Here’s the approximate rundown for who and what was mentioned during Tuesday night’s Fox broadcast of the 2014 Major League Baseball All-Star Game:
Derek Jeter: 100 times (and here they all are).
“Gotham”: 47 times.
Pepsi, now with “real” sugar (which, as I see it, is a frightening realization over what we were drinking before): 17 times.
The late Tony Gwynn: Zero.
What a complete embarrassment. So focused and one-minded were Fox producers on bringing the calm eyes of the retiring Derek Jeter - playing in his final All-Star Game - into your living room that not once, really, not once, did they bring up the untimely death last month of one of the best hitters to ever play the game, a 15-time All-Star himself. Bud Selig got his two minutes with Ken Rosenthal, and the outgoing commissioner would like you to forget how he ignored steroids and that he’s really sorry for canceling the World Series in 1994 and all, but he’s pleased to have what he called “22 years of labor peace” under his belt.
Meanwhile, in the booth, Harold Reynolds couldn’t take his lips off Jeter’s behind for one second to mention the former Padres outfielder? Hell, Reynolds played in the same All-Star Game with Gwynn in 1987. That didn't have any relevance?
Fox was so caught up in Jeter-mania, product placement, and who was going to win that new car with the MVP Award that eventually Gwynn’s absence was glaring and marred the abhorrent coverage of the game. The lone acknowledgement came from Baltimore’s Adam Jones, who had Gwynn’s initials and number etched on his hat. Fox’s Rosenthal Tweeted out the photo.
Photo of Jones' cap. pic.twitter.com/ME561pxBy9— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 16, 2014
And yes, that’s it. Amazingly.
Think the Padres are upset? At 1:07 a.m., about 90 minutes after the American League beat the National League, 5-3, Gwynn’s former team sent out the following, cryptic message:
Padres pitcher Huston Street was the team’s lone representative. He didn't make it into the game. Nor did the patch he and his teammates are wearing this season in honor of Gwynn.
"Obviously Tony Gwynn's a huge part of the game and it would've been something cool to see but it didn't happen," Street told Yahoo Sports. "I've been at six other ballparks around the league where they've done one. I don't think there's any short of remembrance for Tony.”
Former Yankees owner George Steinbrenner died on the DAY of the All-Star Game in 2010, and he got a moment of silence that night. Gwynn, who died on June 16? Not a peep.
There had to be some direct order, right? How does Fox go three-plus hours without breathing word of one of the sport’s most devastating losses this season? If it’s because the use of smokeless tobacco, the cause of the cancer that cost Gywnn his life, is on the table for the next collective bargaining agreement, then shame on everybody; baseball for allowing a controversial issue to butt its way into showing honor and respect where it’s deserved, and for Fox for kowtowing to such ridiculous directive. If it was simply an oversight, well we hope all the Jeter pre-planning meetings were worth it.
As the game wore on, you figured something, anything was coming. A seventh-inning moment of silence? Nope, sorry, country music “star” Joe Nichols will slaughter “God Bless America” instead. Maybe Erin Andrews would add something of substance? Ha. Have fun with that, NFL. Street could get into the game, and the conversation in the booth might shift from MVP talk to Gwynn. Didn’t happen. Maybe that will be Fox’s lame excuse in the end.
And so, Major League Baseball and Fox bade an All-Star farewell to one of its greatest players by stomping on the memory of another one of its greatest players.
It was a complete lack of respect on a night sold on re2pect.