The All-Star Game

I was asked the other day who I was voting for, Ramirez angst-aside, for the All Star Game.

Hmph.  I gotta say, I’m not much of an NL guy, so that particular squad might not be exactly what most people might think, but gimme a break, I don’t see too much of the NL.
But here’s my AL squad:
Catcher: Joe Mauer
– I know, I know, he’s been banged up and didn’t start the season, yadayadayada, but in his almost ninety AB’s (just about the same number of AB’s Ramirez has too, by the way) he’s hitting a robust .425 and he’s already got 11 dingers.  His career high is 13.
First Base: Miguel Cabrera
-.370 with 10 dingers, and he has the added benefit of playing for my hometown team.
Second Base: Robinson Cano right now, but this could easily be Ian Kinsler, too.
Short: uh, Jason Bartlett?  Its a question because I can’t believe there isn’t another AL shortstop who has put some distance between himself and the rest of the pack.  Bartlett’s 7 dingers is good for third among ALL short stops and is tied for first among AL short stops.  And, to further add to that question mark is that Bartlett is hurt.
Third: Evan Longoria.  Really though, who else would it have been?
Right: Nick Markakis.  Kid’s hitting .313 with & dingers and has an absolute missile for an arm.  That and I’m tired of seeing Ichiro.
Center:  Eck, Torii Hunter.  I say eck because like Ichiro I’m sorta tired of seeing him too.  But with the numbers he’s put up offensively combined with his glove work, he’s a legit all star.
Left: Carl Crawfod.  At one point I thought he might break Ricky’s single season steals record in one single weekend series against Boston.  That alone makes him an All-Star.  And I would love to see him play his entire season running against Brad Penny–you can time him to the plate with a sun dial.
And since we’re in an NL park there is no need to pick a DH.
And with pitchers I’ll just select three starters and two closers for the sake of time.
Starters:
Justin Verlander.  His ERA is a little high at 3.55, but considering it was close to nine after four starts thats a little misleading.  He’s been lights out since going 0-2 through his first four starts; 5-0 and he’s only given up four earned and has struck out 60 batters during those six starts.
Zack Greinke.  He’s the reason Verlander hasn’t been talked about much thus far.  His ERA is still video-like at 0.84.  He’s probably going to start the All-Star game.
Joe Saunders.  Nothing fancy, just winning.  And he handed (huh, “handed”) Greinke his first loss, out-dueling him in a 1-0 win.  Roy Halladay honorable mention.
Closers:
Jonathan Papelbon.  I don’t much care for him, but he’s been dominant and All-Star worthy.
George Sherril.  He’s got so many saves and Baltimore only has so many wins to save.  Sorta like Todd Jones a few years back with the Tigers.
Now for the NL.
Catcher: Yadier Molina.  Sorta like the AL short stop problem… sorta.  There aren’t too many real good two way catchers in baseball, let alone the NL.  With Martin and Soto struggling, and Molina being the best defensive catcher in the world, his .268 average is forgiveable.
First: Albert Pujols.  Just write his name down from now until the day he retires.  Honorable mention though: Adrian Gonzalez.
Second: Orlando Hudson.  All he’s done is hit since he signed with the Dodgers.
Short:  Hanley Ramirez.  Again, write his name down until he retires, or gets too big to play short and moves.
Third: David Wright.  The best third baseman in New York City, the NL East, the NL in general, and probably baseball.  What else is there?
Right: Justin Upton.  Looks like he finally put it all together.  .335 with 9 dingers is hard to argue.  Though I can’t say for certain that he plays right field, but I’m pretty, sorta, sure.
Left: Raul Ibanez.  If there was ever a guy who would benefit from Philly’s home field, its this guy.  17 dingers and 44 ribbies.  And its not even hot outside yet.
Center: Carlos Beltran, as much as I hate to say it.  He’s putting up great numbers thus far, and he’s a gold glover.  
So, starters:
Sigh.  Johan Santana.  Seven wins, great ERA, what more you want?
Chad Billingsley.  6 wins and an ERA at 2.82.  
Matt Cain.  If for no other reason than he’s pitched better than Lincecum and has gotten still far less ink.
Closers:
Heath Bell.  Probably the only Padre representative, if the first base position is loaded like usual and Gonzalez stays home.  And he’s pretty good too.
Jonathan Broxton.  Young, throws hard, and is dominating.  And I refuse to vote for K-Rod.
I got the AL winning this thing, like I do each year until, well, they lose.
I have to say I think the All-Star game as a means to deciding who gets home field advantage is one of the stupidest idea I’ve ever heard. 
Considering the starters are voted in by morons like me.  I’ve written three times that I just don’t want to vote for somebody–regardless of whether they’re deserving or not.  You’re lucky I didn’t say Brandon Inge for AL third basemen.
So, with the idiocy that is fan voting, and as unpredictable as we can be, how can Bud, with a straight face, make that game the factor in deciding who would get game seven of the World Series?  
Using a popularity contest?
Because that’s all the ASG is, really.  Otherwise Cal Ripken wouldn’t have been chosen for two decades.  Jason Varitek would never be.  Derek Jeter either.  And Manny Ramirez wouldn’t even be in a discussion.
If people stop watching the ASG even with “everything on the line” what next?  Using the home run derby winner’s respective league for determining home field advantage?
Just let ’em play for exactly what the game means: squat.
–RM
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9 comments

