The MLB All-Star Game is back after a one-year hiatus because of the coronavirus pandemic last season, and it’s being ushered in with a bit of history, thanks to breakout star Shohei Ohtani.
The Los Angeles Angels phenom is the first player in MLB history named as an All-Star as both a position player and a pitcher. There were a number of two-way players in the Negro Leagues that most certainly would have been All-Stars had they been allowed to play in the majors, including three Hall of Famers: “Bullet Joe” Rogan, Martín Dihigo, and Leon Day.
Ohtani will get the start for the American League, and will face off against Washington Nationals ace Max Scherzer, who edged out Phillies pitcher Zack Wheeler as the National League’s starter. Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto is also on the National League’s All-Star roster as a reserve player.
Calling this year’s Midsummer Classic for FOX is longtime announcer Joe Buck, who is hated by many Philadelphia sports fans for various reasons even though his stat guy grew up in Roxborough and graduated from Villanova. It’s Buck’s 22nd time calling the All-Star Game, alongside Hall of Fame pitcher John Smoltz for the fifth straight season.
Buck and Smoltz will interview Ohtani midgame through a translator, one day after ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith was forced to apologize for saying the star’s language skills are a hindrance to the league’s popularity.
FOX Sports is also looking to juice up its broadcast with tech upgrades, including broadcasting the All-Star Game for the first time in 4K. FOX is also deploying a pair of the “Megalodon” cameras that drew praise from fans and critics during the NFL season.
As far as TV ratings, FOX is hoping for a turnaround from 2019, when the broadcast drew an estimated 8.14 million viewers, the lowest audience ever for the All-Star Game. According to Sports Media Watch, the event has set record low TV audience ratings in seven of the last ten seasons.
2021 MLB All-Star Game
When: Tuesday, July 13
Where: Coors Field, Denver
Time: 7:30 p.m.
TV: FOX (Joe Buck, John Smoltz, Ken Rosenthal, Tom Verducci)
Spanish: FOX Deportes (Adrian Garcia Marquez, Carlos Alvarez, and Edgar Gonzalez)
Streaming: FOX Sports app (requires cable authentication), FuboTV, Hulu + Live TV, YouTube TV, Sling TV, AT&T Now (all require a subscription).
FOX Sports kicks off its live coverage at 7 p.m. with a pregame show hosted by Kevin Burkhardt alongside analysts Alex Rodriguez, Frank Thomas, David Ortiz, and Tom Rinaldi. The crew will be on-site at Coors Field, another step toward a return to post-pandemic normalcy.
All-Star Game rosters
C: Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants
1B: Freddie Freeman, Atlanta Braves
2B: Adam Frazier, Pittsburgh Pirates
3B: Nolan Arenado, St. Louis Cardinals
SS: Fernando Tatis Jr., San Diego Padres
OF: Ronald Acuña Jr., Atlanta Braves
OF: Nick Castellanos, Cincinnati Reds
OF: Jesse Winker, Cincinnati Reds
C: J.T. Realmuto, Philadelphia Phillies
2B: Ozzie Albies, Atlanta Braves
3B: Kris Bryant, Chicago Cubs
SS: Brandon Crawford, San Francisco Giants
2B: Jake Cronenworth, San Diego Padres
3B: Eduardo Escobar, Arizona Cardinals
1B: Max Muncy, Los Angeles Dodgers
SS: Trea Turner, Washington Nationals
OF: Mookie Betts, Los Angeles Dodgers
OF: Bryan Reynolds, Pittsburgh Pirates
OF: Kyle Schwarber, Washington Nationals (injured)
OF: Juan Soto, Washington Nationals
OF: Chris Taylor, Los Angeles Dodgers
Corbin Burnes, Milwaukee Brewers
Yu Darvish, San Diego Padres
Jacob deGrom, New York Mets
Kevin Gausman, San Francisco Giants
Germán Márquez, Colorado Rockies
Trevor Rogers, Miami Marlins
Zack Wheeler, Philadelphia Phillies
Brandon Woodruff, Milwaukee Brewers
Josh Hader, Milwaukee Brewers
Craig Kimbrel, Chicago Cubs
Mark Melancon, San Diego Padres
Alex Reyes, St. Louis Cardinals
C: Salvador Perez (KC)
1B: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (TOR)
2B: Marcus Semien (TOR)
3B: Rafael Devers (BOS)
SS: Xander Bogaerts (BOS)
OF: Mike Trout (LAA) (injured)
OF: Aaron Judge (NYY)
OF: Teoscar Hernández (TOR)
DH: Shohei Ohtani (LAA)
C: Mike Zunino (TB)
2B: Jose Altuve (HOU)
SS: Bo Bichette (TOR)
SS: Carlos Correa (HOU)
1B: Matt Olson (OAK)
3B: José Ramírez (CLE)
1B: Jared Walsh (LAA)
OF: Michael Brantley (HOU)
OF: Joey Gallo (TEX)
OF: Adolis García (TEX)
OF: Cedric Mullins (BAL)
DH: J.D. Martinez (BOS)
DH: Nelson Cruz (MIN)
RHP: Shane Bieber (CLE) (injured)
RHP: Gerrit Cole (NYY)
RHP: Nathan Eovaldi (BOS)
RHP: Kyle Gibson (TEX)
LHP: Yusei Kikuchi (SEA)
RHP: Lance Lynn (CWS)
LHP: Carlos Rodón (CWS)
RHP: Matt Barnes (BOS)
LHP: Aroldis Chapman (NYY)
RHP: Liam Hendriks (CWS)
RHP: Ryan Pressly (HOU)
LHP: Gregory Soto (DET)