“Roy Halladay and Placido Polanco know what it’s like to win the All-Star Game.
Not many National Leaguers can say that anymore.
Polanco’s only appearance came in 2007 as a member of the Detroit Tigers, when Tigers’ manager Jim Leyland managed the AL. The Tigers had gone to the World Series the year before and were in first place at the All-Star break.
“We really wanted to win that game,” Polanco said. “We were in first place, so it was really important if we were to get back to the World Series.”
After all, since 2003, the winner of the All-Star Game has earned home-field advantage in the World Series.
It’s not that the AL takes the All-Star game more seriously than the NL. But the National League has not won since 1996. There was a tie in 2002, which precipitated the adoption of the home-field rule.
Halladay is making his seventh All-Star appearance, but it’s his first as a National Leaguer. His previous six came as a Toronto Blue Jay.
The NL drought has had a profound affect on the Phillies, who have reached the World Series the last two seasons.
In 2008, the Phillies had to sweep the middle three games at home to avoid going back to Tropicana Field and the Rays’ cowbell-clanging fans for Games 6 and 7.
They weren’t as fortunate last season as they went back to Yankee Stadium trailing 3-2 in games. They lost the series in Game 6. The Yankees went 7-1 at home during the playoffs last season.
Phillies manager Charlie Manuel managed the NL to a 4-3 loss last season. He’s managing again in tonight’s game at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, Calif.
Manuel said he knows there’s a lot at stake. Last year, he had five Phillies — Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Raul Ibanez, Shane Victorino and Jayson Werth — on the team.
This season, Manuel has just Howard, who’s batting fourth as the designated hitter, and Halladay. Manuel said he doesn’t know if he’ll let Halladay pitch an inning. Utley was voted in by the fans as a starter, but he’s out because of thumb surgery.
Manuel said Polanco would have most likely made the team, too, but he is on the disabled list with left elbow inflammation, although he could come back this weekend.”