Kansas City is hosting Major League Baseball's All-Star Game (8 p.m., FOX), but the slogan for the game should be, "Don't mess with Texas."
The American League roster is littered with representatives from the Rangers, who are first in the AL West and a half a game behind the Yankees for the best record in the majors. MVP candidate Josh Hamilton, batting third for the junior circuit, headlines a league-leading eight players from the Rangers representing their team at the Midsummer Classic.
Not that New York lacks for recognition. The Yankees send four players to Kauffman Stadium, including three starters (Derek Jeter, Curtis Granderson and Robinson Cano), while the Mets have two in R.A. Dickey and David Wright - who many feel should be starters.
This year's game ushers in a new generation of stars - 26 of the 72 players are making their first Midsummer Classic appearance, including 19-year-old Nationals phenom Bryce Harper, the youngest All-Star position player ever, and 22-year-old Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton. On the other side of the rookie scale is Dickey, 37, who La Russa said will pitch despite not being named the starter.
The American League has dominated interleague play historically, a dominance reflected in recent All-Star Game results.
The AL went on a 13-year unbeaten streak from 1997 to 2009, although the NL has won the last two. And of course, as MLB frequently reminds us, this exhibition counts.
The winning league gains home-field advantage in the World Series, giving a little extra motivation for players on contending teams.