Baseball saves health of players, further loses respect in fans' eyes

Let's call it a tie

Posted: Wednesday, July 10, 2002

MILWAUKEE -- In Bud's backyard, even the All-Star game ended with fans booing baseball.

Despite Barry Bonds hitting a home run and Torii Hunter making a spectacular catch, the All-Star game finished in a 7-7 tie after 11 innings Tuesday night when both teams ran out of pitchers.

Commissioner Bud Selig, who lives in Milwaukee and formerly ran the Brewers, made the ultimate decision to call the game. It was the first tie in All-Star play since a game in 1961 was stopped by rain.

''I want to take this opportunity to apologize to the fans,'' Selig said. ''Given the health of the players, I had no choice.

''The decision was made because there were no players left, no pitchers left,'' he said. ''This is not the ending I had hoped for. I was in a no-win situation.''

Amid worries about a players' strike and steroids looming over the sport, baseball had hoped put the focus back on the field -- at least for a day.

No luck.

''With everything going on in baseball, I'm sure the fans were very upset,'' Hunter said.

They sure were.

There were loud chants of ''Let them play!'' and ''Refund!'' from the sellout crowd of 41,871 at Miller Park as Freddy Garcia struck out Benito Santiago with a runner on second base to end it.

Once it finished, some fans in right field threw bottles.

''They treated it like it was a meaningless game,'' said David Cuscuna of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. ''They're telling the fans this game doesn't matter. Not to mention the $175 face value for tickets. It sends a lot of bad messages.''

An entertaining evening that began with Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Cal Ripken taking part in festivities to honor the past wound up with fans even more angry and upset.

''This is a very regrettable situation,'' Selig said.

There was no MVP picked. Bad timing, too, since the trophy was renamed this week to honor Ted Williams, the Hall of Famer who died Friday.

It became apparent that a tie was possible after the top of the 11th when AL manager Joe Torre, NL manager Bob Brenly and umpire crew chief Gerry Davis went over to talk with Selig in the front row next to the first-base dugout.

At one point during the five-minute discussion, Selig threw up his arms.

After Luis Castillo flied out to start the bottom of the 11th, the stadium public-address announcer informed the crowd of the bad news, saying a tie would be declared if the NL didn't score in the bottom half.

Garcia and Vicente Padilla, who finished for the NL, each pitched two innings. All 60 players on the two rosters were used.

The result left intact the AL's five-game winning streak. The NL leads the overall series 40-31 -- and now with two ties.

''I feel bad for Bud,'' Torre said. ''Bob and I had talked. You can't have it both ways. You can't have all the people see all the players.''

The game took 3 hours, 29 minutes. Five other All-Star games have lasted longer than 11 innings, most recently the NL's 2-0 win in 13 innings in 1987.

''If I was a fan, too, I would be disappointed,'' said Arizona catcher Damian Miller, who doubled twice. ''Obviously, you want to see someone win. You have to look out for the players and their health.''

Lance Berkman, leading the majors with 29 home runs and 81 RBIs, hit a two-out, two-run single off Kazuhiro Sasaki in the seventh inning that rallied the NL to a 7-6 lead. The Houston outfielder delivered after Byung-Hyun Kim blew a lead in the top half -- yet another time the Arizona closer couldn't hold a late edge on a big stage. He had been through this twice in last year's World Series.

But Omar Vizquel, making a rare appearance at second base because the AL had five shortstops on its roster, made it 7-all with an RBI triple in the eighth off Giants closer Robb Nen.

Bonds' two-run shot off the facade of the second deck made the San Francisco slugger an early candidate to win the MVP trophy. It was fitting that Bonds connected on this night -- he and Williams are arguably the two greatest left fielders in history, and the link between them was hard to miss.

Bonds frequently stood on the No. 9 that was perfectly painted into the left-field grass at Miller Park, replicating the distinctive design from the Red Sox uniform worn by the ''Splendid Splinter.''

''This is great. This is fun,'' Bonds said when he left after three innings. ''What they did with the memorable moments was great.''

