All-Star Game Thoughts – Part 1

Ah….All-Star selections. In recent years, I haven’t had too much beef with the selections, but man, do I have a lot to say about this one:

– First of all, many of you may not agree with this, but I believe that the All-Star game should exactly be that: a game of STARS. I have no problem with superstars that are having off-years or declining surefire hall-of-famers being included in the game over mediocre journeymen having small-sample-size-skewed randomly good first halves. So, I have no problem with including Jeter and Chipper on the rosters, especially when there aren’t really great alternatives available. Even though I’m a Tigers fan, do I want to see Jhonny Peralta over Jeter in an All-Star game? HELLLLLLL NO.

– Along those lines, because the sample size of just the first half of a season is so small, past achievements should be considered, especially performance from the second half of the previous season. Obviously, current season first half performance should be the primary criterion, but if a player has an awesome second half the previous year and ended up winning the MVP award (or getting close), that’s fresh enough in people’s minds that they should want to see that player in the all-star game. So I have no problem with putting a defending MVP like Josh Hamilton in the game, even though he has been injured this year.

– On the other hand, I don’t believe that you can reward players based simply on a team’s performance from the previous year. Let’s all admit it now; the Giants got lucky last year. Does that mean they should get undeserving players into the All-Star game because their manager has a hand in selection? That’s stupid. Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain are borderline but acceptable selections due to their track records, but Ryan Vogelsong is not an All-Star and neither is Brian Wilson.

– Let me say that again, BRIAN WILSON IS NOT AN ALL-STAR. The guy is like the 2nd ranked reliever in fantasy but he has a 1.42 WHIP and, trust me, every Giants fan in the Bay Area is having a heart attack every time he is on the mound. Moreover, he is a relief pitcher. More on that later.

– How bad is the National League? The NL starters include Rickie Weeks at second base and Placido Polanco at third base, and those selections are actually defensible. That’s sad. The Polanco selection is particularly bad. This is a guy who has no power and no speed, whose only asset is hitting for average….and he’s hitting .274. Aramis Ramirez would be a better choice, but it’s not like there’s a huge difference between those players. Whatever.

– RANT FOR ETERNITY: For the millionth time, there are WAY TOO MANY RELIEVERS IN THE ALL-STAR GAME. Think about it this way: in the American League, there are five starting pitchers per team, so about 70 starting pitchers total. There are only 14 closers; one per team. All-Star selections should conform to those ratios; there should be five starters on the roster for every closer. The ratio this year is two to one. That doesn’t even factor in the fact that starting pitchers have thrown well over 100 innings by the break, while relievers are more at like, what, 30? And, since most selections are made off of current season performance and not historical performance, how do you put a reliever in an All-Star game after a measly 30 innings pitched? That’s like putting a starter into an All-Star game after four or five good starts. It’s immensely stupid. Again, I love the Tigers, but Jose Valverde does not belong in the All-Star game, and Brandon League and Chris Perez DEFINITELY do not. In general, the AL All-Star pitching staff should annually be made up up of 10 starters, Mariano Rivera, and then MAYBE one other closer if they are having a great year (none of this year’s selections qualify). And don’t even get me started on including MIDDLE RELIEVERS. Craig Kimbrel beat out Johnny Venters for the closer job in Atlanta, and is having a fantastic season, tied for the major league lead with 25 saves with good ERA and WHIP numbers and is the #1 fantasy reliever this year….and VENTERS is the All-Star and not KIMBREL? I don’t care how good Venters’ numbers are. He’s a middle reliever. The only way a middle reliever should be in an All-Star game is if he has 50+ IP, 75+ Ks, zero losses, an ERA under 1.00 and the ability to fly. Tyler Clippard is having a great season but he’s not quite there.

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