The MLB revealed the 2011 All-Star Game rosters and as with any all star game there are some significant snubs. The MLB All Star game is one of the most complex All-Star games to dissect because of the weird rules surrounding the game.
Weird rules? Let’s just break it down compared to other sports. It is the only All-Star game that mandates every team have a representative. Does every NFL team have an Pro Bowler, nope. Does every NBA team have an All-Star, not even close. This rule is a joke, not every team has an All-Star and you can’t possibly convince me that an entire city would not watch the game since they don’t have a player in it.
Let’s not forget that the MLB All-Star game is the only All-Star game that actually means something. The Pro Bowl means less than nothing and is almost a waste of time to even play. The NBA All-Star game is clowning around game for three quarters and then the players take it serious with hopes to win the bonus for winning the game.
The MLB All-Star game should not determine home field advantage in the World Series, it should be team records. Why? Three main reasons: 1. The fans get to vote in the starters, which aren’t always the best players (more on that below). 2. Every team needs a representative, which hurts the manager’s ability to select the overall best talent. 3. Pitchers that recently pitched are removed from the game and anyone with lingering injuries are replaced further diluting the talent pool.
Now let’s take a look at this season’s All-Stars:
C Alex Avila, DET
1B Adrian Gonzalez, BOS
2B Robinson Cano, NYY
3B Alex Rodriguez, NYY
SS Derek Jeter, NYY
OF Jose Bautista, TOR
OF Curtis Granderson, NYY
OF Josh Hamilton, TEX
DH David Ortiz, BOS
C Brian McCann, ATL
1B Prince Fielder, MIL
2B Rickie Weeks, MIL
3B Placido Polanco, PHI
SS Jose Reyes, NYM
OF Ryan Braun, MIL
OF Lance Berkman, STL
OF Matt Kemp, LAD
What’s the first thing that jumps out at you? To me: Derek Jeter is the starting shortstop of the American League with this stat line: .260AVG, 2HR, 20RBI, 7SB. Are you kidding? Take away names and not a single person that knows anything about baseball would select him for their All-Star team. Now, I understand that this is the player that the fans want to see. I am OK with that, if the game didn’t mean anything. Wouldn’t a Yankees fan rather have the AL win the game so they have a chance for Home Field advantage, rather than watch Jeter, who they normally watch all the time? Don’t take me for a Yankees hater, I also enjoy what Jeter has done for the game of baseball.
Sticking on the Yankees theme. How is C.C. Sabathia not an All-Star? 11-4, 3.05ERA, 1.21WHIP, 106Ks, 129.2IP. I understand that he is scheduled to start on Sunday and therefore wouldn’t be ready to pitch in the game anyway, but at least name him to the team and give him the recognition he deserves.
Let’s play another game: Pick the All-Star:
Player A: 2-1, 1.36ERA, 1.08WHIP, 0-2 in saves, 8 Holds, 39.2IP, 39Ks
Player B: 1-0, 1.05ERA, 1.31WHIP, 0-2 in saves, 18 Holds (MLB lead), 34.1IP, 55Ks
I’d take Player B every time. Unfortunately, Player B is David Robertson and he is not an All-Star. Player A is Aaron Crow and he is an All-Star, as the lone representative of the Kansas City Royals. He has solid numbers, but Robertson is better as a simple set-up man to set-up man comparison.
Another joke on the American League team is Matt Wieters. First, why does the team need three catchers? Second, he is the only Baltimore Oriole on the team, and he is not even the best player on his team (see Adam Jones).
Michael Cuddyer (the lone Minnesota Twin) is also another major stretch for the All-Star team. I’d also take Dustin Pedroia over Howie Kendrick.
Other notable snubs: Paul Konerko (he is in the last man in ballot in which the fans vote – and he should be a lock to win it), Mark Teixeira (I understand his .243 batting average cost him, but hard to deny 25 HRs [2nd in MLB] and 65 RBI [4th in MLB]).
Lastly, why did the fans get the opportunity to vote in a DH for the AL team. The game is in a National League park and the NL didn’t have fans vote in an extra player.
On the National League side, I’d rather have Carlos Gonzalez than either Carlos Beltran, Jay Bruce or Justin Upton.
Other notable snubs: Anibal Sanchez (6-2, 3.30ERA, 1.19WHIP, 109IP, 111Ks), Ryan Howard (similar fate to Mark Teixeira – the .253AVG cost him, but his 17HR and 67RBI [3rd in MLB] are hard to ignore).
The MLB All-Star game isn’t built to be determining World Series Home Field advantage. It is an exhibition game for a reason, and they should accept that fact because of its flaws.
[Photo Credit: All-Star Logo – BigLeagueBaseballs.com, Derek Jeter – ThroughTheFenceBaseball.com]