The Chicago Cubs will enter a road series against the Atlanta Braves on Monday, July 2. The Cubs' Bryan LaHair was recently selected to play in the 2012 MLB All-Star Game; however, Chipper Jones of the Braves was not. While Jones could still claim a spot over the next week, as a Cubs fan, I believe this could be a sign that things are finally looking up for the young, rebuilding Cubs.
LaHair, named to the National League All-Star squad as a first baseman, has 13 home runs and 28 RBIs in his first full season in the major leagues. At 29 years old, LaHair has been impressive enough to earn a position in the team's outfield following the arrival of top prospect Anthony Rizzo. Cubs fans would love this to be the start of great careers for both players and that the two left-handed power hitters can be successful in the same lineup for a while.
Jones, on the other hand, is in the final season of a great career. A seven-time all-star, Jones has accumulated 460 home runs, 1,590 RBIs and a .304 batting average over 19 seasons in Atlanta. His teams appeared in the postseason 11 times, with Jones maintaining a .288 average and a .411 on-base percentage in 92 playoff games.
No baseball fan would think LaHair is as good as Jones at this point in their careers. Still, as things stand right now, LaHair will be representing the Cubs next week, along with shortstop Starlin Castro, as Jones watches. Furthermore, with the league's loss of Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder, LaHair is currently the only other first baseman on the National League team behind starter Joey Votto and could see a few innings of playing time.
Whether this is the beginning of a string of all-star games and a long career in Chicago, or ends up being LaHair's only appearance in the game, Cubs fans will be supporting our player. Meanwhile, Jones will have a chance through the MLB Final Vote, but will be competing against teammate Michael Bourn and rookie phenom Bryce Harper for fan votes. I will be cheering for LaHair, but I would also like to see Jones named to his eighth all-star team.
Mike Patton is a sports fan who grew up in New Orleans cheering for the New Orleans Saints, Chicago Cubs, and LSU Tigers. As a kid in 1987, he made his first trip to Wrigley Field and also slept outside of the Louisiana Superdome to purchase playoff tickets for the Saints' first postseason appearance. Follow Mike on twitter @MikePattonGBS.