Tuesday's otherwise entertaining All-Star game presentation was marred by one stunning and disheartening omission. At no point during Fox's four-plus hour national broadcast was the untimely death of 15-time All-Star and San Diego Padres legend Tony Gwynn acknowledged on the field or by the broadcasters.
That left many fans and media members puzzled, angered and in some instances feeling as though the legacy of one of baseball's greatest legends had been disrespected on its biggest summer time stage. That's obviously not a good look for Fox or for Major League Baseball, and it's certainly not something both sides wanted as one of the biggest takeaways coming out off a successful 2014 All-Star game.
With that in mind, both Fox and MLB went into damage control mode on Wednesday night by releasing a joint statement addressing why Tony Gwynn's death was not acknowledged.
"We are deeply saddened by the loss of Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn, an extraordinary individual whose memory we have honored in numerous ways in recent weeks. The Baseball family has sadly lost a number of people this year - including Hall of Famer Ralph Kiner, Frank Cashen, and former All-Stars Jerry Coleman, Jim Fregosi and Don Zimmer - and did not want to slight anyone by singling out one individual."
You can almost see where they're coming from, but it's awfully difficult sell considering the game was basically a three-hour tribute to Derek Jeter, while 69 other All-Stars all shared supporting roles.
While we're at it, it didn't necessarily need to be a single tribute to Tony Gwynn, either. It would have been wonderful to see all of those baseball legends acknowledged in some form, whether it be spread out over the course of the entire broadcast, or as many are now suggesting, during a time specifically set aside to remember those lost.
The seventh inning stretch would be the most convenient time, but there are points where it would work. For example, we could probably live without the awkward dugout interviews that no one wants to do anyway.
It should be noted that Fox aired a Tony Gwynn tribute during their pregame show on Fox Sports 1, but to truly justify not acknowledging Tony Gwynn during the All-Star game itself, when there's obviously a larger audience in place, is impossible.
It's a blunder, plain and simple, but hopefully it's something all parties learn from and don't repeat in similar circumstances going forward.
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