Miami Marlins ace Jose Fernandez seems very excited to pitch in Tuesday night’s MLB All-Star Game, and he hopes that he has the chance to face one slugger in particular. That guy? Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz, who will be playing in his 10th and final ASG before he retires at season’s end.
In fact, Fernandez not only wants the opportunity to pitch to the 40-year old Ortiz — something he has yet to do in his career — but he also wants to serve him a big fat home run ball.
“I would love to face David,” Fernandez told ESPN’s Marly Rivera on Monday. “It would be a dream come true for me … I told him yesterday that I am going to throw him three fastballs down the middle. I want to watch him hit a home run.”
If given the opportunity, Fernandez says he’ll groove in some meatballs around “90 miles per hour, so there is no chance that he fouls them or misses them.”
It wouldn’t be the first time that a pitcher grooved some extremely hittable pitches to a respected name playing in his final All-Star Game, but rarely are they so open about their intentions prior to the game — especially now considering that the game determines home field advantage in the World Series.
Even if you don’t think Fernandez’s Marlins are legitimate contenders for the Fall Classic (though they’re still right in the hunt at this point), I’d have to imagine some of his peers on the NL squad wouldn’t be pleased if he followed through and intentionally surrendered a dinger. Plus, Ortiz is hitting the ball so well right now that he probably doesn’t even need the help.
Who knows, maybe Fernandez wasn’t even being serious about the whole thing. But, either way, the fact that we even have to worry about this kind of stuff shows how dumb making an All-Star Game “meaningful” is.
Sure, putting stakes behind the game increases the chances that it’ll look like a normal, competitive baseball game. But the thing about ASGs is that they’re not meant to be normal or meaningful. They’re meant to be stupid and fun.
The guys participating shouldn’t be expected to take the game super seriously. They should be allowed to do ridiculous things in an exhibition game without the fear that it may come back to haunt their team (or their league) after a grueling 162+ game season.
(Via CBS Sports)