DENVER -- The 2021 MLB All-Star Game is set for Tuesday evening at Denver's Coors Field. Here's how to watch. I'm here to express my excitement for my 10th in-person coverage of the game and provide some specific reasons why baseball fans should be excited, after a quick digression.
I recently went on a bit of a rant on Twitter. I had seen someone say "no one cares about the All-Star Game" and stuff like that really annoys me. Feel free to say you don't care, but an awful lot of people actually do. I'm one of them. All of my baseball fan friends are as well. You don't get to speak for everyone. We can have different taste and that's perfectly acceptable.
That is to say, I'm excited and for those possibly looking to join me, here are five reasons to tune into the 2021 MLB All-Star Game.
The first player ever to be selected as an MLB All-Star hitter and pitcher in the same season, Ohtani is the biggest reason there is to tune in. The Angels have embraced the possibility that Ohtani both pitch and hit in the game and the AL will be able to work it out. What if he homers and strikes out the side? Wouldn't that be something. Regardless, to see a middle-of-the-order hitter also pitch in the All-Star Game is reason enough for even the most casual of fans to tune in. This is a special, generational talent.
2. The possibility for lots of offense
The average MLB slash line this season is .240/.316/.402. In Coors Field, the slash line is .262/.330/.436. We've often spent time telling people it's not necessarily the home runs -- it's rarely the top home run park -- but due to the thin air, the outfield was built incredibly spacious. It is 347 feet down the left field, a whopping 390 in the left-center gap and 415 to dead center, 375 to the right-center gap and 350 to the right field line with a large wall. Due to how much the ball flies, the outfielders generally play very deep.
You can see where we're headed, right? This leaves open the possibility for an awful lot of singles and even hustle doubles. It's also fair to wonder if, in a game that is just for fun and nothing more, the defenses won't bother much with extreme shifting.
Also, the thin air has been proven to impact movement on pitches. Some play better than others, but overall it's much tougher to pitch here.
We've often lamented the need for more action on the field itself and fewer strikeouts, walks and home runs. Given the dimensions of the ballpark, the insane offensive talent for the game and the thin air warping the ability to pitch, it's possible we see a lot of offense. That's all kinds of fun.
3. The new faces of baseball
Speaking of the insane offensive talent, how about the newest faces of baseball? It starts with a second-generation player on each side. MLB should be marketing the hell out of Blue Jays first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. They have both shown MVP upside this season and are likely to continue on that path. It simply doesn't get any more marketable than that duo.
Beyond them, there's plenty more. The Red Sox left sideof Rafael Devers and Xander Bogaerts. Vlad's teammate Bo Bichette playing in the ballpark where his father used to rake. Adolis García has a great story. Cedric Mullins deserves his day in the spotlight. Juan Soto will provide his Soto Shuffle, too.
And this isn't even talking about the veteran standouts who still will provide highlights. It's an excellent mix with an absurd amount of talent.
4. The mic'd up players
Now that MLB realized it was a bad idea to tie the result of the All-Star Game to home-field advantage in the World Series, the players don't have to pretend like the game matters beyond playful "league pride." Those of us in person won't get to experience it, but the broadcast now mics players and interviews them while they are playing. That's the kind of access we rarely get anywhere in any sport and it's very entertaining. The players won't be shy and will crack jokes, possibly at their own expense. They'll all have fun with it and it'll be lively.
5. It is the best All-Star Game in all of sports
This is another shot across the bow of the haters. This is easily the best All-Star Game in professional sports. There is an overload of star power, they aren't playing for anything other than to entertain us and for pride purposes. We know baseball is an individual sport masquerading as a team sport, at least in the case of pitcher vs. hitter, and we're going to get a bunch of amazing matchups on that front. Think about stuff like breakout star Carlos Rodón getting to face Tatis and Soto back-to-back or something like that. We aren't getting to see that anywhere else.
On top of all that, there's nothing at stake. Die-hard fans get to experience a rise in blood pressure for 162 games -- more, for playoff teams -- a year and this time it's nice to just sit back and enjoy the fun this game provides.
Bring it on, Midsummer Classic.