  1. fourtwenty

    Aaron Hill, Jason Bay, and Adam Jones are sitting in their seats, waving their hands furiously in the air…
    Ian Kinsler’s home road splits would like a word with you, too.

    so aside from Manny…there’s a site out there that wants folks to vote for Lastings Milledge as the NL center fielder. which i did, since i want my AL boys to win. But. What happens if a guy gets voted to start and he’s not unavailable due to injury…but he’s unavailable due to minor league assignment? he’s still on the big team’s forty man. do they bring him in to start the game?

  2. Dillon M

    How could you not have Mark Teixeira on that AL roster. He has been absolutely on fire since A-Rod has returned and he is right now one of the best hitters in the AL. Not to mention that he has a killer glove. And what about that Jason Bay guy. Yeah. I am a Yankee fan but Bay is having an unbelievable season so far. I would have him on there too.
    -Dillon
    http://demboysfromthebronx.mlblogs.com

  3. shrtstp360

    Well, Dillon, I leave Teixeira off the list because Cabrera has been hitting as well for the whole season, not only since the best hitter in his lineup came back… Cabrera is doing it without a whole lot of protection. And while Bay is having a great season, Crawford is a-freakin-mazing. Bay might have more power, but he also plays in Fenway, a haven for right handed “power” guys. Crawford is frickin banana’s.

    Alex, forgive me about Aaron Hill, my mistake. Bay I’ve accounted for, and Jones, yeah, he should probably get my vote instead of Hunter, especially now that I’ve seen him play in person, and I can get rid of the “eck” next to Hunters name.

    ASG has lost most meaning, really. Though I doubt it ever really had any. I mean, its in the middle of the season, right? So you really aren’t an all-star for the entire season, but for the first half… right?

    Anyway, it should still be fun to watch.

    And as for Lastings Milledge, hahaahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaahahahahahahaahahahahahahahahaahahahahahahahah.

    And that was outloud.

  4. fourtwenty

    my entire NL ballot would have you rolling. if Bud wants it to mean something…by god, i know how to put the fix in.

    it’s funny, but…yeah, there was a time…and for a long time, too…that the ASG really did seem to mean something, although there was nothing on the line at all but pride. hell, they used to have two ASG per season for several years, and guys like Willie Mays or Ted Williams or…big names…the biggest stars…would play the whole game, and even into extra innings.

    some folks would say free agency or interleague killed the feeling, but i’m pretty sure that’ s not it.
    this is gonna sound damn dumb, i know…but i really believe that pete rose barreling into ray fosse, and essentially destroying that young man’s career…to win an exhibition game…made a huge difference.

    it was right in there somewhere that managers started running guys into and out of the game like it was a spring training game. they hadn’t really done that, exactly, prior to that. i probably ought to take the time to look at old ASG box scores…and hell, i probably will. but…just on memories and reading and all…there was a pretty clear demarcation in there somewhere.

