The National League has dominated the All-Star Game to the point of embarrassing the American League fans, the news media and some of the players. But there are some in the AL who still aren't impressed.
Billy Martin, the New York Yankee manager who was the skipper of the losing squad this year, said, "it's really no big tragedy. I just refuse to believe that because the American League has lost six straight and 14 of the last 15 (the score now is NL 29, AL 18, with one tie), one league is better than the other.
"If you want to use the kind of logic, then look at the World Series games in which the American League has a big edge over the National League. But even that proves nothing."
Sparky Anderson, the Cincinnati manager who piloted the National League squad, waxed enthusiastic after his team's 7-5 triumph.
"This is why baseball has the only real All-Star Game in the business," he said. "There was excitement in this game right up to the finish. The All-Star Game is not played just for fun.The idea is to win."
Some of the AL players, at least, seem to look at the game differently, but Carl Yastrzemski isn't one of them. "We (the American Leaguers) just don't put out and give this game the attention the National Leaguers do 55 he said. "I just don't like to lose at anything."
An assortment of awards accompanies selection for an All-Star Game. The players are given a variety of gifts and are treated like visiting royalty. Each player receives an oil portrait of himself along with such other mementos as his personal All-Star bat and ring.
The NL players were amused at the fierce reaction of the Yankee Stadium fans. Joe Morgan of the Cincinnati Reds was the target of a storm of boos when he was introduced. Morgan enjoyed it.
"The New York fans have a lot of fun," he said, "and that's what it's all about. I don't mind them giving me the treatment."
But for Pete Rose, the New York "treatment" is something else. In the 1973 playoffs between the Reds and the Mets at Shea Stadium. Rose slid into second base, and he and Bud Harrelson, the Mets' shortstop, began trumbling all over the infield. Harrelson thought that Rose, "Mr. Hustle," had slid too hard. So did the Met fans, who littered Rose's left field position with anything they could get their hands on, in protest.
Rose also is the man who separated American League catcher Ray Fosse from most of his equipment in another All-Star game. There was no fight there. Fosse was out with broken bones for half of the season. The odd thing is that Rose was Fosse's guest the night before.
"Pete Rose is a kamikaze players," said pitcher Don Sutton, the most valuable player in Tuesday night's game. "Pete knows only one way to play - give it all he's got."
But the New York fans have long memories. It is an axiom in New York that Met and Yankee fans are breeds apart. It's like the Chicago situation where the fans on the South Side root for the White Sox and those on the North Side for the Cubs.
However, Rose was treated to several rounds of boos nan in Yankee Stadium when he was introduced and again when he entered the game. The Met fans, whom he once called "animals" had help in their chorus of derision.
The formal for the All-Star Game may change by the time the two leagues meet in San Diego next year. The AL currently has 14 teams and the NL 12.
Martin thinks it's unfair for the American Leauge All-Star squad to be limited to 28 members.He thinks that because the AL has more teams, it should have more players. Anderson is willing to expand the All-Star squads to 40 because he says a manager never is able to play all the people he would like to.
Anderson didn't play his own man, outfielder Ken Griffey, Tuesday. "But it's better that way," he said. "I don't have to apoligize to the 11 other teams in the National League for not using their players."
George Scott of the Boston Red Sox, who homered in the ninth inning, thinks the All-Star vote should be taken away from the fans. "The whole thing has got to change if the American League expects to win," he says. "The fans don't know anything but statistics. They're not qualified to pick the lineups."
And so it will go on and on and on.