Three is all he'll need, Whammer
First of all a confession: I'm not a big fan of baseball anymore, but I do love the game.
I played a little organized baseball myself, but never varsity; I enjoyed it enough to play pickup games with my friends, but not enough to stand in front of a 80-90 mph fastball. I have a lot of fan-related fond memories of baseball from my youth, mostly involving watching the dreaded Yankees with my grandfather, or racing home to catch the 2nd half of Cubs games with my brother and Harry Carry. The first game live I saw was at Three Rivers in 1983, where Dave Parker hit a homer to lift the Pirates over the Braves, 2-0 (Bonus prize to anyone who is willing to take the time to figure out the exact day -- delivered from Malaysia, of course).
Baseball is used often, and to great effect, as a metaphor for life's struggles in such wondeful classics as The Natural, Field of Dreams, and the ultimate baseball movie, Bull Durham. Given the Hollywood treatment, the game takes on a smooth luster and tearjerking quality. On the opposite end of the spectrum is an observation from Homer Simpson, who, without having the benefit of beer-drinking (he's given it up for a month), notes that "I never realized how boring this [baseball] game really is."
There is truth to both elements. I have a hard time finding interest in a regular season game that represents only 0.6% of a team's season. However, when I do, sometime something dramatic happens, like out of the movies, only real and better. Kirk Gibson's Home Run in the 1988 World Series was one of the greatest if not most 'magical' baseball moments ever. To have written that script and given it to a Hollywood producer, it would have been rejected as unbelievable, schmaltzy crap. As real life, it was utterly dumbfounding.
Would that moment have meant less if it had happened during the regular season? Undoubtedly. It is the import of such moments which give them weight. That is why I am a fan of making the 2003 All-Star game the determinant of World Series home field advantage, and why last night's game actually meant something.
The point of all this is last night's All-Star game delivered a true summer classic, with underdogs, unknowns, and delicious dramatic moments. The American league somehow managed to pull a victory out of a 7th inning, 3-run deficit where they were to face three of the best closers in baseball. Sometimes you get a gem of a game like that and it reminds me why I still love the game despite not following it as much anymore.
Note: Like a last second shot rattling out of the hoop, Rafael Furcal came two feet, in the last out of the game, from tying the game up for the NL. Thank goodness, because I was too tired to stay up.