Selig says All-Star show was 'remarkable'
St. Louis puts on 'four great' days for Midsummer Classic
ST. LOUIS -- Commissioner Bud Selig pronounced the 2009 All-Star Game experience as "four great, triumphant days for baseball."
It was an impressive show, lacking only the happy ending for hometown National League fans. The American League won the All-Star Game, 4-3, on Tuesday night at Busch Stadium. But it was an All-Star-caliber contest, featuring a close, dramatic game -- and at least one play for the ages, when Tampa Bay's Carl Crawford took a home run away from Colorado's Brad Hawpe in the seventh inning, helping to determine the outcome.
"Everybody involved was great -- the players, the people of St. Louis, all of the fans," Selig said. "It was a wonderful experience."
It wasn't merely the game that attracted attention. The All-Star FanFest drew what Selig indicated was record attendance. The streets of downtown St. Louis were packed much of the time, but pleasantly packed. A kind of benign baseball spirit was in the air.
"When you're in St. Louis, you expect these sorts of things," Selig said. "This is an absolutely remarkable, remarkable baseball town.
"Just driving around St. Louis the last 48 hours, there is no other sport that could bring out this sort of thing. My God, wherever you go, it's all red; it's like the Red Sea parting. The interest is just remarkable."
The Commissioner said that people had told him they had never witnessed anything like the unprecedented pregame ceremonies. It was a five-president night for Major League Baseball. President Obama threw out the first pitch. And the four living Americans who previously held the nation's highest office all appeared through scoreboard videos, extolling the virtues of public service, in connection with the "All-Stars Among Us" program. The bipartisan nature of the event kept the politics at arm's length, and the appearance of five presidents in one way or another underscored the importance of the event.
For some fans, the fact that the NL has not won an All-Star Game in 13 years might be seen as a drawback. But it is not a minus for the Commissioner.
"Oh, these things go in streaks," Selig said. "You remember when the American League couldn't win? Now it can't lose. These things are cyclical."
Mike Bauman is a national columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.