Daily Sports: The ESPYs & All-Star Lore On Wednesday

Live events go dark for a couple days, as major league baseball action doesn’t resume until Friday. The showcase event of the daily sports docket for Wednesday is the presentation of the annual ESPY awards. ESPN will start coverage at 7 PM ET, with a two-hour buildup, and then the award show itself begins at 9 PM ET.

I’d like to tell you that I care even remotely about the ESPYs—or that I have any idea about who the nominees for the awards are. I’d like to tell you that, but I really don’t care and have no clue. Actually I’m not even sure why I’d like to tell you I know. But if you do know and care, you’ve got something to watch tonight.

I find the MLB Network feature at 7 PM ET a little more interesting. Bob Costas hosts a half-hour special that look back on three memorable All-Star Games, from 1964, 1970 and 1999. The game in ’70 was where Cincinnati Reds’ third baseman Pete Rose came barreling down on Oakland A’s catcher Ray Fosse and separated Fosse’s shoulder in a collision at the plate.

For years this has been treated as some kind of model of how players should care about the All-Star Game, rather than an example of hyper-competitiveness run amok in an exhibition game. I like Rose and think he should be in the Hall of Fame (though his lifetime ban for gambling was correct), but this was absurd.

The 1999 game offers better memories, at least for those of us who are Red Sox fans. The ’99 Classic was at Fenway Park. After an emotional pregame ceremony where a wheel-chair bound Ted Williams greeted current All-Stars, Pedro Martinez took the mound and promptly K’d the first five hitters. Pedro was one of the game’s great pitchers at the height of the steroid era. He’s only a year away from eligibility for Cooperstown and he better make it in.

NFL nostalgia is again back in 1992, and this time it’s in the first round of the playoffs. The Houston Oilers (now the Tennessee Titans) blew a 35-3 third quarter lead to the Buffalo Bills and lost in overtime 41-38. I know as a Sox fan I should say the 2004 ALCS was The Greatest Comeback In Sports History, but coming from behind in a single game under time constraints has to be greater than a series comeback, and the ’92 Bills have my vote. After the ninety-minute showing of the game, there will be a half-hour segment on the team’s season, which ended with their third straight AFC title and Super Bowl defeat.

TheSportsNotebook’s MLB coverage will be locked in on the All-Stars today. I know, to most of the world, that’s yesterday’s news, quite literally. But I view the race for the All-Star team as a season-long process, of which the real prize should be being the best at your position at season’s end, not in the middle. We’ll update how both the American League and National League look.