Monday, July 06, 2009

All-Star Roster Thoughts

Here are the rosters, for those who haven't had a chance to check them out yet:

Pretty good stuff, in general. I spent the last few weeks gearing up to launch head-first into a diatribe about how fans have no idea how to pick an All-Star team, but for the most part, the baseball populous impressed me. The only glaring misfire is Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton, whose numbers last year, and his showing in the 2008 Home Run Derby seemed to buy him a free pass this year. Of the Rangers 80 games thus far this year, Hamilton has been healthy for 35 -- not exactly All-Star material. All in all, though, this cast fairly well reflects the best in the game.

I'm not sure if it's a marketing issue, but it seems like the NBA has the most trouble getting the right guys into the All-Star game. NBA fans had been voting Vince Carter into the February weekend showcase for years, though Carter had admitted to doggin' it in his time with the Raptors. I'm less than tempted to go back through the archives and find all the injured players that have been voted into the NBA All-Star game over the last 10 years. And not just guys with sore toes; we're talking about players that hadn't suited up all year!

But I digress. With the way that baseball has handled all of its other problems lately, I wouldn't be surprised if the entire All-Star system was fabricated. Josh Hamilton was inserted to give the public the impression that the "foolish fans" had voted him in despite his health issues -- you know, throw us off the scent. I said the voting was impressive, but it is awfully close to TOO impressive for the general public. Derek Jeter is just about the only "old fart" to make either team. Hm.

In any case, this should shape up to be an entertaining matchup. Some of the game's top young talent will gather in a TOP baseball city and strut their stuff. Guys like Matt Cain that never got any run support finally have the W/L record to earn a trip. Josh Johnson from the Marlins has been a marvelous surprise. Zack Greinke and his ridiculous ERA. I'm excited.

I still have no idea why the All-Star game is being played for home field in the World Series, but so it goes. Well, that's a lie. We had a tie, the people revolted, the All-Star game was given "importance", different people revolted, and now we're here. I won't pretend to know a good solution to that little pickle, but I, personally, don't feel like the All-Star game needs to determine anything. I just finished ragging on the NBA above, so here I'll give credit where credit's due. Other than a sham of a Rookie-Sophomore game every year, the NBA All-Star weekend is pretty perfect. Specialist contests (dunks, 3's, handles), tons of fanfare, player parties, Shaq slithering across platforms, it's ALL THERE. The Home Run Derby has the potential to be incredible, but the rest of the games are pretty pathetic.

Why not come up with some sort of Control Pitcher competition? Maybe a Fielding Contest? There are certainly other impressive baseball acts that don't get any coverage at the All-Star game. I know chicks dig the long ball, but I wager everyone else would suffer Jawdroppery if they saw a pitcher sling a sinker through a grapefruit-sized target from 150 feet away. Tell me that wouldn't be awesome!

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