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"We don't lose to that league," Rose and Steve Garvey and Willie Stargell and the rest would always say, usually peppered with some saltier talk than that.

The closest we have now is Ichiro, who before every All-Star Game he ever has played in delivers a similarly impassioned address on league pride to his teammates -- in English, no less.

But league pride is almost beside the point now. Some year, the NL ought to worry about league dignity.

"One of these years," Phillies second baseman Chase Utley said, "it's going to change around, and there's no reason why it can't be this year."

It would seem to be a tough year to ask for that kind of turnaround, with a freakish American League lineup starting things off, with Francisco Rodriguez and Jonathan Papelbon and Joe Nathan stacked like cordwood waiting for the NL in the middle innings, with the great Mariano Rivera waiting in reserve.

"The weirdest thing will be when I walk in the stadium," Varitek said, "and remembering to go right instead of left."

There will be lots of odd images like that, Red Sox dressing in Yankees lockers, Terry Francona killing time in Joe Girardi's office, cheers for anything positive turned in by the likes of Dustin Pedroia or Kevin Youkilis or J.D. Drew.

All of this with Yankee Stadium providing the backdrop for this game, one that, all these hours before first pitch, already feels like it belongs to the ages.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: July 16, 2008

St. Louis Cardinals News

News » League pride, home field on line tonight 2008-07-15

League pride, home field on line tonight 2008-07-15

League pride, home field on line tonight 2008-07-15
For all of them, there will be distinct segments to the evening's festivities. There will be the wide-eyed gaze all of them will take onto the field with them, the little boys locked within their hearts finally realizing: Holy cow, here I am playing in an All-Star Game in Yankee Stadium . . .

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