Reviewing the 2008 All Star Game Program
- Updated: January 26, 2009
Obviously the makers of last year’s All Star Game program had a lot to play with as the game was being held at Yankee Stadium which almost has too much baseball tradition for a person to take in at one time. Programs such as these usually do a good job of bringing together stories form across the league, and this one is no different.
While there is a lot of information about the Yankees’ history, it’s not so prevalent that other fans would be turned off. The articles that are in there about the Yankees are also respectful of the game, and don’t necessarily tout the Bronx Bombers as the standard that all should attempt to live up to.
As one might imagine, there are many recounts of the greatest moments in All Star Game history. One that many would still remember is depicted from 2001 when Alex Rodriguez (then a shortstop with the Texas Rangers) showed Cal Ripken Jr. from third base to shortstop (his original position) during Ripken’s last Mid Summer Classic.
There is a nice piece featured in the article about how obsessive baseball fans are about collectibles and that it seems to be in the blood of baseball fans more than almost any other group of people. It makes a good point by claiming what other people would keep shards of grass from the one time they got to walk onto their favorite Major League team’s field or are willing to shell out top prices for small pieces of cardboard.
Although there is a feature on George Steinbrenner, it is not surprising that it is a relatively small piece compared to the others since the Boss has really cut off connections to the public over the past few years and his story has been told so many times.
Two of the most interesting and best written pieces in the program are interviews with Derek Jeter and Bob Sheppard (who has been the loudspeaker voice for the Yankees since Abner Doubleday was a young boy). Although Jeter’s interview is somewhat cliché, he always seems to provide an excellent perspective into what it really means to be a Yankee (past the part where those in pinstripes are inevitably making more than everyone else). Sheppard’s interview was very interesting as he has seen so much that the most famous venue in baseball has to offer. His words truly show a love of the game and one can tell that it has truly pained him to have to miss some games over the past few seasons due to a throat condition that has affected both his voice and outer body.
It is no surprise that there is a lengthy piece about the other events that have taken place at Yankee Stadium over the years. From great boxing matches to concerts to the Pope, it all lead basketball great Michael Jordan to say, “All the history and all the memories that have been shared at Yankee Stadium separate it from every other sports venue.”
Perhaps the most eye catching piece in the entire program is a lineup of the best Yankees ever. Overall, the list is not surprising with big names like Yogi Berra at catcher and Lou Gherig at first, but when one notices that Joe DiMaggio is listed as the second person on the bench, they are forced to take a deeper look into the proposed lineup.
Other pieces in the program include a well written, but mostly already known, article on Babe Ruth (which has some really interesting pictures of the Bambino), a piece on the history of baseball in New York (with a strong emphasis on the Negro Leagues) and profiles of all of the players who were named to the 2008 All Star Teams.
Overall, MLB did a great job putting together a tribute program that didn’t go over the edge too much in terms of an emphasis on the featured team or stadium. The publication should be commended for its wide range of articles and information that is sure to peak at least some interest in the minds of all baseball fans.
The Grade: 4.75/5
Bill Jordan is a contributor to BaseballReflections.com. He can be reached by e-mail at BillJordaniv@yahoo.com.