San Francisco Giants: How the 2012 MLB All-Star Game Changes Things
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First, there were four Giants starting in the game, more then any other team.
Second, all four Giants contributed to the National League's 8-0 shellacking of the American League, giving the NL the home field advantage for the third consecutive year.
Giants left fielder Melky Cabrera had two hits, including a two-run homer and won the game's MVP award, along with a shiny new red Corvette convertible.
The Panda, Pablo Sandoval, shut up the critics of his election as the starting third baseman by hitting a bases-clearing triple in the NL's five-run first inning.
And Giants starter Matt Cain only allowed a leadoff infield single in his two innings of shutout ball, picking up the win.
It was pretty much the Giants on parade in the mid-summer classic.
But the All Star game changed some things for the Giants in some big ways.
It changed Cabrera's life in a big way. He went from least-known .353 hitter in baseball history to All Star Game MVP. This will cost the Giants in their negotiations with Cabrera to the tune of potentially millions of dollars.
Prior to last night, Cabrera's feats were largely unknown outside of Kansas City, New York and San Francisco. All that has changed.
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It also changed things for the Giants Kung Fu Panda, Sandoval.
If you follow the Giants, you know that Pablo is one hell of a hitter. You saw how he turned a curve ball from Justin Verlander that almost hit the ground into a three run triple.
But one thing Sandoval hasn't excelled in is hitting in the clutch. This year, he's hitting .307 overall but only .269 with runners in scoring position. With runners in scoring position and two outs, that drops to .227. With the bases loaded he's 0-4.
Lifetime he's a .304 hitter, but that drops to .260 with RISP and .236 with RISP and two outs.
This was Pablo's first chance to excel on the big stage.
We all know how badly 2010 went for Sandoval, as he was relegated to a pinch hitter in the postseason.
Last night's hit in such a big game could be just what the doctor ordered to help Pablo relax more in those situations.
Not everyone is Buster Posey, born with ice water in their veins.
There was one last thing that the 2012 All Star Game did for the Giants organization.
An outpouring of support at the ballot box by fans got Cabrera elected, as he moved from fourth to first among outfielders in the final week. The improbable election of Sandoval and Posey getting an All Star record 7.6 million votes, will make a difference for the Giants as they recruit free agents.
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All players want to play where they're wanted. Giants fans have proven what many of us already know; they are, perhaps, the best and most loyal fans in all of baseball.
Sure, the fans on the east coast are more rabid—almost to the point of insanity in some people's eyes.
But San Francisco Giants fans love their players. And they support them by showing up to the games, voting in things like the All Star Game balloting and following the team on the road.
Granted, it has gotten much better since the World Series win, but this team has had a loyal fan base ever since the Giants got a good ballpark to play in back in 2000.
So, yes, the All Star Game was an important one for the Giants. And it was a hell of a lot of fun to watch if you're a Giants fan.
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