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Then again, this one had more appeal than a few recent games. Familiar faces like Derek Jeter and Chipper Jones, at 40 playing in his eighth and final All-Star game, mingled with the fresh ones belonging to the next generation of stars, kids like Bryce Harper and Mike Trout. Fox showcased new hire Erin Andrews and trotted out a promotional campaign reminding us of the game’s old-time virtues: “When we see the boys of summer actually be boys.”

That may have been true about a few too many of the guys on the American League bench, at least for this one night. La Russa took some heat a day earlier _ including in this space _ for his decision to start Cain over fan favorite Dickey, a 37-year-old journeyman whose first All-Star appearance came after a long struggle to master the knuckleball. Apparently, that nasty little competitive streak grew wide enough to make a big difference.


Jim Litke is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at jlitke(at) and follow him at