This weekend saw the grand unveiling of the All Star rosters, set to do battle upon hallowed Citi Field next week. The starters are, of course, voted on by the fans while the reserves are selected by the respective managers.
The All Star game is…a thing. It isn’t going anywhere and despite Bud Selig’s best efforts to infuse it with meaning, it remains a fun (?) exhibition that also provides a valuable break in the middle of the season.
The biggest problem with the All Star game is right there in that previous sentence: the ASG isn’t what I want it to be, therefore it must be awful.
“It’s for the fans!” “Let’s honor the best players!” “It’s supposed to matter!” The tired complaints/demands around the All Star game and its selection process are, well, tiresome. Yes, all teams should be represented and yes the fan vote often Jeters undeserving players into the starting lineup.
The world of Major League Baseball is not a strict meritocracy – it never will be. And while Bud Selig’s hamfisted decision to imbue the game with purpose has pretty much failed, the game remains a powerful marketing tool and showcase event for the game’s stars.
Famous players should be there. Exciting players who capture the international zeitgeist should be there. It is, more than anything, a piece of entertainment. When Jonathan Papelbon and his ilk complain about Yasiel Puig‘s possible inclusion in the All Star games, it betrays a very player-centric opinion that the game is about them.
So if you don’t care about the All Star game, good. Tune out and use next week as a chance to reconnect with your loved ones or the great out of doors. Ignore the All Star Industrial Complex of reaction pieces, the search for snubs and manufactured outrage. Don’t watch the Home Run Derby because it isn’t as much fun as years gone by – the sponsorship dollars still flow into the event like water.
Just try not to get too worked up about it. Yes, the player from your favorite team totally deserves to be there over the player from your hated rival. It’s totally unjust that Team X’s fans mobilized and voted in Player Y. The bastards.
Related: The Book on Yasiel Puig
Buster Posey is a pretty smart due and, coincidentally, a very good ball player. He’s a great catcher, a two-time World Series champion and the reigning National League MVP. I guess Buster “calls a good game” but I can’t really say for sure – he has pretty good pitchers throwing to him as a rule.
Sunday afternoon, the Dodgers put up three runs in the ninth inning against Giants closer Sergio Romo. Yasiel Puig lead off the inning with a solid single, pulling one of those famous Romo frisbees to left field. Below is a screencap of Giants catcher Guillermo Quiroz, behind the dish for the day.
Nothing unusual here. Quiroz set an outside target, Puig put a good swing on it and hit it hard. No big deal…until you contrast where Buster Posey set up the previous day, when Sergio Romo also faced Yasiel Puig to lead off the ninth inning.
That was the setup for the first pitch, below is where Posey set up for the third and final pitch of the bat, which ended in a strikeout – just as all four of Puig’s plate appearances did Saturday.
Buster moved farther outside, coaxing his pitcher throw his big breaking pitch even farther from a place Puig could hurt them, something I’ve seen Posey do before with more disciplined hitters at the plate.
I’m not saying Buster Posey knows something nobody else has figured out. Everybody knows Yasiel Puigs swings at everything, that’s part of his appeal. Buster Posey just appears willing to go to limits of absurdity – also known as Yasiel Puig’s domain. You have to out-crazy the lunatic, even if it means setting up in the opposing batters box.
In Which The Marlins Tip Their Hand
The Miami Marlins got their annual fire sale under way early this year, finally shipping Ricky Nolasco to the Dodgers for three pitching “prospects” – Angel Sanchez, Steve Ames, and Josh Wall. The “dick fingers” here indicate the relatative quality of the prospects – the biggest name in the deal for LAD is Sanchez, who didn’t even rank among the Dodgers top ten prospects on Baseball Prospectus’ preseason list.
The Marlins took back three relievers in exchange for Nolasco, in addition to sending back international pool money to the Dodgers? Why did the Marlins essentially give the Dodgers money to take their coveted deadline trade piece? So the Dodgers would eat his entire salary, of course.
The Marlins might have held out for a richer prospect haul but instead opted for the cash savings. Which, if we’re being honest, is borderline criminal. The Marlins essentially dumped Nolasco’s salary without making the team’s future significantly brighter.
Perhaps the Marlins baseball ops team sees something in Angel Sanchez or Josh Wall of Steve Ames that others miss. Or perhaps they’re just as reprehensible as we always assumed. They’re the Marlins, keeping operating expenses down is job one.
As baseball fans, we should all hope for a record-setting arbitration reward for Giancarlo Stanton this winter. Let him break records in such a way that the Fish get panicked and ship their slugger out for pennies on the dollar. Free young Giancarlo from that sub-tropical purgatory and let freedom ring. Free Giancarlo Stanton, available to anyone willing to pick up the check.
Game Chart of the Weekend
Bullpen fun weeeeee!
Mike Trout is first player ever with at least 15 HR, 5 triples, 25 doubles and 20 stolen bases before the All-Star break.
— Katie Sharp (@ktsharp) July 8, 2013
There are no pictures in the box score
Clean steal, great jump, perfect hook slide when the kids ask a few years from now.
Photo of the Weekend
Via Tyler Skagg’s instgram, this is a pretty sweet photo.