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Submitted by Jim Hurley’s Network on Monday, July 13, 2015 at 9:24 AM

THE BASEBALL UPDATE: IT'S ALL-STAR GAME TIME IN CINCINNATI AND WE GET YOU A.S.G. TRIVIA PLUS MUCH, MUCH MORE

By Jim Hurley:

We've come upon the notion that these days you either love the Major-League Baseball All-Star Game and all its trimmings ... or you hate it.

Call us purists or traditionalists - what have you - but we preferred the All-Star Games of old where there was a serious will to win by both the National League and the American League and people worried less about "Home Run Hitting Contests" and "home field advantages".

And for many folks, these next few days have long been considered a "slow news week" 'round baseball but how can that be this time around with long-time Cincinnati Reds star Pete Rose hogging up lots of the hot air ... hope you caught that breaking news that rapper Snoop Dogg thinks Rose deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. Thanks, Dogg!

Hey, if nothing else, this is a much-needed break time for a slew of MLB teams as Baltimore's lost eight of its last 10 games, Houston's dropped six in a row, Atlanta's lost its last five straight and "contenders" Detroit and Arizona each entered this All-Star Game break on painful three-game losing streaks. Enjoy the down time, gents!

In any event, let's have some All-Star Game trivia fun for a few moments in today's laid-back edition of Jim Sez ... forget all your hardball worries and see how you do with this 10-question All-Star Game Trivia Test. All the answers are listed at the very bottom of this Jim Sez column. Good luck:

ALL-STAR GAME TRIVIA TEST

  1. Who won the All-Star Game and the MVP the last time the All-Star Game was held in Cincinnati?
  2. How many All-Star Games did Pete Rose play in during his career?
  3. Who is the only MLB pitcher to allow three home runs in a single All-Star Game?
  4. Who are the three MLB pitchers to have started a record five All-Star Games?
  5. In the 1999 All-Star Game in Boston, then-Red Sox RHP Pedro Martinez set an A.S.G. record by striking out the first four batters he faced ... can who name his K "victims"?
  6. What pitcher finished - but not necessarily "saved" - more All-Star Games than anyone in the game's history?
  7. Who were the winning and losing pitchers in the All-Star Game played 10 years ago (see July 12, 2005)?
  8. Go ahead and name the five players that have each hit two home runs in a single All-Star Game.
  9. Who is the only player in All-Star Game history to record an inside-the-park home run?
  10. Finally, so everyone knows that 30 years ago in the 1983 All-Star Game, OF Fred Lynn smacked the only grand slam in A.S.G. history and everyone knows San Francisco LHP Atlee Hammaker surrendered the grand slam ... but what AL players were on base when Lynn "went yard" for his grand salami?

Again, the answers below in today's Jim Sez column.

In other MLB News & Notes ...
Hey, talk about your psychological blows as the Houston Astros (49-42) - who took over first place in the American League West way back on April 19th - go into the break a half-game back of the Los Angeles Angels (48-40) after the 'Stros got swept in a three-game series in Tampa Bay 3-1, 3-0 and 4-3.

Sure, this is the first time in 10 years that Houston hit the break with a winning record but don't you know that it must feel as if the proverbial bottom fell out when first place (for now) slipped through Astro hands following the Angels' rollicking 10-3 win in Seattle on Sunday ...

Meanwhile, from the "go figure" department we get to the All-Star Game and here's the Los Angeles Dodgers (51-39) sitting there with a 4.5-game lead over the defending World Series champion San Francisco Giants - tied for the largest lead of any division leader in the bigs. Not bad considering the Dodgers' LHP Clayton Kreshaw has just six wins and the post-All Star Game rotation is in a state of flux now that Kershaw's been named a late replacement for Washington's Max Scherzer who will attend the Tuesday night game in Cincinnati but won't pitch after nabbing a 3-2 win at Baltimore on Sunday afternoon ...

