Baseball, more than any other sport, romanticizes numbers. Even in fake games like Tuesday’s All-Star exhibition.
Three statistics stand out more than any other for an offensive minded player: batting average, home runs and runs batted in. That’s it. Billy Beane will tell you otherwise, but this blog entry isn’t about winning a pennant. It’s about building an All-Star team.
You have until 4:00 on Thursday afternoon to vote for the final All-Star for both the American and National Leagues. Each league has five final players up for the last spot and you can go to mlb.com to cast your vote for the 65th & 66th All-Star.
This is where things get uncomfortable.
Adam Jones shouldn’t make this team.
Yes, Baltimore’s Adam Jones.
In the middle of his best season in the majors, Jones is hitting below .290 with 13 homers and 46 RBI. Jones made the team in ’09 with similar numbers and without the life-preserver known as the final vote. Jones makes numerous defensive plays that would make Dick Enberg scream “Oh my!” He’s a very good player. He’s just not an All-Star.
Paul Konerko, snubbed somehow from the announcement of the A.L. team on Sunday, gets a chance to make the club with the help of the final vote. Smashing almost ten more homers, collecting 18 more RBI and hitting a whopping 39 points better than Jones, Konerko deserves the final spot in Tuesday’s game. Heck, he belongs in the starting lineup.
Naturally, like any other popularity contest, fans from the home city of the player up for the last spot will vote for that player. It’s an interesting concept to get fan involvement into the All-Star Game, but comes across as a vote for your high school president.
Baseball players and managers should vote for every player on the All-Star team. They know more than you about baseball and they know more than me about baseball. Derek Jeter, as I wrote in Monday’s post, doesn’t deserve a spot anywhere near the field for the All-Star Game. Yet, people know his name and voted him in as the starting shortstop for the American League.
There will always be snubs. Mark Teixeira hit 25 homers this season and didn’t make the cut. CC Sabathia won 12 games this season and failed to make the team. I’m certain baseball did this on purpose to eliminate the Yankees and Red Sox from dominating the American League lineup. It’s a no-win situation and it’s a very subjective process.
As long as the game doesn’t end in a tie, everything will be fine.
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