Red Sox Chick/Toeing the Rubber

Because you always need a backup plan

All Star Stupidity

Ten years ago, on the night of the Home Run Derby, my niece Madison was born. At the HRD, Luis Gonzalez ended up being the winner and every year on the night of the Derby, I tell Madison about how Gonzalez won on the day she was born and then went on to beat the Yankees in the World Series. Last night, when I began talking about Luis Gonzalez again, she pointed out that we had our own Gonzalez in the Derby this year and wondered if, since it was her 10th birthday over the weekend, if he would win. We rooted for our Big Papi and for Adrian Gonzalez but oddly enough seeing Robinson Cano win didn’t upset either one of us.

I’m not a fan of Cano’s.  I occasionally call him Baby Jeter and when I do I don’t mean it as a compliment.  But I admitted to a few folks recently that I think my dislike of him comes more from a point of spite because of the way the fans and the media talk about him than it does a legitimate reason (short of “He’s a Yankee”).  In any event, watching him winning, with all of his teammates (his Home Run Derby teammates, not his Yankees teammates) cheering him on and his DAD pitching to him, well, that didn’t really bother me.  For the first time in a few, I enjoyed watching the Home Run Derby and saw it as the entertainment it is meant to be.  (God knows I could live without Chris Berman yelling “Back! Back! Back!”, but all in all it wasn’t the worst way to spend the evening.)

It feels like half of MLB is at this year’s All Star Game, doesn’t it?  Felix Hernandez was chosen, but because of the rule stating any starters who pitch on the Sunday before the ASG can’t be IN the ASG, he was replaced by Jon Lester.  Jon Lester who is on the disabled list and can’t pitch (and they knew this when they chose him as Hernandez’ replacement).  Lester has been replaced by Toronto Blue Jay Ricky Romero who, you know, can actually pitch.  Hernandez, Lester and Romero are all at the All Star Game this week.

David Brown over at Big League Stew covers this in more detail, revealing the idiotic rule of not letting Sunday’s pitcher in the game as well as how stupid it is to purposely choose a player that the league knows won’t be able to play.  I had no idea that CC Sabathia replaced James Shields in the ASG…Sabathia who pitched against Shields on Sunday and Shields pitching on Sunday being the only reason he wasn’t going to be in the game Tuesday night.  How does Bud Selig not see how utterly ridiculous that is?  (Yes, I will always be bitter about the freaking All Star Game “counting”.  If Bud wants to “fix” things with it, there are many other places they could work on.  Like the way the teams are chosen.  I know I’m beating a dead horse AND banging my head against a wall, but still…)

Added to that (again thanks to Brown and the link here) we have one out of every nine players in MLB being called an All Star even if they aren’t playing…and collecting their bonus money for making the All Star Team. Derek Jeter, who bowed out of the game after being chosen by fans who really shouldn’t have chosen him, will make an additional $500,000 this year for being on the team, even though he isn’t.  I mean, it’s like Selig is now going out of his way to do things to make the fans hate MLB.

That isn’t to say I don’t think CC Sabathia didn’t deserve to be chosen for the team.  You could argue he did.  But he wasn’t.  I’m going to guess the rule is however they were voted in (and didn’t make it) is how they go down the line of who replaces ineligible players or players who bail on the game.  Shouldn’t there be a rule in place that says you skip over the players who aren’t eligible if they are next in line?  This isn’t pre-school…everyone doesn’t go home with a trophy...everyone should not be chosen for the All Star Game.

I can’t remember the last time I actually looked forward to an All Star Game (1999, I suppose.  MAYBE 2005 and 2008 because Tito was the manager?) and there has been nothing to make me really look forward to this one.  That isn’t to say I’m not happy for our guys on the team, especially Jacoby Ellsbury, but I just want real baseball back and the All Star Break is usually one long bore.  At least I can thank the Home Run Derby for being entertaining this year.

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July 12, 2011 - Posted by | 2011 | , , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. It would be really intriguing if, as an experiment, they let some cybermetrical think-tank pick the All-Star teams. You might end up with a mess, who knows? But you’d at least get the 50 ballplayers who had compiled the strongest statistical records in their respective position in their respective leagues over the course of the first half of this particular season, and I would find that a flat-out fascinating matchup to watch. 

    There’s something simply bizarre about all those Yankee fans electing their shortstop in the twilight of his career and the upshot of that being that their first baseman DOESN’T make the roster when HE’S having a legitimate all-star calibre year because if he did there would be too many Yankees in the starting lineup for all the clubs to get a representative to the game.  

    But then again–it is sort of neat that the fans get to have a say in SOMETHING, however dubious their choices sometimes are. So the perverse part of me smiles. Why not trot old Mr. Intangibles out there to tip his cap in honor of all the great years he has had, if that’s what ten zillion fans want to see?

    Comment by Elaine_Apthorp | July 12, 2011 | Reply


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