The ‘Mariano circle jerk’ that was the 2013 MLB All Star Game is representative of all the garbage that gets rammed down flyover country’s throat when it comes to national baseball coverage. The ovation was classy. The Joe Buck-Tim McCarver slurping was true to character. The MVP Award was overkill.
Mariano Rivera winning the coveted prize and getting all the postgame glory (and subsequent coverage) as well as a new car was some ridiculous media driven junk. It’s not like there was a clear winner but for it to be won due to a routine hold!? Come on. Chris Sale deserved it more (two perfect innings, 2 Ks, the win). Jason Kipnis deserved it more (RBI double). So did Miguel Cabrera (1-for-3 with a double and a run to go with solid defense). How are young relative unknowns like Sale and Kipnis supposed to craft their own legacies when others are artificially built upon for the purpose of storylines? Anything less than a blown save was bound to give ‘42’ a manufactured fairytale farewell.
It wouldn’t be obnoxious if these types of “accolades” didn’t continue to perpetuate the same damned cycle. Mo’s a first-ballot Hall of Famer, no doubt, but to give him awards like this cheapens those he won on his own merit. Oh great, Mariano joined the elite company of Derek Jeter, Frank Robinson, and Brooks Robinson as the only players in MLB history to win both a World Series and All-Star Game MVP? Who cares? This phony distinction makes him the guy that doesn’t fit.
Mo’s a Hall of Famer, no doubt, but to give him awards like this cheapens those he won on his own merit.
We wish there was a dissenting voice that piped up and said, “That was a lame attempt at an artificial Hallmark moment.” At least Cal Ripken, Jr. earned his sendoff All-Star MVP by going yard.
But that’s not how it works. Not today. Not in a news structure that’s almost entirely story driven at this point. The MLB went straight Monday Night Raw last night and started generating their own sendoff. Minutes afterward the PR machine was already churning.
Now when Yankees fans read an article like this and get agitated you can’t really blame them. They’ve been raised in an environment where their Bronx Bombers and rival Boston Red Sox combine for 49 minutes of coverage on any hour long Baseball Tonight. Anything less is taken as a sign of disrespect because to them this is “normal.”
It’s like being twins in a rich family, pampered and spoiled beyond belief, and then told one day mom’s pregnant with 28 more kids. So now you have to share half your mansion and get one-fifteenth of the presents at Christmas and, worst of all, not get all the attention all the time. We can’t blame you for feeling entitled because this is how you’ve been conditioned but at some point in your lives, if only once, you should hear what a load it is.
To recap, whenever some announcer straining for a line in a (fairly) unique situation says “They couldn’t script this!” It’s total crap. They did it last night. When you give out token awards for lifetime achievements you make this exhibition look even more stupid. We already have to deal with All-Stars who don’t deserve it (one example, amongst many, is Bryce Harper two years running). The battle for homefield advantage was a narrative driven PR campaign that had an inevitable ending in case of an AL win. We look forward to this again in a few years when it’s The Captain’s turn.