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.