July 13, 2021

Ohtani Has Me Interested In The ASG For The First Time In Many Years; Huge Cache Of Weapons Discovered In Hotel Near Coors Field

From the time I was a kid and up until some point in the 1990s, I enjoyed the All-Star Game for how its double switches made keeping an accurate scorecard a constant challenge. But I cannot remember the last ASG I watched and scored.

My interest in this mid-season exhibition game has been non-existent for a while, as interleague play destroyed the concept of two separate leagues competing against each other. But when Shohei Ohtani was announced as both the American League starting pitcher and leadoff batter for the 2021 ASG, I was intrigued.

Ohtani leads MLB in home runs (33), slugging percentage (.698), extra bases hits (56), and bunt singles (4), and he's second in OPS (1.062). He's also tied for the AL lead in triples (4).

Ohtani was voted by fans as the starting DH and was selected as a pitcher by the players. AL manager Kevin Cash (of the Rays) explained why Ohtani is starting tonight's exhibition game with the most logical reason possible:

This is what the fans want to see. It's personally what I want to see.

Cash says he "begged" MLB to alter the usual DH rule so that when Ohtani is taken out of the game as a pitcher (assuming he won't throw a complete game!), he will simply become the DH. Other AL pitchers will not bat, but other players can be inserted into the DH spot. The only way the AL would lose the DH is if Ohtani (or a successor DH) were to play a position in the field other than pitcher.

Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers will bat #3 and #5, respectively, for the American League.

Four people (three men and one woman) were arrested in Denver last Friday night after a cache of weapons was discovered in a hotel room a few blocks from Coors Field. Sixteen guns, more than a thousand rounds of ammunition, and body armor were confiscated.

Denver's KMGH-TV reported that one of the suspects "had posted a message on Facebook referencing a recent divorce and saying he was going to 'go out in a big way' according to the multiple law enforcement sources." The Denver Post reported three of the four suspects "have lengthy criminal histories in Colorado". 

The large number of weapons and the location of the room's balcony led police to initially suspect that a "Las Vegas-style" mass shooting had been planned, which might have been connected to the All-Star Game (originally scheduled to be played in Atlanta but moved after Georgia passed a law designed to suppress voting rights). The FBI later downplayed that theory, stating on Sunday that it had "no reason to believe this incident was connected to terrorism or a threat directed at the All-Star Game".

Craig Calcaterra (Cup of Coffee) wonders why, if these people were planning a big drug/weapons transaction, would they decide to do it in a city and at the same time as a huge public event, which would bring with it a larger-than-normal police presence?

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