By Adam Lawson, WSOE Sports
Ah, the mid-summer classic. Who doesn’t love to watch the best players square off against each other in a fun exhibition (even if it does decide the homefield team in the World Series)? Who doesn’t like to see the most deserving players receive praise and get to play in a game honoring them for being the best of the best in baseball. I know I love it. I just wish it would happen.
Listen, the All-Star Game is a great idea, but it has to be done right. And there are two glaring mistakes in the rosters from this year. And I mean, they are HORRIBLE mistakes. First, let’s go with the bigger, obvious error. Can somebody please explain to me how, on God’s green Earth, Josh Hamilton made the starting outfield for the American League? Dude’s played in less than half of his team’s games! This guy is hitting .248! Only 6 HR, to boot! And yet, he is starting in the game! Would it be that hard to replace him in the starting outfield with somebody like Adam Jones, and fill Hamilton’s spot with a position player? There are plenty to choose from. Carlos Pena, despite a .231 batting average, has 23 home runs and 55 RBI. He deserves a spot. I can understand leaving Pena off the team though. What I can’t understand is how the heck Evan Longoria didn’t make the squad. E-Long is hitting .290 with 16 bombs and 64 RBI, but yeah, let’s put in a guy that’s played in 36 games instead! You gotta be kidding me! How bout Ian Kinsler, hitting .253 with 20 HR, 53 RBI, 60 runs, and 16 stolen bases. A true 5-tool player, yet he’s not in the game, and his undeserving teammate is. Just mind-boggling!
I’m sorry to disappoint Red Sox fans, but not every single player on your roster deserves to go to the ASG. (Same goes to the Yankees, but I digress.) Tim Wakefield is having a solid year. 10 wins is great. But he’s not an All-Star. Not with 53 K in 102.2 innings. Not with a 4.30 ERA, and not with a 1.35 WHIP. There’s just no justification in this. For this argument, I am going to mention pitchers in both leagues that should be All-Stars, but aren’t, and reference their statistics, and then you tell me if Wakefield would have gotten in had he not been a member of the Boston Red Sox. How about the season Kevin Milwood has had? 124 innings, a paltry 3.34 ERA, a 1.29 WHIP, 8 wins and 74 K. Tell me that ain’t more deserving than Mr. Knuckleball!
NL pitchers who are better, you ask? How about Javier Vazquez? He may be 5-7, but he has no run support. Consider these numbers. In 112 innings he has amassed 130 K, a 3.05 ERA, and a 1.07 WHIP. If he was a Yankee or Red Sox, you know he would be in the game. How about his teammate, Jair Jurrjens? Once again, a bad record (6-7) but that category is bunk. Why? Well, when you have a 2.91 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP, with 75 K mixed in, you’re an All-Star.
The All-Star game has some obvious All-Stars. Nobody questions that. But at the end of the day, these aren’t the true 66, soon to be 68 with the fan vote, players in baseball. Not even close. And they aren’t the 66 (68) having the best season. Baseball is a stats-driven game, and the stats don’t lie. The fans, the players, and the managers made some big mistakes with these rosters.