The Midsummer Classic has come and gone, and once again it was the American League that ended up winning out over the National League. The 4-3 victory marks the 19th time in 22 years the AL has taken home in the win, underlining the dominance that they have reached. They got things started fairly early in the game on Tuesday, with Michael Brantley doubling home Houston Astros teammate Alex Bregman for in the second. Minnesota shortstop Jorge Polanco then hit an infield single to drive in Gary Sanchez, making it 2-0 and putting real pressure upon the NL on a night where pitching was having its way, for a change. Justin Verlander had been brilliant for the AL in the first, but it was Cleveland’s own Shane Bieber, a late addition to the team, that would impress even more on the mound in the fifth inning. The Indians hurler would throw a 1-2-3 inning, striking out the side in the process, which earned him the MVP as a result. Charlie Blackmon homered in the next inning to make it 2-1, but a pair of runs driven in by the AL in the seventh meant the lead increased to 4-1. Pete Alonso, winner of the Home Run Derby the night before, would drive in a pair of runs in the eighth to make it interesting, but the final score would read 4-3 after Aroldis Chapman shut the door on them.
For the first time in the history of the NBA, coaches will be allowed to make challenges, beginning in the 2019-20 season. The rule, which has been tested in the developmental G League for the past two years, will give coaches the chance to challenge one call over the course of a game and will be on trial for this coming season. This is only allowed once, even if you are successful with the challenge, and coaches are required to have and take a timeout in order to make the attempt. It can be used to try to overturn a number of calls, but it will not be able to be sued in the last two minutes of the fourth quarter because all potential out-of-bounds calls, goaltending, or interference calls will be automatically reviewed. This is progress for sure, though it is tough to see how it’s going to go right out of the gates.