Why the All Star Game Made Me Proud To Be American

Rory BarnettContributor IJuly 15, 2009

ST LOUIS, MO - JULY 14:  American League All-Star manager Joe Maddon of the Tampa Bay Rays greets National League All-Star manager Charlie Manuel of the Philadelphia Phillies before the 2009 MLB All-Star Game at Busch Stadium on July 14, 2009 in St Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Morry Gash-Pool/Getty Images)

Alright, ladies and gentlemen. We have reached the midpoint of another MLB season. It's time to tally up all those fantasy baseball numbers, then argue with your friends and families about how good your team is and even how bad your team is. Come on, you know who you are. It's friendly competition in the purest form.

Some of my friends live their lives around fantasy baseball. I know one particular person who would call in sick for work when it was time to draft his team. He even went to such distances as texting me several times, hours before he was on the clock. It literally took me a day to delete all the texts he sent to me.

But for me, the midpoint of the season means the start of another All-Star Game. It's the one day of the year when I feel like I'm back in little league watching the game with my dad and betting on which league would win with dimes and nickels. And this year's Mid-Summer Classic was nothing short of awesome.

When I turned the TV on a little after 5 p.m., the pre-show was starting then the screen faded to black. At first, I thought the cable went out and my hands started to shake, but after a couple seconds, our newly elected President Obama appeared and began speaking.

He was thanking the unsung heroes who changed people's lives in the past several years. A short video clip was then shown of how those people made a difference. I can't remember seeing anything like this before an All-Star Game and I thought it was very appropriate, and who better to tell the world how these people have changed other people's lives than our President, who without a doubt changed the direction this country was going in.

A couple minutes later, President Obama jogged out onto the field of the newly opened Busch Stadium in St. Louis to throw out the first pitch. He was greeted with unending cheers despite wearing a Chicago WhiteSox jacket and then threw a slow strike to Cardinals' Albert Pujols. The unfolding history brought tears to my eyes, which I'm not afraid to admit.

Shortly after, the game started, along with thousands of flash bulbs that lit up the warm summer night. The American League won, 4-3, in one of the shortest All-Star games since 1988 and continued the American League streak of winning 12 straight. Tampa Bay's Carl Crawford won the MVP award and became the first non-pitcher to win the title with no RBI since Willie Mays in 1968.

Our national pastime has certainly been under a microscope over the last few years. But the All-Star Game, like baseball, is an American tradition and a tradition I hope will continue for generations to come. Yes, the interleague system has taken away some of its luster, but the All-Star Game will always send chills up my spine, not only because it was the game I grew up on, but because it taught me how to count nickels and dimes.