Boy, was it a bad night for The Tenors.
During their rendition of O Canada prior to the MLB All-Star Game on Tuesday, one member of the Canadian quartet caused a social media furor by changing the lyrics to include a political statement.
And while that represented the negative episode of the evening, the game wasn’t totally overshadowed, producing a lot of good after the first pitch was thrown at Petco Park in San Diego.
Here are some of the best moments from the 87th Midsummer Classic, which saw the American League earn its fourth straight win over the National League:
Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez said prior to the game that if he faced David Ortiz, the right-hander would groove fastballs down the middle of the plate to the Boston Red Sox slugger, who’s retiring after the season.
Did he hold up on his promise? Sort of. Problem was the 40-year-old Ortiz couldn’t catch up to the pitches.
Fernandez grinned and shook his head at Ortiz as he walked to the plate, then proceeded to fire four fastballs between 95-96 mph in the seven-pitch at-bat. Ortiz fouled off three of the heaters before eventually drawing a walk in the final all-star plate appearance of his career.
“My boy told me he was going to throw me nothing but fastballs,” Ortiz told reporters afterward. “The first pitch was a changeup.”
He was removed from the game after reaching first and received an ovation from the crowd and high fives and hugs from his teammates.
While we’re talking about Ortiz, check out his pre-game speech to his AL counterparts. Language Papi!
Passing the torch to Edwin?
The Toronto Blue Jays were well-represented at the all-star game but weren’t able to contribute much in the way of results.
Aaron Sanchez allowed one run on two hits and a walk in a 23-pitch inning, while Josh Donaldson, Edwin Encarnacion and Michael Saunders were hitless in three combined at-bats.
Edwin Encarnacion hits a pop-up on Tuesday. (Gregory Bull/AP)
But we’re gonna be positive tonight and if there’s one nice thing to be gleaned from Toronto’s output, it’s Encarnacion’s entrance to the game. The Blue Jays designated hitter replaced his Dominican countryman Ortiz as a pinch-runner, before going first to third on a Xander Bogaerts double and eventually scoring.
It’s not every day you see Encarnacion relieve someone on the basepaths – it had only happened once in his career – but it’s a nice little tidbit he can tell the grandkids about, having replaced the legendary Ortiz in his final all-star game.
Was it a metaphoric passing of the torch? Ortiz sure hopes so, lobbying after the game for the Red Sox to pursue Encarnacion, who’s an impending free agent.
Here’s Encarnacion’s response:
After Eric Hosmer and fellow Royal Salvador Perez launched home runs in the bottom of the second inning, cameras caught Kansas City manager Ned Yost, also the AL skipper, sporting a huge grin in the dugout.
The reason? The victim of the bombs was former teammate Johnny Cueto, who won the World Series with the Royals last season before joining the San Francisco Giants via free agency.
Eric Hosmer takes Johnny Cueto yard on Tuesday. (Jae C. Hong/AP)
The look on Cueto’s face was one of pure confusion after he allowed the homer to Perez, his former batterymate. That same look is one that Perez, Hosmer and Yost saw often in 2015 as Cueto was an enigma on the mound down the stretch and in the playoffs for Kansas City.
Hosmer, by the way, was named MVP of the game that secured home-field advantage for the AL in the World Series. He knows its importance, as the Royals were benefactors of that in the last two Fall Classics.
All the way up
Much has been made about MLB’s new slide rule that was introduced this season. Colorado Rockies all-star Carlos Gonzalez looks like he’s been paying attention and decided to have some fun with it.
When Gonzalez was retired on a fielder’s choice at second base, he slid into the bag with his spikes up – all the way up – on Jose Altuve.
Check out the leg extension:
The five-foot-six Altuve got a close look at CarGo’s neon cleats, but gave his fellow Venezuelan a pass.
No Rougned Odor-esque fisticuffs here, folks.
Tribute to Tony
With the all-star game taking place in San Diego, it needed to include some sort of tribute to the late Tony Gwynn. MLB did that in a giant way Tuesday.
Affectionately known as Mr. Padre, the Hall of Famer spent his entire 20-year career with the club, winning eight batting titles. He died in 2014 after a battle with salivary gland cancer.
His family was brought on the field prior to the game as it was announced that the NL batting title will now officially be known as the Tony Gwynn award.
The AL award was named after Hall of Famer Rod Carew, he of the seven career batting titles.