As a New York Mets fan, I would like to tip my cap to San Francisco Giants fans and former St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa and offer an apology to them on behalf of all baseball fans in the Big Apple.
In the week leading up to the MLB All-Star Game, Giants fans were ripped in the New York metropolitan area for stuffing the ballot box to get Pablo Sandoval to start over David Wright, and La Russa took plenty of heat for starting Matt Cain over R.A. Dickey.
As it turned out, both moves were in the best interest of the National League squad.
Sandoval Over Wright
Sandoval, who had far worse stats than Wright in the first half of the season, was the hero in the early-going of the July 10 classic.
He crushed a game-breaking triple off the right field wall that rattled Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander, and turned a manageable 1-0 mark into a 4-0 blowout while fans were still filing into the seats.
To make matters worse for the American League, Sandoval scored on the very next at-bat to open the advantage to 5-0 in the top of the first inning.
It was Sandoval's first triple of the 2012 season. In the week leading up to the All-Star Game, all the talk on New York sports radio stations was of Giants fans stuffing the ballot box to get Sandoval to start the game over Wright, whose stats absolutely trounced the San Francisco slugger.
Sandoval tallied three less homers, 29 fewer RBIs and a batting average .044 points lower than the Mets' third baseman through the first half. Hats off to Giants fans for getting the big bopper in for the start of the game.
Matt Cain Earns The Starting Nod Over R.A. Dickey
La Russa ended up making the correct selection by matching Matt Cain up with his teammate and regular battery mate, Buster Posey, to start the game.
There was plenty of controversy leading up to the All-Star Game, as R.A. Dickey had Cain beat in almost every key category.
Dickey, a 37-year-old standout on the New York Mets, has three more victories, five more strikeouts and a better WHIP than Cain. New York baseball fans were up-and-arms all week because their hero didn't earn the starting nod in his first all-star appearance.
I guess there's a good reason why La Russa is one of the greatest baseball managers of all-time, as his decision to start Cain worked out well. He wanted Philadelphia Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz to catch Dickey, to allow for Posey to catch Cain.
It was clearly the correct move, as the San Francisco Giants ace showed great chemistry with Posey by working a scoreless first inning, allowing just a single to Derek Jeter and a deep fly ball to left field by Josh Hamilton that was caught on the warning track. His second inning of work was just as smooth.
Eric Holden is a lifelong New York Mets fan. Follow him on Twitter @ericholden.
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