All-Star games in any sport pit the best of the best against each other in a rather loose display of professionalism. Normally what you get is a group of guys looking to to just make it out of the day un-injured. In baseball, however, with home field advantage in the Wold Series on the line, guys come out looking to play and looking to win.
Or at least the National League All-Stars did on Tuesday night.
The N.L. Squad, managed by the retired Tony La Russa, came out swinging hard, putting up five runs in the first inning and setting the tone for the game. With the early lead, pitching became the center of attention as the American League was held scoreless for the first time since the NL's 6-0 win in 1996 at Philadelphia.
"It's very disappointing, because we're competitors and we want to win," said AL manager Ron Washington, who lost for the second straight year. "They came out. They swung the bats. Once they got the lead, started bringing those arms in their hand, and they got the job done."
The NL may have had a little extra motivation to start the game as Chipper Jones was asked to give the pregame speech to the squad. Jones, 40, is retiring at season's end and was emotional about his last All-Star appearance -- sharing that before the game.
"I was glad Tony asked me to say something," Jones said. "I just wanted the guys to know that nothing is a given. You don't know when your last one is going to be. Don't miss this opportunity."
Melky Cabrera, nicknamed “the Melk-Man”, came away with the MVP award. He went 2-3 with a home run in the stadium he played in last season. He was cheered heavily when he received the award with his mother by his side.
"I didn't come to win an MVP. That's just a surprise," Cabrera said. "The same opportunity that Kansas City gave me last year is the same opportunity that San Francisco is giving me every day to showcase my talent. Again, I'm just very thankful for the fans that voted for me to come here."
The win marked the NL's third straight over the AL who has dominated as a whole in the past quarter century. Overall, the NL has won six games in that stretch.
James LeBeau is a sports contributor for CraveOnline Sports and you can follow him on Twitter @JleBeau76 or subscribe on Facebook.com/CraveOnlineSports.
Photo Credit: AP