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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We'll see if Watson is in pads on Tuesday. Photo courtesy of the Houston Texans.

The Houston Texans had their last practice before pads come on for the first time on Tuesday. There was plenty to see on Monday.

1. Deshaun Watson had his usual extremely light level of work. He did very little throwing to teammates, though he did throw to the tight ends in 1-on-1 drills.

2. Texans head coach David Culley said "nothing has changed" when asked if Deshaun Watson will be in pads Tuesday. Culley has maintained that answer for a couple of sessions now.

3. Quarterback Tyrod Taylor was back after missing Saturday with an excused personal day. Taylor has been the best quarterback in camp by a wide margin. Taylor makes better decisions with the football than other quarterbacks, but he does struggle on deeper passes. Taylor missed wildly on one deep ball and was a little wobbly on another.

4. Nobody in camp can cover wide receiver Brandin Cooks. This could be the easiest training camp of his life. He easily gets open in 1-on-1 situations.

5. Rookie wide receiver Nico Collins continues to flash his abilities in camp. Collins easily shook loose from defensive back John Reid and took the route vertical for an easy score. Collins later had a tough catch in traffic.

6. It's only been a few days, but the competition for inside wide receiver reps is tough. Former Bears wideout Anthony Miller has looked quick and nothing like the "draft bust" the Bears fans watched. Keke Coutee has rarely lost a rep, but Desmond King did win a few times over Coutee in the opening days of camp. Former Bengals wideout Alex Erickson finds himself constantly open. The cuts at wide receiver are already shaking out to be difficult.

7. Davis Mills bounced back in a sense that he couldn't be worse than he was on Saturday. The performance from Mills on Saturday was abysmal, but head coach David Culley said he liked how Mills responded today. With Tyrod Taylor back, there were fewer reps for Mills, but he had some impressive throws to go along with an off-target throw or two. Mills was far better than Jeff Driskel on Monday. Driskel tossed two interceptions right to defenders, including one that would've gone the wrong way for a score.

8. This linebacker group is interesting. With a new defensive scheme under Lovie Smith, the type of linebacker is very different from previous years. There was a clear emphasis on cover ability as these linebackers were added to the team.

9. Kamu Grugier-Hill and Kevin Pierre-Louis have both had some significant wins for the linebackers in coverage.

10. Rookie tight end Brevin Jordan looks the part physically, but he's had a rough few days, including a drop on Monday.

11. With the pads coming on Tuesday, it will be fun to watch the rebuilt defensive line clash with the many combinations of the offensive line. There will be no J.J. Watt who historically stirred up the team on day one of pads. Laremy Tunsil's cool confidence about the offensive line over the weekend leads me to believe they are a confident group, while there are spots to be won on the defensive side of the line.

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