Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Happy All~Star Day!

 The annual All-Star game has arrived!  Even though there seems to be a lot of negativity towards all-star games in different professional sports, I still look forward to the Major League Baseball All~Star game every year.  Being a non-contact sport (or at least, most of the time non contact) I believe the Baseball mid-summer classic to be the most competitive of the all-star games, because players can go out and play hard yet still return to work for their respective clubs a few days later.  Anyone who says that these players don't care about winning doesn't actually watch these games.  Pitcher's are throwing their best stuff, players are running out ground balls, and fielders are chasing after balls and charging in on grounders.  I remember watching Grady Sizemore diving for a ball in extra innings a few years ago and I think we all remember Jose's feet first slide into the wall at last year's game.

Despite the fact that the game does count for something, (home field advantage in the World Series) I do understand why at times fans have trouble taking the game seriously.  I certainly do.  If it is really to be sold as a "competitive" game that counts for something, then shouldn't the best players play?  If you have a starting pitcher who is pitching well, don't you want to leave him in there for more than an inning or two?  Would the American League not have a better shot at winning if they were to let Verlander take the ball for as long as he is dominant tonight?  Shouldn't the best players be on the field for the majority of the game, rather than sitting them down half way through the contest in order to carry out the school yard mentality that everyone should get a chance to play?  Especially when baseball still has the unwritten rule that there should be a representative from every team, regardless of whether any players on that club are worthy or not.  If everyone does indeed get a chance to play, then at times there are guys who shouldn't even be at the game that will find their way onto the field.

If it were a real game and each league was genuinely concerned about home field advantage in the World Series, then I also think the team selection should be different.  I have come to realize that the fan vote is a part of the game that will never go away.  However when it comes to the reserve players, I believe that each league should have a say on who is on their team and not just leave the decisions up to the team's manager.  There should be some decision makers there from around the league to help in the final selection of each League's All Stars.  I'm not suggesting a representative from each of the 30 teams, but maybe someone from each of the top two teams in each division.  That gives you a selection committee of six people, who see every division between the six of them, to select the best players to represent that league and compete for home field advantage.

Staying on the subject of player selection, I would like to share a letter with you that was sent to me late last week.  It deals with the omission of Edwin Encarnacion on the American League roster.  This letter is written by a fan to Ron Washington, the manager of this year's American League squad.  I certainly agree with the opinion that there is no way Edwin should have been left out with the year he's having, but the rest of the opinions within the letter do not necessarily reflect those of myself.  I think the letter is both interesting and makes some valid points.  So I would like to share it with you.
A Letter to Ron Washington from a fan:

Dear Ron Washington,

First of all, let me congratulate you for taking your Texas Rangers to the World Series last season and as a result, earning the right to manage the American League All-Star team this season. Now that the Commissioner has placed home field advantage for the World Series as the prize for winning the All-Star game, this honour that you have earned, carries a significant weight for the entire American League. 

With this kind of reward available to you, I would think that you would choose to take the players who give you the best opportunity to win. After looking at the roster that you put together, I can’t help but think that you had a slightly different agenda. I found it very intriguing that 7 of your Rangers were chosen. This is almost twice as many representatives as the Yankees and Angels, who each have 4 representatives. And, if Yu Darvish wins the 34th roster spot via the fans’ final voting, you would have 8 of your players on the roster. I can’t help but think there’s a tad bit of favouritism involved in your selections. I certainly realize that Josh Hamilton, Adrian Beltre and Mike Napoli were voted to the game by the fans, but in addition to these players, you felt that Ian Kinsler, Elvis Andrus, Matt Harrison, and Joe Nathan were also deserving of All Star selections.

I cannot disagree with you on your selections of Andrus, Harrison or Nathan, as each of these players was near the top of their respective positions in terms of production. However, I think your professional relationship with Ian has clouded your judgement. Kinsler was hitting .276 with 9HR, 40RBI and 15SB while Jason Kipnis of the Indians was also hitting .276 but with 11HR, 49RBI and 20SB. Cleveland has only two representatives, why not give them a third? 

I’m also curious why you would not choose a player who was hitting .295, had scored 55 runs, hit 23 homeruns, had 58 RBIS and stolen 9 bases? Of course, I’m speaking of Edwin Encarnacion. Instead, you felt that Billy Butler and Adam Dunn were more deserving of selection for the DH spots. Butler was hitting .293 with 31 R, 16HR, 48RBI and 1 SB while Dunn was hitting .210 with 57 R, 24HR, 58RBI and 0 SB. Granted, you’re obligated to follow the unwritten rule of having one member from every team in the league, so I understand the selection of Billy Butler. Plus, with Butler being a member of the hosting Royals, it’s a very smart PR move. The selection of Dunn gives you a less consistent hitter with a slightly bigger bat. It also handcuffs you slightly on the defensive side as Dunn would only be an option at 1B and DH while Edwin could play those positions as well as 3B and LF for you, should the need arise.

But, who am I to question the opinion of a major league manager who has taken his team to the World Series two years in a row? Your logic makes no sense to me other than to make sure your players are the ones who are recognized instead of players who are more deserving. For your sake, I hope you win the All Star game and make my opinion a mute one. If you don’t, maybe next time you could look outside your own clubhouse.


A Common Baseball Fan

Feel free to give your opinion on this letter, or on the all-star game in general below in the comments section. 

I hope you all enjoy the game this evening!

No comments:

Post a Comment