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All Star Snubs
July 9, 2012 - Al Stephenson
Major League Baseball will showcase it's stars tomorrow night at the annual All Star Game. As is usually the case, many people who were (supposedly) deserving of a berth at the festivities will instead get a chance to renew acquaintances with family members for a few days. As is also the case, those who feel snubbed (as well as their supporters) have hit the cry button on their computers.
A couple of issues keep popping up each year around this time. The first is defining what it means to be an all star and secondly did deserving people get left off the respective teams?
I may well be in the minority on this one, but I don't think having a good first half of the season qualifies one to be an all star. I have no particular problem with a young player having a solid three months making the team, but I would prefer to see the veterans who have acquired statistics over the course of a great career be the ones chosen. For me I'll take Chipper Jones over Bryce Harper. A future Hall of Famer, Jones would be a guy I would want to cheer for in Kansas City if I was lucky enough to attend the game. How he fares in the game is secondary to being able to say I saw him at an All Star game.
As for being snubbed - well it happens every year. For the supposed biggest snubs you only have to look to southern Ohio and wonder why Brandon Phillips and Johnny Cueto were not selected to the National League All Star squad. Actually you really don't have to wonder at all. If you are a fan you will recall the skirmish involving the Reds and Cardinals with Johnny Cueto and Brandon Phillips being in the center of things.
It all started when Phillips called out the Cardinal players as being whiners. When he went to the plate to lead off the game the next day he tried to give the bat tap to the shin guard of catcher Yadier Molina, a long time symbol of respect. Molina was having none of it and the two went face to face. Both benches cleared and what ensued can only be considered ugly. As he was being held against the backstop, Cueto kicked at Cardinal players with his cleats. He struck Jason LaRue in the head causing a concussion that ended LaRue's playing career.
Fast forward to 2012. The manager of the National League All Stars is the now retired Tony LaRussa who was the Cardinal boss at the time of the incident. He had the power to select either Phillips or Cueto, but no invitation ever came. Do you think the bad feelings had spilled over? If you don't think so, you must have your head buried in the sand.
Personally I don't think the changes made to the midsummer classic were good. To allow the winner of the game to determine which league gets home field advantage for the World Series makes no sense to me. I liked it better in the old days.
The view from my seat suggests that as a baseball fan, let me watch the proven stars for one night in a game that is just for feeling good. I'd be content with that. If you are snubbed for a relatively meaningless game - who cares!
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