Tuesday, July 10, 2012


Baseball All Stars-2012

Baseball All Stars-2012

Most Major League baseball teams have played half of their regular season games, give or take 81 games. As has been the case for many years, at this point in the season, there is a break called the All Star Break. Most of the players look for a little respite for a few days. The chosen few have gathered this year in Kansas City to celebrate the game.

Festivities always begin with a “Home Run Derby”. Sluggers from both leagues strut their stuff in a knockout competition, resulting in bragging rights for the winner. This year, Prince Fielder stole the show with a fine display of hitting, for his second crown. He ousted the Blue Jays’ Jose Bautista in the final, as the American Leaguers swept the Nationals in the competition.

The All Star game itself is not just for fits and giggles. The winning team also gains home field advantage in the upcoming World Series. That will not be terribly significant to the Oakland club, as their chances of participating in post season play are slim, slim, and none. Because of the main difference between the leagues, that being the use of a designated hitter in the American League, there is something on the line.

Most of the all stars are chosen by the fans. Ballots are distributed in all Major League parks prior to the game. Fans can also vote on line. Fans punch out circles on the ballots, and send them to an address in Massachusetts. One player may be selected for each position, as well as three outfielders. Fans may also write in the names of players not listed on the ballot.

On line voting is the most popular method of choosing the players. Fans are restricted from voting too many times. I think the limit is 25 votes per day.

The Texas Rangers played their last game before the break at home. It was a typically sweltering Texas evening, with the possibility of a shower or two. Early in the game, a runner led off first base as the pitcher prepared to face the next batter. Unexpectedly, there was the loudest clap of thunder most of the fans and players had ever experienced. The base runner hit the deck. Players scurried off the field. Fortunately, no one was hurt. The umpires huddled, and the rains came.

With such a break in the action, the television network decided to fill the air time with a wonderful show. Major League baseball players were contacted, and asked to select the best players in the major leagues. Players selected essentially became all stars chosen by their peers, which, of course is the way that it should be done. No popularity contest. No stuffing of the ballot box. Simply the best. In ascending order. Six players.

  1. Carlos Ruiz, catcher, Philadelphia Phillies. “Chooooch” has been assigned the job of handling the best, and likely the most expensive pitching corps in the majors. He had one 7 runs-batted-in game this year, and is arguably the best defensive catcher in baseball.

  1. Paul Konerko, first base, Chicago White Sox. Don’t be surprised to see him enter the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown some day. Last year he had 31 home runs, his 12th season with at least 20 home runs, breaking Frank Thomas’ club record.

  1. David Wright, Third base, New York Mets. This is his ninth season, and he experienced a bit of an off year last year. He is an amazing fielder, and usually bats .300.

  1. Melky Cabrera. Left Field, San Francisco Giants. Last year was a breakout season for Cabrera, with 100 runs, more than 200 hits, and better than a .300 average from each side of the plate! He is one of 95 players from the Dominican Republic now in the Major Leagues.

  1. Joey Votto, First Base, Cincinnati Reds. Only Canadian of the lot. Joey gets on base more often than any other player in the majors. He was the MVP in 2010 of the National League. In 2 100 plate appearances, he has only popped out three times! (Some players have been known to pop out three times in one game!)

  1. Josh Hamilton, Left Field, Texas Rangers. Many of the players polled regard Hamilton as “not human”! He had one game this year in which he hit four home runs, a la Carlos Delgado. At Camden Yards, he had eight runs batted in. Feared by all starting pitchers.

There you have it: All Stars chosen by their fellow players. The way it should be done.

James Hurst


July 10, 2012.   


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