    i always think about reggie’s hr off the light standard on tiger stadium’s roof….but the other two all star memories that stick out for me, besides reggie…are rose crushing fosse…and…oh my, an idiosycracy…rod carew popping triples in his first two plate appearances in…uh…’78…i’m pretty sure. i really wanted them to give him a shot at three in one game…that’s the major league record, it’d have been cool for him to tie the MLB record in the ASG. alas…didn’t happen…

    I dunno. when they started running guys into the game every inning…i just stopped paying all that much attention. i bet the last time i watched the entire all star game was…’78 or ’79.

  5. fourtwenty

    carl crawford’s an amazing athlete. he’s not a particularly valuable baseball player. awfully good defense. he steals him a lot of bases.

    I tried like hell to trade for him the first year i was in a strat league. But the truth is, he hasn’t really developed since then. He still doesn’t draw enough walks for the kind of player he is…so his offensive value (and stolen bases don’t have much actual value. runs do) is tied pretty closely to his batting average. he doesn’t have much power. if he’s hitting .320 or more, yeah, he’s got pretty decent value. But if he drops below that, he’s just not really anything special as far as helping your team win.

    Bay, on the other hand…is a solid outfielder in his own right. He draws walks. He hits for power. Which means he’s on base a lot more often than his .280 BA might lead you to believe, and therefore, scores runs…he’s scoring more often than crawford is, for instance. And with his power, he also drives in more runs than crawford does (more than twice as many this year so far). And…he’s been doing this (outside injury years) since he got his first full time gig with the pirates. He’s not a product of Fenway (cough cough ian kinsler)…his splits home and away are about as close to even as you’ll find.
    Jason Bay, Jason Bay, Jason Bay…jeezus, he needs to put me on his payroll…

  6. jonnnnnn

    This years voting has been better than any other year I can remember. The only real problems I have in the AL are at shortstop (it’s GOTTA be Bartlett, are you kidding me? He’s putting up numbers that few others can at shortstop) and possibly the Josh Hamilton selection. Sure, he’s a popular guy and I’m a big fan of his, but his numbers just aren’t as good as other guys that are more deserving than him. I would like to see Adam Jones in there as well. Another small problem I have is at first base, I think Justin Morneau deserves the job, but there’s no way I can say Youkilis doesn’t also deserve it. The one thing I can say is that Mark Teixeira doesn’t deserve to even be in the top 3. He’s been a disappointment for the Yankees and has just recently turned it on, you don’t get into the all star game for being non-existant in the first month of the season. All-in-all, I think the rosters are going to be the best there have been in recent years and it’ll be a great game.

    http://eatsleepmlb.mlblogs.com

  7. jonnnnnn

    This years voting has been better than any other year I can remember. The only real problems I have in the AL are at shortstop (it’s GOTTA be Bartlett, are you kidding me? He’s putting up numbers that few others can at shortstop) and possibly the Josh Hamilton selection. Sure, he’s a popular guy and I’m a big fan of his, but his numbers just aren’t as good as other guys that are more deserving than him. I would like to see Adam Jones in there as well. Another small problem I have is at first base, I think Justin Morneau deserves the job, but there’s no way I can say Youkilis doesn’t also deserve it. The one thing I can say is that Mark Teixeira doesn’t deserve to even be in the top 3. He’s been a disappointment for the Yankees and has just recently turned it on, you don’t get into the all star game for being non-existant in the first month of the season. All-in-all, I think the rosters are going to be the best there have been in recent years and it’ll be a great game.

    http://eatsleepmlb.mlblogs.com

  8. Los

    I don’t know how often Yankee fans talk about how Derek Jeter is the best shortstop in the game ( i could name four NL East shortstops who are all better) and it is obvious that he is not. Yet he continues to play in many all star games. I think that the managers of each league should vote for the players that get on the team. They obviously couldn’t vote for their own players, but the NL and AL managers would obviously all want their respective leagus to get home field advantage and would probably put together the best team. Thats the only other solution i can think of.
    http://thebravesbeat.mlblogs.com
    Los

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