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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
All right. Seriously.
Manny Ramirez is fourth in the voting for NL outfielders?
Are you kidding me?
As if there was a need for another reason why the All-Star game is nothing more than a popularity contest that is responsible for the home-field advantage in the World Series.
But now it is indicative of how stupid most fans actually are. Or, at least, how stupid Ramirez fans are.
He’s suspended, lest we forgot, until the beginning of July and the All-Star game is in mid July. So, should this preposterousness continue, Manny would end up being a starter in the the Mid-Summer Classic and have just over 100 AB’s, or just under, depending.
Now, should we even forget that he’s suspended for, uh, cheating, how can you even be eligible for a vote if you’ve missed better than fifty percent of the games played to that point?
It doesn’t seem possible, or right, for that matter.
But lets get back to the bigger implication.
A guy we know, we don’t think it, we know he cheated, is voted into the all-star game and allowed to play. What does that say about the drug testing policies, the sanctions, and the message it sends to the impressionable kids playing in high school or college?
It says it doesn’t matter.
But this isn’t the first time this has happened, and it begs for us to shed light on the idea that it isn’t just baseball that have steroid problems. Shawn Merriman of the San Diego Chargers a few years ago was suspended for a quarter of the season for using ‘roids and was still allowed to play in the Pro Bowl at the end of that season.
What!? So, he was suspended for using the juice, but was allowed to play in his sports all-star game, a nomination he was given because of performance–which was enhanced, and therefore illegitimate?
Same thing here with Manny. His performance, even if the sample size is hardly enough to describe an All-Star, is illegitimate and enhanced illegally.
But even forgetting why he was suspended, how can a fan in their right mind vote for a guy with less than 200 AB’s?
And fans make mistakes all the time when voting. Some teams have more diehard fans than others and get votes in. Others vote by how many times a night a players name is mentioned on tv. For instance, Jason Varitek shouldn’t have even been a starting catcher in MLB last year, let alone on the All-Star team.
I think the year before that Brian McCann, the Braves catcher, was voted in and was hitting a robust .240 at the break.
Fans do get it wrong, sure. Hell, I vote for Brandon Inge every chance I get.
But how do they get it that wrong?