Tag Archives: All-Star game

Did R.A. Dickey get hosed by not being named National League starter for the All-Star Game?

I was a bit late in catching up to the news today that Matt Cain was named National League starter for the All-Star Game tomorrow in Kansas City. That surprised me, because I figured R.A. Dickey of the New York Mets would likely be chosen by virtue of his higher victory total.

What didn’t surprise me was that there was controversy over Tony LaRussa’s choice. San Francisco fans would have been irritated if Dickey got the start, just as Mets fans are aggrieved that Dickey didn’t (as per a sampling of reaction on Twitter).

As a Giants fan, I’m happy Cain is getting the recognition and I’m delighted that the starting battery will be orange and black as Buster Posey will catch. I can also understand why Mets fans are upset.

If a year has passed in which there wasn’t some faction of fans ticked off over an All-Star selection, it must have been before I was born. As quantifiable as baseball is by statistics, judgment calls still rule.

Many fans think the All-Star game should be based strictly on the season being played, but that’s not how it works. Just as when some actors get Oscars for lesser movies late in their careers, Major League Baseball adds a dash of career achievement into All-Star selections.

This time around, the baseball academy gave the nod to Matt Cain, who’s been one of the game’s best hurlers over the past several years. If Dickey’s knuckler keeps floating and he keeps winning, he might get the start in some future year — maybe at the expense of somebody who’s having a similar breakout year.





The Ball Caps Blog 2011 American League All-Star ballot

Here’s my All-Star ballot for the AL:

Catcher – Alex Avila of the Detroit Tigers dominates in most categories, so he gets the nod over Matt Wieters of Baltimore.

First Base – Adrian Gonzalez is having the (green) monster year expected of him with the Red Sox, so he gets the nod over powerful Mark Texeira of the Yankees.

Second base – A tough call here, but I’d start Robinson Cano, whose power trumps Howard Kendrick of the Angels.

Third base – Alex Rodriguez of the Yanks. What a weak year for the hot corner in both leagues.

Shortstop – Asdrubal Cabrera of the Cleveland Indians, hands down.

Outfield — Jose Bautista of the Toronto Blue Jays leads the field, with Curtis Granderson of New York and Jacoby Ellsbury of Boston.

Designated Hitter — David Ortiz of the Red Sox.

Pitcher: I’d start Jon Lester of Boston by virtue of his nine wins, with teammate Josh Beckett, Jared Weaver of the Angels, Justin Verlander of Detroit and CC Sabathia of New York filling out the staff.

In the bullpen, the closers would be Brandon League of the Seattle Mariners and the incomparable Mariano Rivera of the Yanks.

This is the ballot I’m submitting for the Baseball Bloggers Alliance All-Star team. Check out the alliance with a click!


DH – David Ortiz, with honorable mention to Victor Martinez

The Ball Caps Blog 2011 National League All-Star ballot

The All-Star Game approaches, and it’s time to reveal my choices. Crazy, I know, but I believe the All-Star starters should be the best nine players from the league based on their present-year performance.

So here are my picks for the senior circuit:

Catcher – Brian McCann of the Atlanta Braves, a chest protector’s width ahead of Yadier Molina of the St.Louis Cardinals.

First base – Joey Votto of the Cincinnati Reds, edging Prince Fielder of the Milwaukee Brewers. I’m watching the words form here and still can’t believe I’m ranking Albert Pujols third.

Second Base – Rickie Weeks of Milwaukee, powering his way past Brandon Phillips of Cincinnati.

Third base – Placido Polanco of the Philadelphia Phillies, well out in front of the others.

Shortstop – Jose Reyes of the New York Mets. His year has been so awesome, I didn’t even bother to check the stats of anybody else.

Outfield – Matt Kemp of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Ryan Braun of the Brewers and Hunter Pence of the Houston Astros. I dare anyone to challenge the first two, and I give Pence the No. 3 slot based on his all-around play.

Starting pitchers: Roy Halladay of the Fightin’ Phils gets the start, with teammate Cole Hamels, Jair Jurgens  and Tommy Hanson of Atlanta and Jhoulys Chacin of the Colorado Rockies filling out a dream five-man rotation.

At closer, J.J. Putz of the Arizona Diamondbacks has the top stats, and Brian Wilson of the San Francisco Giants has been huge in so many close-game victories.

This is the ballot I’m submitting to the Baseball Bloggers Alliance for its annual All-Star team. My American League choices follow in another post soon.

Capping off the Home Run Derby

large_princemgWhile not wearing a cap, Prince Fielder won the Home Run Derby tonight in St. Louis on the eve of the All-Star Game. In fact, several sluggers went capless in taking their hacks at Busch Stadium, and maybe that’s just as well. I was not keen on either of the league’s cap and jersey styles. To me, the All-Star Game always has been special, and seeing all the caps and colors from the various teams represented made it so.

One of my Twitter buddies, who posts a San Francisco Giants blog called Nuschlers News, asked during the derby if anyone besides him preferred the old days when the players wore their own team uniforms or at least their team caps while at the All-Star Game. I’m not sure how many replies he received, but all but two preferred players wearing their own apparel.

The derby is a lot of fun, and our family usually makes a point to watch, although it’s a little more difficult out here in the Pacific time zone than it was when we lived in the Eastern.

The kids running loose in the outfield to retrieve flyballs is a nice, if calculated, touch. You can imagine the baseball marketing guys saying, “Let’s remind everybody that this is a game for kids played by men who still are kids at heart.” Yeah, yeah. And let’s all profit richly (by selling All-Star uniforms and caps, say?).

But I shan’t crab anymore. The All-Star Game and the hoopla surrounding it are genuine American creations and traditions. I can’t remember if the players revert to their own uniforms and caps in the game itself, but I certainly hope that’s what happens tomorrow night. I want to see Tim Lincecum in San Francisco orange and black standing on the sidelines for the anthem with Manny Ramirez in his Dodger blue, Derek Jeter in Yankee pinstripes and Ichiro sporting the Mariners’ compass rose. Those “ordinary” uniforms gathered on one diamond underscore just how special a night it is.

Vote for Pablo!

A journalist by profession, I usually refrain from taking sides. I try to see the merits and disadvantages of each aspect of an issue, causing me occasionally to over-analyze a situation. I confess, I’ve been overthinking the issue of fans voting for the American and National league All-Star game rosters.

Major League Baseball is using its “Final Vote” promotion to lure fans to its Web site and vote among five players in each league for the final spots on the AL and NL teams. The traditionalist devil in pinstripes on my left shoulder keeps shouting in my ear, “It’s a crass commercial gimmick that diminishes the dignity of the game.”

The “lighten up” angel wearing Astros’ mustard stripe double-knits on my right shoulder says calmly and confidently: “Hey, it’s game. It’s for the fans. It’s fun.”

I listened to the angelic voice and have been stopping by MLB a couple times each day. I’ve cast most of my AL votes for Carlos Pena of the Tampa Bay Rays. But on every single one of my NL ballots, I’ve marked Pablo Sandoval of the San Francisco Giants, the guy under the “SF” cap above.

The Giants organization is having some fun with it. On last night’s telecast, Duane Kuiper and Mike Krukow were plugging Sandoval, the “Kung Fu Panda,” as they broadcast from a platform down the right field line. Behind them were “Vote Pablo” posters plastered to the brick walls of AT&T Park.

I imagine the other teams are likewise pumping the fans to vote for their players. The voting, which ends at 4 p.m. EDT Thursday, lasts only a few days. The dignity of baseball can surely survive that.

And now, back to voting, Chicago-style, early and often (and late) for Pablo.