The All-Star Game was staged at Yankee Stadium, but some real baseball broke out deep in the Bronx night.
It started in the bottom of the seventh inning when J.D. Drew pulled the American League even with a two-run homer. The National League came back with a run in the eighth, but the American League matched them.
Then the exhibition – which is what the All-Star Game usually amounts to – was over and the game was on.
There were big hits and costly errors and great defense and spectacular pitching. Drew was named the Most Valuable Player, but there were plenty of outstanding performances from Mariano Rivera and Joakim Soria and George Sherrill and Scott Kazmir and Dioner Navarro and Nate McLouth and Russell Martin and Miguel Tejada and Ryan Dempster and Aaron Cook and Carlos Marmol and Brandon Webb.
The last seven innings had nothing to do with gaining home-field advantage for the World Series. It came down to two baseball teams that wanted to win. You saw it when McLouth threw out Navarro at the plate in the eleventh and you saw it when Carlos Quentin threw his bat in disgust after striking out with the winning run on second in the thirteenth.
Mostly you saw it when the American Leaguers piled out of the dugout and swarmed Michael Young after he won the game with a sacrifice fly that scored Justin Morneau in the fifteenth.
The All-Star Game was filled with real baseball and it was appreciated in the Bronx.