First and foremost, I think the Major League Baseball All Star Game is the best all-star game in sports. Not even close. Maybe it’s the nature of the game or the fact that the players actually have to try, aside from one alleged pitch to Derek Jeter in 2014. Maybe, for the last twelve years, this is the only all-star game that meant anything. But perhaps the Midsummer Classic is just what James Earl Jones taught us in Field of Dreams: “The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time.” For some reason, however, this year’s All Star Game roster announcement left me with somewhat of a sour taste in my mouth.
I will give some credit to the fans as there was not an effort to stuff the ballot box with guys who don’t belong on this stage just because they are on the ‘popular team’ (I’m looking at you Cubs and Royals fans). Also, as I had already noted, it reminded me that this game will not mean anything other than crowning a winner and loser. Maybe I’m just sentimental because for most of my life, I have watched baseball since my early childhood and the MLB All Star Game decided home field in the World Series and there was always more hustle than the other all-star games. I am willing to give the current players the benefit of the doubt, that they will take pride in their All Star game.
On one side, my hat goes off to the American League Roster, as six starters make their first appearance and these guys have all proven to be All Star worthy. I really can’t complain about anything too major on the AL side, other than Dellin Betances in free fall mode being on the roster and one of my favorite players, Mike Trout being elected a starter even though he has missed significant time with injury. My issue with this year’s All Star Game is with the National League roster. I really don’t have an issue with any of the starters, as they are all very qualified and once again it’s not the usual cast of characters. I personally think Zack Cozart getting a donkey from Joey Votto might be “THE” story of the All Star Game (sorry Aaron Judge, you had a good run).
The main issue for me was this year’s Final Vote ballot; quite frankly I’m baffled that Xander Boagaerts and Mike Moustakas were even on the ballot. Here’s where a bit of my bias comes in; again, the National League Final ballot sticks out. Justin Turner missed about a month of the season; to me, that somewhat cheapens the All Star Game.
In addition, I think it is a travesty that Kris Bryant made the Final Vote ballot when the man playing third on the team to the north of them, both geographically and in the standings, Travis Shaw was left off. Shaw is out playing Bryant on all fronts, hitting .297 to Bryant’s .263, 18 homeruns to 16, a .928 OPS to .899 and .977 fielding percentage as compared to Bryant’s .956. I also don’t understand Justin Bour’s contention other than that he plays for Miami. (BIAS ALERT) Corey Knebel should not be the only Brewer involved in next week’s festivities, as Travis Shaw and Orlando Arcia have made very solid cases to be in the Midsummer Classic. Furthermore, how is Eric Thames not in the Homerun Derby? I fully realize that the roster is overall going to be deserving but, how can teams leading their respective division not have All Stars? Same story for the Red Sox! Do you think there were any other snubs? Any other complaints about the All Star Game? Comment in the discussion area!