DENVER – A year ago, an opportunity wasn’t available for anyone in Major League Baseball. The pandemic took care of that.
The league’s All-Star Game was canceled thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic that delayed the start of the season until late July. It was scheduled to take place at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, but their hosting opportunity was pushed back to 2022.
So what transpired on Tuesday night was something quite amazing, especially since many stadiums around the country haven’t been able to host full capacity until the last two months.
A sold-out crowd greeted the best in the game at Coors Field for an All-Star Game that was a long time in the waiting for the athletes and baseball fans. It was another sign that things are returning to normal in the game after the pandemic-altered 2020 campaign.
“In the dugout, we were talking and saying ‘This is pretty cool,'” said Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant. “We’re back to what the All-Star Game is supposed to look like, and they did a great job.”
Bryant got his shot to take part in plenty of the game, entering in the outfield in the middle of the contest. He had a chance to have a major impact on the game, coming up in the sixth and eighth innings with the bases loaded, but he wasn’t able to provide the big hit.
While a passed ball while he was at-bat got the National League a run in the sixth, he struck out to end that frame then lined out with the bases loaded in the eighth.
He was the only one of the sixth All-Stars from Chicago to get a shot at-bat. Tim Anderson entered the game at shortstop in the final two innings but didn’t get to step to the plate.
Pitchers from each team enjoyed good performances on the mound, with White Sox starter Lance Lynn pitching a scoreless second inning for the American League. Cubs closer Craig Kimbrel allowed a hit but nothing else in his 2/3 of an inning while White Sox closer Liam Hendriks got the save in the bottom half despite allowing two hits.
All of those players have been in the game before, but something was different about Tuesday night.
“Especially when you miss last year, with what we went through, the whole world went through, then to be back in front of a full house in a game like this, it’s an honor to be here for sure,” said Lynn.
Only Carlos Rodon, who was in his first All-Star Game after an outstanding first half, didn’t get the chance to participate on Tuesday night. But first-time selection Anderson did, and he realized how special it was to have things come back to normal.
“It was dope, just dope. Just a real dope experience,” said Anderson. “We missed it last year, and for everybody to come back together and reunite, definitely was pretty cool.”
While also being normal, which in 2021 makes it even more significant.