July 03, 2011
The complete rosters for July 12's All-Star game in Phoenix have been selected by Bruce Bochy and Ron Washington and have been unveiled to the republic. We'll have plenty more over the next 10 days, but here's a few initial reactions. (The complete rosters can be found here.)
• America, meet Ryan Vogelsong(notes): The baseball world has been smitten with Vogelsong's rags-to-riches tale all season; now it's time for a wider audience to take notice. The 33-year-old righty hadn't pitched in the majors for five seasons before making the Giants as a fifth starter this season, but now he stands as one of the biggest stories of next week's game. With a 6-1 record, a 2.o9 ERA and his own manager leading the NL squad, there's also a chance Vogelsong could start the game. If that happens, production companies should just go ahead and start filming some crowd shots at Chase Field for the inevitable movie they're going to make about Vogelsong's career path.
• AL shortstop for life: Despite a subpar season, Trenton Thunder shortstop Derek Jeter(notes) was voted into his sixth straight Midsummer Classic and 11th overall. Just as you're sure to read plenty of profiles of Vogelsong's time in Japan, you're also going to hear plenty of bellyaching about Jeter's spot on the team with a 77 OPS+. Whatever. It's always been my position that the All-Star game should feature "stars" and there isn't a bigger one in baseball right now than Derek Jeter. With all apologies to Asdrubal Cabrera(notes) — who could start the game anyway if Jeter isn't up to the task — no one's tuning into the game to watch Asdrubal Cabrera.
• Hold your horses on the snub talk: As always, there are plenty of deserving players on the outside looking in right now. Among the list are names like Mark Teixeira(notes), CC Sabathia(notes), Paul Konerko(notes), Andrew McCutchen(notes) and Adam Jones(notes). But before you work yourself up into a lather, ask yourself the question: Are you the type who also complains the All-Star game rosters are too big? Between the final vote spot and injury replacements, there are more chances for the snubbed to receive the chance to collect their All-Star bonuses. And if they don't? Well, I'm sure we'll all be able to move on.
• Well done, Detroit: Tigers catcher Alex Avila(notes) gets the starting nod as American League backstop and it's a well deserved honor with the 24-year-old hitting .299 with 10 homers and 46 RBIs. But give some credit to Detroit Tigers fans for getting out the vote and making sure the right man was selected. Avila had trailed Yankees catcher Russell Martin(notes) by 435,000 votes heading into the final tally.
• Middle relievers are the new black: It's hard to find any positives with All-Star games determining home-field advantage in the World Series, but it has raised the profile of good middle relievers. Since the outcomes matter, the managers are putting more thought into roster construction and that has meant guys like Jonny Venters(notes), Tyler Clippard(notes) and Aaron Crow(notes) get on the teams even though they're not closers. In related news, the agents for those players are turning unexpected cartwheels today.
• Man, Milwaukee gets everything: There's definitely going to be some bellyaching about six of the 10 AL starting spots going to Yankees and Red Sox. But it's time to throw Milwaukee in there, too, with Ryan Braun(notes), Rickie Weeks(notes) and Prince Fielder(notes) all being voted into the NL's starting lineup. Good times in Wisconsin right now.
• Was anyone watching? It's nice that the MLB wants to make an event of its "Selection Sunday," revealing the participants in an hour-long show on TBS. But why do it on a Sunday morning on a holiday weekend when fans are busy with backyard barbecues and beach trips? I'd like to see the show moved to a primetime spot on Thursday night for maximum effect.