Greetings, American League All-Stars! ALL STAR GAME

July 11, 1993|By Jim Bready

The writer of these letters, Jim Bready, retired Evening Sun editorial writer, is the author of "The Home Team." a history of baseball in Baltimore.

Welcome to the 1993 showdown. How big a moment this is, thoseof you who played in previous All-Star games know already. Those of you who are first-timers in this thing, glad you made it and are here, but don't for a minute mistake the seriousness of all this. Tell yourselves, keep telling yourselves, here is any season's biggest test.

The World Series is all very nice, but after all half the players on each team don't belong there; they got carried into it by the really good players. In this game Tuesday, on the other hand, no lightweights, no lardasses; it's our best and their best.

We're in Baltimore. That gives us a tiny advantage, in that the park is new to them, while you guys are all familiar with it. It's a nice place to have a game. Real grass, which N.L. players aren't all that used to. So don't worry about the Baltimore Chop -- on this lawn, a batter seldom hits one that bounces high enough in the air for him to beat out the throw to first. On the other hand, there is now the Baltimore Bound. You outfielders, try not to let a fly land on that warning track -- it's gone for an automatic double. They must've put rubber into that track.

Another thing about Baltimore is the fans. They'll be with you all the way. Well, yes, you may have heard some hard words coming from the stands earlier this season, you guys from Toronto and New York and so on, but for the time being let's forget all that -- just heat-of-the-moment stuff. The point is, this town knows the difference between the two leagues. When Baltimore had been in the minors for all those decades, it wasn't the National League that said, "OK, we'll take you in, you've earned it, you deserve a franchise."

True, some of the fans Tuesday won't be Baltimoreans. Some of 'em will be from Washington or Lord knows where; it seems the ticket scene is out of hand. But so what? Basically, just think about the game.

About Baltimore, while we're still on the subject. Basically, why don't you leave it for some future visit? If you do find yourself with time to kill, stroll over to the Babe Ruth Museum and commune with some of your predecessors; real mood music, that place.

Otherwise, regarding the rest of the city, best thing is to give it a pass. Because if you go out, no matter where, culture domes or clip joints either one, you're gonna be recognized and the civilians will be swarming all over you. They'll badger you for mementos, all the way down to your underwear. Baltimore's that heated up over Tuesdays' game. Stick to your hotel rooms instead, and get a good rest.

Then when you come to the park Tuesday, come to play. There's a few things you should bear in mind:

Point one: Your league needs your best effort. If you've got a heel bruise and can't run all out, say so; they'll start somebody else and work you into the box score later on in the game.

Point two: You're on camera, all the way. This is the largest single-game TV audience all year. Your wives will be watching you, your girlfriends will be watching you, your trusting little kids will be following every pitch, every hit, every throw. So -- come through with men on base, pull a home run ball back into the park, mow down the other side's batters; in your own home and across the entire country you'll be a hero forever.

Point three: Some of the N.L. guys will probably come around beforehand, fraternizing. They'll tell you this game is really nothing more than an exhibition, so let's all take it easy. Watch out for that stuff! Remember, always, the A.L.'s behind in the All-Star series, in the total games played against the N.L. since 1933 when the thing began. Remember something else: In the most recent All-Star Games and World Series both, the N.L. has lost, lost, lost and lost. Those turkeys, they really want this game.

Greedy of them, though, don't you think?

OK, welcome to Baltimore, where the A.L. reigns supreme.

---- Jim Bready

Greetings, National League All-Stars!

Welcome to Maryland, to Baltimore, to Oriole Park at CamdenYards. These are new scenes, to anyone who has played only for the N.L. So come early, stay late, do look around and, in the word of the era, enjoy.

We Baltimoreans are very proud of our new ballpark. Organized Baseball must like it, too, to have scheduled the annual All-Star Game in Baltimore so soon after play first began in Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Our one sorrow is that no entire National League team is already acquainted with our great new diamond by virtue of having played there in last year's World Series. Maybe this fall. Well, some year soon.

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