Tuesday, July 3, 2007

No Complaints

Arguing about the All-Star game is a summer tradition rivaling (surpassing?) the game itself. In fact, the word “snub” was coined just hours after the announcement of the first All-Star teams.[1] In the summer doldrums, the All-Star game single-handedly keeps sports talk radio alive for an entire ten days. Unfortunately, those of us looking forward to increased levels of ire this year have been sorely disappointed. The hard truth is, the fans, players, and coaches charged with picking the teams did a pretty decent job.

Usually, the players chosen to fill baseball’s one-player-per-team rule are the obvious targets for dispute, stealing spots from more deserving players on well-represented teams. This year’s crop of only-one players is pretty solid, though. Barry Bonds made it from the Giants; Ken Griffey represents the Reds. Bobby Jenks from the White Sox is a little bit shaky, but that team is in such disarray that any choice would have left us wanting. Even the Royals’ rep, starter Gil Meche, has a line that won’t make anyone cringe.

I was watching the Baseball Tonight guys during their ASG-reaction show, and their desperation told the story. Kruk and whoever the other guy is now were trying to make an argument for Sammy Sosa from the Rangers, because he has a pretty RBI total. That whole team is a mess, but Michael Young is as good a choice as any, and he doesn’t take a spot from any obvious middle infielder except perhaps Orlando Cabrera. No crime was committed there.

Joe Sheehan at Baseball Prospectus makes a solid point here (subscription required, I believe), pointing out that Freddy Sanchez, the Pirates’ representative, could have been left off for a member of their bullpen, meaning Jose Valverde could stay home and Hanley Ramirez from Florida could find a spot. That would have improved things, for sure; Ramirez is one of the great young players in the game. Unfortunately, the NL team is carrying four first basemen (SteakGrowsOnDmitri comes from Washington, and Tony La Russa wisely added Albert Pujols to the roster), which squeezes the middle infield spots a bit. I’m a big fan of Ramirez, but won’t lose any sleep over it; he’ll have plenty of appearances under his belt before he’s through.

I guess we’ll just have to enjoy Morneau at the Home-Run Derby, with nothing to complain about.
[1] Possibly untrue.

1 comment:

John said...

"their desperation told the story"

Great line Sharkey. So true. In the media business, you start to look for the easy story, out of laziness mostly. It just kills us when it's not there.