Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe it doesn't matter at all. Winning the Midsummer Classic is fun and all, but losing is not something that anyone is going to lose sleep over.
Still, when A-Rod was the only American League position player who didn't get into the game, you kind of have to wonder why.
There were opportunities for him to get into the action. With the AL facing a 3-1 deficit in the bottom of the ninth, designated hitter David Ortiz was scheduled to lead off, with third baseman Adrian Beltre set to follow. You may be hard-pressed in these parts to find fans advocating for a Yankee to pinch-hit for a member of the Red Sox with the game on the line, especially when one of those Red Sox finished the first half leading the team in batting average.
But still. When you have one of the game's best hitters just sitting on the bench and your squad is poised to make a comeback, why not use him? Perhaps AL manager (and A-Rod's own skipper) Joe Girardi would have used his star third baseman if the tying run had gotten on base, but even so — when Ortiz singles to bring the tying run to the plate with none out, why not give A-Rod the chance to be the hero?
This isn't to say Beltre was not worthy of the opportunity. It was his only at-bat of the game, and he deserved to get in the batter's box just as much as A-Rod or anyone else. Plus, in his only at-bat against National League closer Jonathan Broxton on June 21, 2006, Beltre hit a single.
However, just a few weeks ago, A-Rod went 1-for-1 with a walk the only two times in his career he ever faced Broxton. The walk came with two outs; the single came with one out. He's faced Broxton in pressure situations, and he has shown he can handle it. It's not as though he had never tasted success against Broxton, so it didn't make sense to send him out as a pinch-hitter.
If A-Rod wondered why he didn't get a chance to play, he didn't show it after the game. He wasn't disappointed at all; he shrugged off the benching and emphasized the importance of the games that truly matter.
"This is not my first time here," he told the New York Daily News. "I'll be ready to go Friday. This is a great game for the fans, but I'm looking forward to a great second half."
Home-field advantage in the World Series is nice, but it's unlikely that it will truly be the deciding factor in this year's Fall Classic. A-Rod isn't mourning Tuesday's loss any more than any other player on the AL squad.
But the fact that his own manager didn't give him the chance when it so perfectly presented itself is befuddling. It may not have been the first time A-Rod has been an All-Star, but that doesn't mean he didn't deserve the opportunity to have a moment.
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