I was napping when the 2013 All-Star Game began. I woke up at what turned out to be the halfway point.

I had heard this one counted.

I threw on my Jason Kipnis jersey and raced out the door: over to Lil’ Roros house we drove. Pick up some Thai food on the way, pretend it is not already the sixth inning of the All-Star Game, bust through the door yelling “fuck the National League,” and it is go-time.

You see, I showed up in the sixth inning because I do not care about the All-Star Game: I am a baseball fan. If you are a baseball fan, then I’m sure you also resent Bud Selig for his “this time it counts” campaign that changed the All-Star Game from a spectacle, into a circus.

I used to enjoy the midsummer classic (then again, I used to enjoy the music of Limp Bizkit). My favorite All-Star Game memory, as funny as it sounds, was when Tori Hunter robbed Barry Bonds of a homer, laughing all the way back onto the edge of the infield, where Bonds briefly picked him up over his shoulder. The catch was great, the comraderie was great, and the moment when Bonds picked up Hunter was equal parts “is he going to kill him?”, and, “isn’t that cute?!” — it was memorable for all sorts of reasons, none of which had to do with the outcome of the game. That happened in 2002, in Milwaukee, and I remember it like it was yesterday.

I probably remember it well because it just so happens to be the game that ruined everything: the two squads played to a 7-7 draw, and Bud Selig lost his mind agonizing over the decision of whether to let the boys duke it out until a winner was established, or to call the game a tie. He did the latter, of course, outraging a group of people that I have never come into contact with. That is to say, apparently some people got mad, but I’m not sure I ever personally had a conversation with any of them.

Hindsight is a funny thing. It’s entirely possible I was furious that night, but I don’t remember it that way. I remember being pretty bored by the game, and thinking “well this is exciting” as Selig’s head began to omit smoke, inching closer to exploding every time the FOX cameras cut to his face. Selig decided he had to protect the pitchers on the respective All-Star squads, or rather, he had to protect the owners who had poured hundreds of millions of dollars into those pitchers’ arms. He called the game a tie, which did not sit well with those people whom I have never spoke with, who ostensibly believe that ties are for Europeans.

These hypothetical critics really got to our faithful commissioner, as they always seem to eventually, and the next season a new decree reared its ugly head: the winner of the All-Star Game would host the World Series in October, rendering insignificant 162 beautiful, regular season games.

Ever since, I have watched (or not watched) the All-Star Game with skepticism: why should those players care? Do they play any harder because the game decides home field advantage for a World Series that, chances are, their team will not compete in? The game is supposed to be a casual affair, where the best players get to have a little fun in front of the fans who voted for them 25 times (or 35 if they had or created an mlb.com account!). Unfortunately it has turned into “one that counts”, despite the fact that managers are encouraged to find playing time for everybody, even if they are not nearly as good as the players they might replace. It is hard to believe the managers or players are taking it as seriously as Bud Selig, and the invisible critics that visibly exist inside his head.

Bud Selig 2

Yes, the All-Star Game is a Clown Show in its own right. So, when I sat down to take in the 2013 edition, I only had two things on my mind: redemption — the American League had somehow lost three years in a row to the lesser, more boring National League — and Jason Kipnis, the first-time, All-Star second baseman for the Cleveland Indians, who happens to walk on water in his spare time.

I sat down on the couch, and realized I had to take off His jersey with His name on the back: I was about to eat Thai food, and that baby is white as the crowd who attended the 2013 All-Star game at Citi Field. I asked Lil’ Roro if he had seen Kipnis in the game yet. He had no idea, because baseball fans don’t care about the All-Star Game.

Not two minutes later, FOX cut to a shot of Him standing on the holy dirt near second base; He had just replaced the most diminutive clown in the Major Leagues, Dustin Pedroia. I cheered.

After an uneventful bottom of the seventh inning, Kipnis was due at the plate as the potential fourth batter in the top of the eighth inning. He was to get his shot on the big stage if somebody could reach base. After Salvador Perez and Jhonny Peralta greeted Craig Kimbrel with singles, I was thinking bigger: if Tori Hunter could find his way aboard, Kipnis would be hitting with the bases loaded. Of course, Hunter grounded into a double play, leaving Perez at third with two outs.

As He approached the plate I buttoned up His jersey on my own self; He was already wearing His jersey, the same one I had on (we were not physically inside one jersey that stretched 3,000 miles, you understand, but we might as well have been wearing the same jock).

Kimbrel fired his first pitch, a slider that dropped into the zone for a strike. Kipnis took all the way. I announced to the room that Kipnis usually takes the first pitch, especially if it is a breaking ball. They tried to ignore me. The next pitch was another slider, called a ball by home plate umpire John Hirschbeck. I suggested that Kimbrel should pitch around Kipnis, who, as FOX pointed out, had been hitting .397 since the arbitrary date of June 5th.

But Kimbrel had other plans, challenging Kipnis with a 1-1 fastball on the outer-half of the plate. As Indians fans have seen Him do a million times before, Kipnis deposited the offering down the line in left field, where Domonic Brown flailed incompetently in the general direction of the ball. It sailed over his head, bouncing above the orange line for a ground rule double.

Let’s all enjoy the Indians’ best All-Star moment since Sandy Alomar’s 1997 homer at the Jake:

As Kipnis pulled into second base, I thought about all the people who were wondering who he is, despite his All-Star selection. If they didn’t know, now they knew. My favorite player got an RBI double on the big stage, and that made watching the All-Star Game worth it. These are the type of moments that used to make the game “count”, moments that mattered to the players and the fans.

Unless the Indians miraculously make it to the World Series, the fact that the American League won the game — limiting the pathetic, Puig-less, National League offense to three hits — will not matter to me by the time it is October, and it will certainly not matter to Jason Kipnis. If the Indians do make the World Series, I suppose Kipnis and I would be ecstatic that they would have home-field advantage.

I just have this hunch that it would be bittersweet, or feel flat-out wrong.

It would feel as though a bunch of idiots voted 25 times — or 35 if they had or created an mlb.com account! — which decided the rosters that played sparingly against pitchers that two managers selected — always keeping in mind that they shouldn’t utilize their own pitchers very much for fear of overuse– and the outcome was a snore-fest, 3-0 game, that almost nobody watched the entirety of, in order to decide that the Cleveland Indians, of all teams, get to host the 2013 World Series.

And whatever National League-foe got saddled with playing the first two games of the World Series on the road — in Cleveland, of all places, and in October, of all times — could only blame those players on their team who were voted on by those idiots and managers and played one or two innings for their league in mid-July at the All-Star Game, losing a snore-fest, 3-0, that almost nobody watched the entirety of.

They should have known better. They should have known that this time, it counts.