By Shaun Smith

It’s that time of the year again as we are now halfway through the 2012 baseball season and of course with that comes the MLB All Star Game.

This time it does matter…. Yeah right.

Once again this year the All Star game will determine whether the American League or the National League will have home-field advantage during the World Series in October.

Let’s pretend for a second that the major leaguers actually care about this stipulation, does it really make a difference overall? In many ways it does more harm than good.

For example, this past World Series saw the NL representative, The St. Louis Cardinals, with home-field advantage.

The AL representative, The Texas Rangers, had the 2nd best record in the AL and deserved home-field over St. Louis who barely squeaked into the playoffs after an Atlanta collapse.

Thank you, Bud Selig, for your wonderful contribution to the game of baseball.

Now this season brings a new crop of All Stars, some old veterans of the game and some new blood.

You can make the case that both starting line-ups for the AL and NL are solid, or at the least respectable.

The AL starters include catcher (and more often than not first basemen) Mike Napoli, 1B Prince Fielder, 2B Robinson Cano, SS Derek Jeter, 3B Adrian Beltre, DH David Ortiz, and Josh Hamilton, Jose Bautista, and Curtis Granderson in the outfield.

The NL starters include catcher Buster Posey, 1B Joey Votto, 2B Dan Uggla, SS Rafael Furcal, 3B Pablo Sandavol, and Matt Kemp, Carlos Beltran, and Melky Cabrera in the outfield.

UNDESERVING STARTERS


Yankees CF Curtis Granderson

Yes, he has 23 HRs (as a lefty in Yankee Stadium), but Granderson is batting .244 in a hitter’s ballpark.

At least Bautista has put up 26 HRs to make up for his .239 BA. Unlike Granderson, Bautista has been a consistent hitter (.302 last season) during his All-Star selections while Grandy hasn’t batted over .300 since 2007.

The only reason why Granderson is starting is because he wears Bronx pinstripes, simple as that.

Braves 2B Dan Uggla

Uggla’s batting average is even worse than Granderson’s, .232 on the season. NL second basemen with a batting average higher than Uggla include future All Stars Darwin Barney and Neil Walker.

The only case Uggla has is that he is tied for 1st with all NL second basemen in home runs with 11 and is 2nd in RBIs with 43.

I can only hope that the first hit of the ballgame is directed towards Uggla who will once again try to catch the ball with his face and/or take a face plant trying to field the ball.

Giants 3B Pablo Sandoval

David Wright, who leads the NL as well as all third basement in almost every category gets put in the reserves pool for an out-of-shape career hitter who can barely play his own position?

Sandoval, nicknamed Kung-Fu Panda, is however batting .300 but has only put up 6 HRs and 25 RBIs.

But here’s the most glaring stat of them all, he hasn’t even played most of the season!

The Panda has 170 at-bats on the season and has only played in 45 of the Giant’s 80 games this season.

Honestly I had no idea San Francisco had such a large fan base to vote in three Giants starts for the game (Posey & Cabrera deservingly).

BLATANT SNUBS

Blue Jays DH Edwin Encarnacion

Encarnacion is in the middle of a career resurgence after being just an average third/first basemen during his eight-year career.

The Toronto DH is batting a crisp .292 with 22 HRs and 55 RBIs. Encarnacion and Bautista are single handedly carrying Toronto this season.

It would have been great to see Encarnacion finally make an All Star team but barring an injury it is doubtful he will make it.

White Sox C A.J. Pierzynski

Arguably the best catcher in the AL this season, Pierzynski was unable to get the start, let alone a reserve at catcher.

Even though I haven’t forgotten about Pierzynski during the 2005 World Series against Houston, I can put my feeling aside and look at the stats (unlike some former managers).

The White Sox catcher is 2nd among AL catchers with 14 HRs and leads with 45 RBIs, not to mention he has a good average at .285 and OPS of .843.

I’m sorry, Matt Wieters is a great defensive catcher but his BA is .249 and is beaten out in every other category by Pierzynski.

Diamondbacks 2B Aaron Hill

Hill, who started off the season a bit cold, has had a huge comeback this season.

He is batting .301 and is tied with Uggla for the most homeruns by NL second basemen at 11 and tied for 3rd in RBIs with 38. Hill is also leading all NL second basemen with a crazy .872 OPS.

Luckily Hill was included on the Final Vote ballot and is well deserving of the spot.

The man had two cycles within 12 days this season, give him a break.

Reds 2B Brandon Phillips

Shame on you, Tony La Russa. I understand the Reds were a bitter rival in the NL Central but let it go, man. You don’t manage anymore so try to get the stick out of your ass.

Phillips is putting up solid power numbers with 10 HRs, 46 RBIs, and a respectable .285 BA, hell; you could have made the case for Phillips to start at second base for the NL.

Red SP Johnny Cueto

Just like Phillips, there has been a lot of talk about La Russa not selecting Cueto for the NL team because he plays for Cincinnati.

Cueto has a 2.26 ERA, 5th best in the NL, and a pretty good 9-4 record.

With all the Cincinnati hate, I’m surprised Red OF Jay Bruce was given a reserve spot with the NL but more than likely Bruce won’t even see action (a pinch hit at best).

Cardinals OF Matt Holliday

Now this one really shocks me. Somehow Mr. La Russa was unable to bring in a St. Louis player who is playing really well.

Holliday is batting .310 with 13 HRs and 50 RBIs and would be a great pinch-hitter for the NL team.

—–

Even after all the complaining and anger I’ve shown towards the All Star rosters, I will undoubtedly still watch the game next Tuesday.

I know some people don’t care for the Home Run Derby anymore but to me the Derby and the All Star game are still special and don’t need stipulations put overtop of them.

My biggest problem with the All Star Game is the fact that fans are allowed to vote for the starters of each league.

The NBA has been dealing with this ordeal for a while now. Christ, Yao Ming was voted to start one year without even playing a game that season.

Popularity contests are not popular with me. I’m confident that the fans would vote Babe Ruth in to start this year’s game if he were still alive.

At the same time, the pitchers and reserves are chosen by the managers and fellow players. I would like to think that the voters look at the numbers but more often than not they ignore them.

This year the game will be held at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, home of the once great Royals franchise.

The 2012 MLB All Star Game takes place on Tuesday, July 10th at 8pm on FOX.

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Comments
  1. “Third basement” Baseman*, unless that was a play on words, in which case, Encarnacion wasnt that low on the totem haha

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