-1 (thanks to the Bud Selig tie in 2002) in the last 10 Mid-Summer Classics.

Bud Selig

As I was about to cross the street from the Westin Hotel in downtown Pittsburgh to the FanFest at the convention center, I was held up for about 10 minutes. Why? Because security was waiting for baseball’s so-called leader (yeah, that would be Bud Selig…LOL) to get into his van and drive away. That’s right, it was as if “George W” was there with his many secret service men, 12 motorcycle cops and other police officers making sure nothing happened to him. What a joke!

Derek Jeter, class act

After talking to both Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter, it is more clear to me now that
Derek Jeter gets it and A-Rod doesn’t. The Yankee captain talked about how the All-Star Game should not determine home-field advantage for the World Series. Jeter went against what MLB was doing and said that the team with the best record in baseball at the end of the season should get the advantage. Rodriguez, on the other hand, sounded like a P.R guy or a spokesman for MLB trying to convince me and every other media member in the room that there was parody in Major League Baseball and that 12 or 15 teams have a legitimate shot at winning the World Series this year and that it’s only going to get better just like the NFL. This coming from a guy who makes more than the entire Florida Marlins team and about half of the Indians total team payroll!

The Wright stuff

David Wright could and I stress could be to the Mets what Derek Jeter is to the Yankees. I know that’s a lofty comparison, but after talking to him before the game and then watching him in the Homerun Derby and the All-Star Game, I came away saying to myself, “He’s going to be New York’s next superstar!” Like Jeter, he seems to get “IT” on and off the field.

Tribe All-Stars

Tribe skipper Eric Wedge and All-Star center fielder Grady Sizemore both told me that the team hasn’t given up on the season even though they’re seven games under .500 and 18 1/2 games out of first. Both agreed as well on the fact that Wedge has not lost the team and is in total control. They may not have given up on this season…YET. But I disagree wholeheartedly about Wedge. I think the players have tuned him out. They’ve heard everything he can say more than once and it goes in one ear and out the other. If it were me, I would have canned Wedge at the break and picked from the likes of Bud Black, Tony Pena, Larry Bowa and even Lou Pinella to replace him. But, of course, that would mean Larry Dolan would have to spend some real money on a real manager and we all know that’s never going to happen with “Dolan’s discounts.”

Having said what I just did about Eric Wedge, like Charlie Manuel, he’s a great guy and a good baseball guy, but I just don’t think he’s best suited to be a big league manager. Manuel would be the first guy I would hire as a Major League hitting instructor and Wedge would be the guy I would hire to be in charge of the farm system, working with the kids to get them ready for the big leagues.

Homerun Derby

It was a blast to watch in person as Ryan Howard and David Ortiz were splashing balls 460-plus feet into the Alleghany River. Those two put on a great show, but so did the guy I mentioned earlier, David Wright. Sixteen homers in the first round of his first ever Homerun Derby. That’s sick! Some first-timers don’t even hit one out. Others may go yard only a few times. This guy went deep 16 times in his first at-bat. Let me say it again…STUD!

Big Papi, BMOC

Nobody, and I mean NOBODY, garnered more attention during the All-Star Game festivities than Ortiz. A-Rod, a Yankee (sort of) said he was pulling for Ortiz to win the Homerun Derby and said, “How can you not like him? He’s like a big cartoon character.” The media hounded him everywhere he went and Big Papi didn’t disappoint. He wore diamond-studded sunglasses, diamond earings, diamond rings the size of strawberries and a white suit that probably cost $4,000. He was playing the part of Elvis at the All-Star Game and loved every minute of it, answering all questions and signing a ton of autographs. Maybe A-Rod was finally right about something!

Smokin’ Venezuelan reporters

I’d be remissed if I didn’t mention the other hot topic amongst the media other than David Ortiz. It was the female reporters from Venezuela. They would have made Maxim magazine’s Top 10 hot list, maybe even the Top 5. WOW! I’m going to be pushing for Bullz-eye.com guru Gerardo Orlando to take a trip to Venezuela to look for some Girls Next Door and feature models for the website. And by the way, Gerardo, I will volunteer my time to come along and do all of the grunt work.

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