The MLB All-Star Game has been full of memorable moments, and with the 82nd Mid-summer Classic upon us, Atlanta Braves fans remember some special moments for their team in All-Star Game history. We here at Talking Chop are proud to introduce the top-10 Braves All-Star Game moments.
July 13, 2010 - Anaheim, California
Depending on whom you ask, sometimes it's often said that the bigger honor than starting an All-Star Game, is being selected as a reserve. Whereas fans across the world have the definitive word on who starts the game (that counts now, by the way), and have been known to controversially stuff ballots with illogical choices, such as Mark Loretta, Kosuke Fukudome, Raul Ibanez, and the steadily declining Derek Jeter, leading to the obvious questioning of the validity of being voted a starter, the reserves are selected by none other than the managers. Managers of peers and opponents, all across the baseball landscape. Being selected as a reserve recognizes talent and credentials, and not just simply because fans of the most recognized and/or popular teams are stuffing boxes or clogging bandwidth to get their team's players into the game.
Despite being a four-time All-Star prior to 2010, Brian McCann's All-Star history has been less than memorable. Named a reserve in all previous years due to simply more popular and recognized catchers such as Paul Lo Duca, Russell Martin, Geovany Soto, and Yadier Molina being voted in as starters, McCann's opportunities to shine have been sparse and limited:
2006: 6th inning entry, 1 PA, 0/1
2007: 7th inning entry, 1 PA, 0/1
2008: 15th inning entry, 0 PA, (run over at home plate by Justin Morneau to end game due to Brad Lidge implosion + girlie-throw from Corey Hart)
2009: 8th inning entry, 1 PA, 0/1
In McCann's fifth consecutive All-Star appearance at Angel Stadium, manager Charlie Manuel took a slightly more equidistant approach to the catching duties - at approximately halfway through the game in the fifth inning, Yadier Molina was lifted for Brian McCann. He gave the American League a brief scare when he made good contact on a Justin Verlander 3-2 fastball with runners on first and third, with two outs, but it was still playable for the host team's Torii Hunter. It looked like it could be another uneventful All-Star appearance for ‘ol Heap, but at least there was time for another at-bat.
In the seventh inning, with the American League leading 1-0, the Yankees' Phil Hughes yielded singles to Scott Rolen and Matt Holliday, and was lifted with one out in favor of the White Sox's flame-throwing lefty, Matt Thornton. He dispatched of Chris Young, but then walked Marlon Byrd, and suddenly the stage was set for Brian McCann to get another opportunity to make a little bit of All-Star magic.
After fouling off the first pitch, Brian didn't wait to nurse a deep count to strike, and on the second pitch of the at-bat, crushed a 98 mph fastball right down the right-field line. Rolen scores. Holliday scores. Byrd scores. McCann standing at second, emphatically clapping his hands in celebration of his bases-clearing go-ahead 3 RBI double. National League 3, American League 1.
And that would ultimately be the final score, as the National League ends a 13-year drought of consecutive losses to the Junior Circuit. Justifiably so, Brian McCann is named the MVP of 2010 All-Star Game for his clutch heroics.
Depending on whom you ask, sometimes the biggest honor is being voted as a starter of the All-Star Game, because at that time, everyone thinks you're the best. And I may question the agendas of baseball fans when some questionable selections are named starters sometimes, but they finally got it right this year. Starting for your 2011 National League All-Stars, catcher Brian McCann, of the Atlanta Braves.