MINNEAPOLIS —There was no moment of silence. No jersey hanging in the dugout. Not even a simple mention on Fox's broadcast or a highlight reel heading into the break.
While Tuesday night's All-Star Game featured plenty of Derek Jeter, Mike Trout and the woman who sings that song from "Frozen," it was also notable for one glaring omission: Last month's death of Tony Gwynn at age 54 went unmentioned, reflecting poorly on both Major League Baseball and Fox.
How in the world do you hold an All-Star Game almost one month to the day that Gwynn died and not pay any sort of tribute to him? The San Diego Padres Hall of Famer was a mainstay on the National League squad, making the team all but one year from 1984 to 1999 for a total of 15 All-Star appearances. The outgoing Gwynn was loved long after he retired and his death on June 16 was met with a universal mourning.
On Tuesday night, baseball fans came together again to wonder how such an oversight could happen. While a Gwynn tribute did appear on the pregame show on little-watched Fox Sports One, there was nothing on the pregame broadcast on the main network or during the game.
Here's a sampling of the outcry, which included a powerful tweet from the Padres account:
A game long shrine building to Jeter, but couldn't take a minute out to honor The greatness of Tony Gwynn , come on— Kevin Chrzastek (@LLcool_breeze) July 16, 2014
The #ASG telecast spent 10 minutes w/ some lady doing a Bob Dylan cover & introducing 30 random teachers but never mentioned Tony Gwynn.K.— Tyler Conway (@tylerconway22) July 16, 2014
Puig struck out 3 times tonight. Did Tony Gwynn ever strike out 3 times in a game? Fox could've mentioned Tony right there. #RIPTony— Craig Medeiros (@craigmedy) July 16, 2014
With the Padres' lone representative, Huston Street, seeing no playing time on Tuesday, viewers didn't even get a chance to see the No. 19 patch the team has been wearing since Gwynn's death.
Street said he was surprised of the omission but didn't think it was a "purposeful slight."
"Obviously Tony Gwynn's a huge part of the game and it would've been something cool to see but it didn't happen," Street told Yahoo Sports after the game. "I've been at six other ballparks around the league where they've done one. I don't think there's any short of remembrance for Tony.
"It's Tony Gwynn, right? He's one of the greatest of all time."
Street is right. Tony Gwynn is one of the best of all time. So seriously, what gives? When Gwynn's friend Ted Williams died the week before the 2002 All-Star Game, the league immediately jumped into action and named its All-Star MVP award after the Boston Red Sox legend. Now, that award wasn't given out until a year later in 2003 because of the tie in Milwaukee, but still.
Heck, George Steinbrenner died on the same day of the 2010 All-Star Game and MLB officials still had enough time to put together a moment of silence AND a press conference involving Yankee All-Stars.
It wouldn't have taken much, really. Just a few clips of a smiling Gwynn, some highlights and a reminder that he played the game "the right way" during what ended up becoming an ugly time for baseball. It would have reflected well on the sport and would've given Gwynn the moment he deserved.
Who knows why they didn't? Maybe the league is trying to distance itself from the belief that chewing tobacco, a hot button topic in MLB, played a role in Gwynn's death? Maybe they thought enough time had passed? Maybe they have something else in the works?
Whatever the case, the league and network should explain their oversight. Until then, we'll just have to enjoy and respect the simple tribute that Adam Jones of the Baltimore Orioles offered to Gwynn at Target Field.
Kind of a shame you're learning about it here, isn't it?
- - - - - - -