Bonds also got a first-hand look at Hunter, the Minnesota center fielder known for astounding catches.

AMERICAN LEAGUE 7, NATIONAL LEAGUE 7, 11 innings, tie

AL ab r h bi NL ab r h bi

ISuzuki rf 2 0 0 0 Vidro 2b 2 0 0 0

Winn rf 2 1 1 0 Spivey 2b 2 0 0 0

Urbina p 0 0 0 0 Nen p 0 0 0 0

MRivra p 0 0 0 0 Smoltz p 0 0 0 0

FGarca p 1 0 0 0 BStiago c 2 0 1 0

Hlnbrn 3b 2 0 0 0 Helton 1b 2 1 1 1

Vntura 3b 1 0 0 0 Brkmn lf 3 0 1 2

TBtsta 3b 3 1 1 1 Bonds lf 2 1 1 2

ARdrgz ss 2 0 0 0 Sexson 1b 1 0 0 0

Tejada ss 2 1 1 0 Dunn lf 1 0 0 0

Grcprr ss 1 0 0 0 SSosa rf 2 0 1 0

JaGbi 1b 2 1 1 0 ShGren rf 3 0 1 0

Knerko 1b 2 0 2 2 VGrero cf 2 1 1 0

MiSwy 1b 1 0 0 0 AJones cf 3 0 0 0

MRmrz lf 2 0 2 1 Piazza c 2 0 0 1

Buehrle p 0 0 0 0 Gagne p 0 0 0 0

Przyns c 3 0 0 0 JHrndz ss 3 0 0 0

Posada c 3 0 0 0 Rolen 3b 3 0 0 0

Zito p 0 0 0 0 LCstillo 2b 2 0 0 0

Grdado p 0 0 0 0 Rollins ss 2 2 2 0

Sasaki p 0 0 0 0 Hffman p 0 0 0 0

Fick rf 2 1 1 0 Rmlngr p 0 0 0 0

THnter cf 2 0 0 0 BKim p 0 0 0 0

Damon cf 3 1 1 0 Lowell 3b 3 1 2 0

ASrano 2b 2 1 1 1 Schllng p 0 0 0 0

Vizquel 2b 2 0 1 1 MWlms p 0 0 0 0

DLowe p 0 0 0 0 LGnzlz ph 1 0 0 0

Jeter ph 1 0 0 0 OPerez p 0 0 0 0

Hlladay p 0 0 0 0 DMiller c 3 1 2 1

GAndsn lf 4 0 0 1 Padilla p 1 0 0 0

Totals 45 7 12 7 Totals 45 7 13 7

AL 000 110 410 00 -- 7

NL 013 010 200 00 -- 7

LOB--AL 7, NL 6. 2B--Winn (1), Konerko 2 (2), DMiller 2 (2). 3B--Vizquel (1). HR--ASoriano (1), Bonds (1). SB--Winn (1), Fick (1), Damon (1), Berkman (1), ShGreen (1).

IP H R ER BB SO

DLowe 2 2 1 1 0 0

Halladay 1 3 3 3 0 1

Buehrle 2 2 1 1 0 2

Zito 1-3 0 0 0 0 0

Guardado 2-3 0 0 0 0 2

Sasaki 1 3 2 2 1 2

Urbina 1 0 0 0 0 1

MRivera 1 1 0 0 0 0

FGarcia 2 2 0 0 0 3

Schilling 2 1 0 0 0 3

MiWilliams 1 0 0 0 0 2

OPerez 1 2 1 0 0 2

Gagne 1 2 1 1 0 1

Hoffman 1 1 0 0 0 1

Remlinger 2-3 1 2 2 1 0

BKim 1-3 3 2 2 0 0

Nen 1 2 1 1 0 2

Smoltz 1 0 0 0 0 1

Padilla 2 0 0 0 1 0

WP--FGarcia. PB--Piazza. Balk--DLowe.

Umpires--Home, Gerry Davis; First, Tim Tschida; Second, Chuck Meriwether; Third, Jerry Meals; Left, Marty Foster; Right, Paul Emmel.

T--3:29. A--41,871 (41,900).



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