MIDSUMMER CLASSIC

Former Astros great reflects on his first All-Star Game

Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images.

As everyone knows by now, the MLB All-Star Game has been canceled. It was to be the first Mid-Summer Classic to take place at Dodger Stadium since 1980. The L.A. based Fox production crew was certain to relish the opportunity to produce the action, merely cutting over unto the 110 freeway nearby. The storylines were to be rich, especially with our Astros returning to fertile ground where they claimed the 2017 World Series crown. The reaction from the capacity crowd was sure to be a storyline when members of H-Town appeared between the lines. We'll now have to wait to see the Dodger Stadium backdrop on September 12th & 13th, during a brief two-game series during the Astros upcoming regular season.

On Tuesday, I had an opportunity to speak to former pitcher, manager & broadcaster, Larry Dierker. We started going down memory lane with past All-Star Games in the air. His first ASG appearance occurred a mere three days after Neil Armstrong walked on the Moon.

SportsMap: What do you remember about your first All-Star Game?

Larry Dierker: That day (July 23rd, 1969) we got to visit the White House and meet Richard Nixon. He knew a lot about the game. He even knew the standings, the starting lineups, and all about the individual players.

SM: What was the atmosphere like inside R.F.K. Stadium?

LD: Well, prior to the game, Willie Mays hit 10-straight homers in a row during batting practice. The standing ovation went for over 5 minutes. By the time (Steve) Carlton took the mound for us, it had already been a special night.

SM: What about the actual game? What stood out for you?

LD: I came in during the 8th inning. I gave up a jam shot single to Boog Powell and then retired Reggie Smith on a pop up. We had the contest in hand, and then we won 9-3.


In all probability, the Dodgers will capture the 2022 ASG bid. No harm, no foul. And for the baseball enthusiast longing for MLB contests, the countdown is on!

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The Texans didn't have an answer for Derrick Henry. Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

Romeo Crennel made a valorous call that might have costed the Houston Texans from winning their second consecutive game on Sunday. Up by seven with 1:50 left in the fourth quarter, Crennel decided to call a two-point conversion following Deshaun Watson's one-yard touchdown pass to Brandin Cooks.

During the two-point conversion, Watson had a look at an open Randall Cobb, but Titans' defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons got a hand on the ball to deflect the pass. The failed conversion allowed the Titans to take a 42-36 victory over the Texans inside Nissan Stadium. Tennessee scored 13 unanswered points, which included a seven-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Tannehill to A.J. Brown to send the game into overtime.

"I think I would do it again," Crennel said during his media availability on Monday. "You are on the road against a divisional opponent who is undefeated, and if you could get that two-point conversion — you shut the door on them. We had a guy open, but unfortunately, the ball got tipped and we did not make it. I would do it again because it was a good choice."

The decision to not kick the field goal caused somewhat of an uproar, but it is understandable why Crennel made the call. Crennel had faith in Watson to put the Texans in a position to close the game, similar to his 4th-and-4 call during last week's victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars.

In the end, Crennel's risky decisions could stem from the lack of faith he has in the Texans' depleted defense.

Houston's defense hit an all-time low against the Titans. They gave up a franchise-worst 601 total yards — with Derrick Henry accounting for 212 yards on 22 carries. But despite their struggles against the run, the Texans' secondary were just as faulty. They gave up a total of 338 yards through the air and allowed Tannehill to go 8-for-9 down the field during the Titans' final drive of regulation.

Had Houston's defense made a stop during the closing seconds of the fourth quarter, the Texans could have ended the game 2-0 under their interim head coach.

"I wanted to go ahead and get the two points — I felt like that would have put the game out of reach for them," Crennel said. "If we had gotten it, we would have been in much better shape. But we did not get it. We did not perform well in overtime, and they [Titans] won the game."

Following Sunday's heartbreaking loss, Texans safety Justin Reid said it best, "Had we converted on the two-point conversion, this would be a totally different conversation. So it is what it is."

Up next, the 1-5 Texans will look to bounce back from defeat against the 4-1 Green Bay Packers, inside NRG Stadium on Sunday. Kick-off is at 12:00 PM CT.

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