Sunday, July 13, 2008

Who are the REAL MLB All-Stars?

I am always torn by the selection process that is used to pick the MLB All-Star teams. Since the game is in the middle of the season, a lot of times it obviously comes down to who is having the better first half. Why not take the second half of the prior season into account as well? To me, a sizzling first half does not an all-star make.
Then, you figure in the fan factor and it gets even more confusing. The fans end up picking the name players, even though they may not be having that great a year. So, between the two, you end up getting a lot of players on both squads that probably don’t deserve to be there.
One of the problems is due to the fact that there is such a glut of talent in the American League. For every superstar in the NL, there are two or more in the AL.
Another problem comes from the disparity in interest between big-market and small-market teams, illustrated by how many Chicago Cubs and Boston Red Sox are on this year’s rosters. Deserving players on small market teams don’t get the nod because people (including the managers who pick the players) don’t see them enough. Plus, the media would rather write about Alex Rodriguez and Madonna, as opposed to what a great year Jorge Cantu or Aubrey Huff is having, so people just don’t hear about these rising stars as much.
And finally, there is the “one player per team” rule where every MLB team has to be represented by at least one player. I think that’s dumb, because there are several teams out there right now who aren’t worthy. Thus, a guy who should be there (like Yunel Escobar from the Braves or Ryan Doumit from the Pirates) doesn’t get in.
Here are starting picks for the All-Star game, to be held Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium:

American League
Catcher: Joe Mauer, Twins
First Base: Kevin Youklis, Red Sox
Shortstop: Michael Young, Rangers
Second Base: Ian Kinsler, Rangers
Third Base: Mike Lowell, Red Sox
Outfield: Josh Hamilton, Rangers
Outfield: Grady Sizemore, Indians
Outfield: Carlos Quentin, White Sox
Starting Pitcher: Justin Duchscherer, A’s
Relief Picher: Francisco Rodriguez, Angels

National League
Catcher: Brian McCann, Braves
First Base: Lance Berkman, Astros
Shortstop: Hanley Ramirez, Marlins
Second Base: Chase Utley, Phillies
Third Base: Chipper Jones, Braves
Outfield: Ryan Braun, Brewers
Outfield: Xavier Nady, Pirates
Outfield: Matt Holliday, Rockies
Starting Pitcher: Edinson Volquez, Reds
Relief Picher: Kerry Wood, Cubs

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