The Major League Baseball (MLB) All Star Game pits the year’s best players from the National League against those from the American League, and the game known as the “Midsummer Classic” sports a lineup selected by fans, coaches, players and managers. The 2012 MLB All Star Game is played this year on Tuesday, July 10, at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri, and symbolically marks the halfway point of the Major League Baseball regular season. With no games the day before or after this fan favorite, the players can focus on winning the game, which provides the winning league with home field advantage the World Series.
Last year the game was played at Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks, and Prince Fielder of the Milwaukee Brewers blasted a three-run homer to help lead the “Senior Circuit” past the American League 5 to 1. Fielder went on to win the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award, the second year in a row that award was won by a National League player. Before that, an American League baseballer won the award an incredible 12 years in a row. The National League holds a scant 42 – 38 – 2 lead in the MLB All Star Game, which was first played in 1933 in storied Comiskey Park as part of the World’s Fair in Chicago, Illinois that year.
The brainchild of Arch Ward, who was at the time the Sports Editor for The Chicago Tribune, the MLB All Star Game was only intended to be a one-time event. But the incredible success of that original contest led to the annual event that is prefaced by the fan favorite Home Run Derby, played the Monday before the All Star Game. This year the powerful Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton received an unprecedented 11,073,744 fan votes, destroying the previous record set last year of 7,454,753 by Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista. He is joined in this year’s event by his teammate, catcher Mike Napoli, who makes his first All Star appearance. San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey set a new National League balloting mark as well with 7,621,370 votes this year.
The 83rd Major League Baseball All Star Game will be televised worldwide in over 200 countries, and the NL looks to make it three wins in a row this year, after ending a 13 year MLB All Star Game losing streak in 2010. Prince Fielder is back this year, only this time the wearing an American League Detroit Tigers uniform, as he makes his fourth All Star appearance. New York Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano won last year’s Home Run Derby and was voted into this year’s All Star Game, his fourth overall as well. Yankees teammate Derek Jeter is back for his 13th All Star Game, and Boston DH David Ortiz is making his eighth All Star trip.
For the National League, early MLB MVP candidate Joey Votto of the Cincinnati Reds will make his third All Star trip, but his first start. Atlanta’s second baseman Dan Uggla and St. Louis Cardinals shortstop Rafael Furcal are both making their second All Star lineup, both starting for the first time as well. Veteran St. Louis Cardinal Carlos Beltran is making his seventh All Star Game appearance, and Matt Kemp of the Los Angeles Dodgers was voted as a starter for the second straight year. The last time the National League won three straight All Star Games was from 1994 to 1996. Can the NL do it again, and add a third straight All Star Game MVP, or will the American League go on another 12 year winning streak? We’ll find out Tuesday night when the 83rd annual Major League Baseball All Star Game delivers another talent filled display of athleticism and excitement.
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