Finally, maybe you noticed how the unofficial first half of the MLB ended and that's with a lot of "say what" folks walloping home runs including three dingers by New York Mets OF Kirk Nieuwenhuis who crushed three homers in a 5-3 sweep-sealing win against the Arizona Diamondbacks - yes, the first time in Mets' history one of their players had three homers at home, if you can believe that factoid - and then there was New York Yankees 2B Rob Refsnyder who hit his first-ever big-league homer (a two-run job) in the top of the ninth inning of Sunday's 8-6 win at Boston and last but not least was Chicago Cubs RHP Jake Arrieta who not only surrendered just one run on two hits in a 3-1 complete-game win against the cross-town Chicago White Sox but he unloaded a home run leading off the fifth inning that was the cherry-on-top for a Cubs team that enters the break at 47-40 and with the fifth-best record in the National League.

Folks, that's right, if the season ended today the Cubs would play at the Pittsburgh Pirates (hey, don't the Buccos always these one-game wild card games?) for the right to get into the divisional round.
Now that's something to look forward to, right Cubs Nation?


Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers are banging outs lots of winners in Major-League Baseball these days and all you need to do is check in either right here online or via our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 any time after 1 p.m. Eastern time for the weeknight action, after 11 a.m. ET for weekday games and after 10 a.m. ET for the baseball winners. Plus, the Football Season isn't far off as NFL Preseason action swings into gear on August 9th with the NFL Hall of Fame Game between the Pittsburgh Steelers versus the Minnesota Vikings - can't wait, right?

 

ALL-STAR GAME TRIVIA TEST ANSWERS

  1. On July 12, 1988, in the last All-Star Game played in the city of Cincinnati, the American League snared a 2-1 win against the National League as Oakland A's catcher Terry Steinbach homered and hit a sacrifice fly en route to copping the game's MVP trophy.
  2. Pete Rose was a 17-time All-Star as he played in the Midsummer Classics in 1965, 1967-71, 1973-82 and 1985.
  3. Baltimore Orioles RHP Jim Palmer allowed three home runs in the 1977 All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium as Cincinnati's Joe Morgan and Philadelphia's Greg Luzinski blasted first-inning dingers and Los Angeles Dodgers' Steve Garvey cranked out a third-inning homer off Palmer who was the losing pitcher in the NL's 7-5 win.
  4. The three pitchers tied with a record five All-Star Game starts are Don Drysdale, Lefty Gomez and Robin Roberts - and note Drysdale faced an All-Star Game record 69 batters in his illustrious A.S.G. career.
  5. In the '99 All-Star Game, Boston's Pedro Martinez started off his night by striking out four consecutive NL batters - they were SS Barry Larkin, OF Larry Walker, OF Sammy Sosa and 1B Mark McGwire.
  6. Hall of Fame reliever Rich "Goose" Gossage finished six All-Star Games in his career and - in case you were wondering - New York Yankees icon Mariano Rivera does own the All-Star Game saves mark with four.
  7. In the All-Star Game 10 years ago played at Comerica Park in Detroit, the AL snagged a 7-5 win as lefty Mark Buehrle earned the win and the NL's John Smoltz suffered the loss.
  8. The five players that each have whacked two home runs in an All-Star Game are ... Gary Carter, Willie McCovey, Al Rosen, Arky Vaughan and Ted Williams.
  9. Ichiro Suzuki - who copped the 2007 All-Star Game MVP - hit an inside the park home run in that year's game and still remains the only player to register an inside-the-parker in A.S. G. history.
  10. Finally, in the rather famous 1983 All-Star Game - played on July 6 at Comisky Field in Chicago - Fred Lynn hit the only grand slam in All-Star Game history as he went deep against San Francisco's Atlee Hammaker. Lynn's third-inning blast scored the following AL All-Stars: Manny Trillo, Red Carew and pinch-hitter Robin Yount.

NOTE: Lots of NCAA Football and NFL News & Notes coming your way later this week in Jim Sez.