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Published: Wednesday, 7/10/2002

Game and fans fit to be tied

ASSOCIATED PRESS

MILWAUKEE - In Bud Selig's backyard, even the All-Star game ended with fans booing baseball.

Despite Barry Bonds hitting a home run and Torii Hunter making a spectacular catch, the All-Star game finished in a 7-7 tie after 11 innings last night when both teams ran out of pitchers.

Commissioner Bud Selig, who lives in Milwaukee and formerly ran the Brewers, made the ultimate decision to call the game. It was the first tie in All-Star play since a game in 1961 was stopped by rain.

“I want to take this opportunity to apologize to the fans,” Selig said. “Given the health of the players, I had no choice.

“The decision was made because there were no players left, no pitchers left,” he said. “This is not the ending I had hoped for. I was in a no-win situation.”

No matter to the sellout crowd of 41,871 at Miller Park - and no doubt to fans nationwide.

There were loud chants of “Let them play!” and “Refund!” as Freddy Garcia struck out Benito Santiago with a runner on second base to end it. Once it finished, some fans in right field threw bottles.

With worries about a players' strike and steroids looming over the sport, baseball tried to put the focus back on the field - at least for a day.

But an entertaining evening that began with Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Cal Ripken taking part in festivities to honor the past wound up with fans even more angry and upset.

Selig said he and the two managers discussed every possibility they could think of as far as continuing the game, but decided that ending the game after 11 innings was the best option.

“This is a very regrettable situation,” Selig said.

There was no MVP picked. That was bad timing, too, because the trophy was renamed this week to honor Ted Williams, the Hall of Famer who died Friday.

It became apparent that a tie was possible after the top of the 11th when AL manager Joe Torre, NL manager Bob Brenly and umpire crew chief Gerry Davis went over to talk with Selig in the front row next to the first base dugout. At one point, Selig threw up his arms.

After Luis Castillo flied out to start the bottom of the 11th, the stadium public-address announcer informed the crowd of the bad news, saying a tie would be declared if the NL didn't score in the bottom half.

Garcia and Vicente Padilla, who finished for the NL, each pitched two innings.

The result left intact the AL's five-game winning streak. The NL leads the overall series 40-31 - and now with two ties.

“I feel bad for Bud,” Torre said. “Bob and I had talked. You can't have it both ways. You can't have all the people see all the players.”

The game took 3 hours, 29 minutes. Five other All-Star games have lasted longer than 11 innings, most recently the NL's 2-0 win in 13 innings in 1987.

“If I was a fan, too, I would be disappointed,” said Arizona catcher Damian Miller, who doubled twice. “Obviously, you want to see someone win. You have to look out for the players and their health.”

Lance Berkman, leading the majors with 29 home runs and 81 RBIs, hit a two-out, two-run single off Kazuhiro Sasaki in the seventh inning that rallied the NL to a 7-6 lead. The Houston outfielder delivered after Byung-Hyun Kim blew a lead in the top half - yet another time the Arizona closer couldn't hold a late edge on a big stage.

But Omar Vizquel, making a rare appearance at second base because the AL had five shortstops on its roster, made it 7-all with an RBI triple in the eighth off Giants closer Robb Nen.

Bonds' two-run shot off the facade of the second deck made the San Francisco slugger an early candidate to win the MVP trophy. It was fitting that Bonds connected on this night - he and Williams are arguably the two greatest left fielders in history, and the link between them was hard to miss.

Bonds frequently stood on the No. 9 that was perfectly painted into the left-field grass at Miller Park, replicating the distinctive design from the Red Sox uniform worn by the “Splendid Splinter.”

Bonds also got a first-hand look at Hunter, the Minnesota center fielder known for astounding catches.

With two outs in the first, Bonds launched a long drive to deep right-center field. Hunter glided into the gap, timed his leap and reached far over the fence - his elbow was way above the 8-foot wall - to pull the ball back into the park.

Bonds, who has 594 career home runs, and the fans could hardly believe that he'd been robbed of another shot. As Hunter came jogging off the field, Bonds playfully intercepted the Gold Glove winner in the middle of the field, hoisted the Twins star with two hands and put him over his shoulder.

When Hunter came to bat in the second, Bonds and several other NL stars stood at their positions and watched the replay on the center-field video board.

While the sport's most memorable moments were shown earlier on the board, baseball also paused to remember St. Louis pitcher Darryl Kile and Cardinals broadcaster Jack Buck. Kile's No. 57 jersey hung in the NL dugout and Buck's widow was in attendance.

Mike Piazza and Todd Helton drove in the NL's first two runs, and Bonds' homer off Toronto's Roy Halladay made it 4-0 in the third.

NL starter Curt Schilling struck out Alex Rodriguez, Jason Giambi and Shea Hillenbrand in two sharp innings. An RBI single by Manny Ramirez and a solo homer by Alfonso Soriano, one of six New York Yankees represented, started the AL's comeback.

Miller, one of six Arizona players, hit an RBI double that made it 5-2 in the fifth.

The AL scored four times in the seventh, with Randy Winn hitting an RBI single off Mike Remlinger and the other runs coming with Kim on the mound. Tony Batista hit an RBI single and Paul Konerko had a two-run double.



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