Marlon Byrd showed the world why he deserves to be an all-star.
Byrd worked a quality at-bat in the seventh inning by drawing an eight-pitch walk ahead of the bases-clearing double by Atlanta’s Brian McCann and also contributed defensively. While the diving effort on New York Yankees’ Derek Jeter in the sixth inning was not enough, the Cubs lone representative in the All-Star Game continued to play the game the way he’s always played: the right way. In the ninth inning, Byrd tracked down a blooper off the bat of Toronto’s John Buck and made an acrobatic throw to second base to force Boston’s David Ortiz for the second out. Many fans around the country may have been surprised by that play, but Cubs fans have been able to get used to that kind of defense from Byrd.
After the final out of the game was recorded, Cubs fans were treated to another familiar sight — though one that hasn’t been familiar enough — Byrd leaped into the air and collided with two of his teammates to celebrate the win. Only this time, it wasn’t Kosuke Fukudome and Alfonso Soriano jumping with him, but rather Houston’s Michael Bourn and Arizona’s Chris Young.
With the 3-1 win in the All-Star Game, the National League has home field advantage in the World Series for the first time since 2001. Sadly, the Cubs seem unlikely to be able to take advantage of it.
Closing out the first half of the season trailing the Cincinnati Reds by 9 1/2 games in the division, the Cubs have found themselves entering the second half as 80/1 longshots to win the pennant. The more likely scenario is that the team will be sellers at the trading deadline, hoping to move some of the big contracts by the end of the year and looking forward to 2011 and beyond.
About the Author
Written by Eddie Kim