The All-Star break was a welcome respite from some of the gloomy stories that clouded the first half of the baseball season -- the record rate of strikeouts and low batting averages, grip substances, the long list of injuries to star players that ended with Ronald Acuna Jr.'s season-ending torn ACL.
For a couple of days the focus shifted completely to Shohei Ohtani, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Fernando Tatis Jr. and some of the other remarkable first-half performers. Not a word about Spider Tack. Heck, the American League even won the All-Star Game while recording just three strikeouts, the lowest total for a winning team since 1962.
As we look ahead to the rest of the season, let's take some of the storylines that made the first half fun and see what that means for the second half.