Showing posts with label someone who actually care about the all-star game. Show all posts
Showing posts with label someone who actually care about the all-star game. Show all posts

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Bitching about the All-Star rosters is dumb

Does that make me dumb by extension if I bitch about the people bitching about the rosters?  Probably.  But there are always going to be fifty worthless "HERE IS MY LIST OF ALL-STAR SNUBS" articles written in the days after the rosters get announced, and I have to post about something.  So here goes.  Lead us off, Scott Miller.

First base: Chris Davis, Orioles
My pick: Davis

Talk about getting out the vote. The Orioles did it better than MTV ever dreamed of.


That's one of the worst jokes I've ever read.

Second base: Robinson Cano, Yankees
My pick: Jason Kipnis, Indians

Yes, this is coin-flip territory. But Kipnis is having one Rock and Roll Hall of Fame summer, 

That is a thing that is in that player's city!

and the message isn't carrying too well across Lake Erie to the rest of the land. Cano, Boston's Dustin Pedroia and the Angels' Howie Kendrick are deserving as well. But Kipnis leads all AL second basemen in OPS (.904), and he's played a significant role in Cleveland's reconstruction. If you want to go Pedroia, that's an acceptable answer, too. 

And so is Cano, who (it shocks me to have to say this) has shouldered a heavy load in a super thin Yankees lineup.  He is usually "protected" (haha snark quotation marks rule) by Travis Hafner.  But go ahead, tell us why you think Cano is the wrong choice.

One very demerit-inducing trend regarding Cano: He's a far worse player at home in New York than on the road this year. In 44 games on the road, he's hitting .326 with 13 homers and 33 RBI. In 43 games at home, he's at .255, 7 and 25. 

Yes, that's right.  Looking at home/road splits over the course of 85 games is a great way to choose your All-Stars.  Not that Kipnis is a bad choice, I just find this criterion to be pretty fucking stupid.  Quick, do another blimp crash of a joke!

Jay-Z might want to address this with his new client. Next thing you know, Cano will be in a Visa commercial addressing his New York nightlife.

Oh dear Lord.

Third base: Miguel Cabrera, Tigers
My pick: Cabrera


Fire up the cognitive dissonance tornado siren!

No question here it's Cabrera, 

True.

and man, is this a tough position to crack. 

Also very true.

The Orioles' Manny Machado (who makes the club as a reserve) and the Rays' Evan Longoria, the Athletics' Josh Donaldson and the Rangers' Adrian Beltre (who didn't) … it's almost like shortstop in the AL in the 1990s when you had a young Jeter, Alex Rodriguez and Nomar Garciaparra. Somebody deserving is going to get hosed. 

Correct.  Now stop, before you--

Speaking of which, how does Donaldson not make the team? 

Wait, what?  You answered that question literally one sentence ago.

Somebody deserving is going to get hosed. Speaking of which, how does Donaldson not make the team? 

Somebody deserving is going to get hosed. Speaking of which, how does Donaldson not make the team? 

Somebody deserving is going to get hosed. Speaking of which, how does Donaldson not make the team? 

Amazing.

Was Angel Hernandez in charge of choosing the reserves?

It's hard to screw up an Angel Hernandez joke, but I think you just did.

Catcher: Joe Mauer, Twins
My pick: Mauer

No other choice here. The Royals' Salvador Perez, the Indians' Carlos Santana, the Astros Jason Castro, the Orioles' Matt Wieters and the Blue Jays' J.P. Arencibia all are having nice seasons, but nobody is more deserving than Mauer (even if Target Field has stripped him of much of his power). 

Career SLG%: .467
2013 SLG%: .466

It's annoying how many writes and fans think Mauer's 2009 (28 HR, 2nd highest total in his career is 13; .587 SLG%, 2nd highest total in a full season in his career is .507) was the norm.  He will almost certainly hit double digits in home runs this year, for only the 4th time in 10 seasons.  

Hard to believe this will be Mauer's first start since 2010.

Well, he was garbage in 2011, and in 2012 he deserved it but the Twins were garbage and the Rangers had won two pennants in a row and sold out like every game and Mike Napoli had been awesome in 2011 (especially in the playoffs), so no, it's not hard to believe at all.

Second base: Brandon Phillips, Reds
My pick: Matt Carpenter, Cardinals

Nobody is a bigger fan of Phillips than me, and he totally got screwed a year ago by not even making the team. That said, Carpenter's OPS is 144 points higher than Phillips' and the kid is having a knockout season. 

All reasonable things to say, so let's just leave it at--

Phillips' lineage, though, is pretty cool: He becomes the first Reds second baseman elected to start an All-Star Game since Hall of Famer Joe Morgan in 1978. Does this mean there one day will be a FireBrandonPhillips.com website?

Barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf

Ken Rosenthal gets in on the action with an utterly worthless column based on the premise that, because the A's are having a good season, they deserve to have a bunch of All-Stars.  Watch him refute his own arguments and wander off aimlessly into nothingness.

They can’t get a new ballpark. Raw sewage flooded parts of their current ballpark. So, the least baseball could do for the Oakland Athletics would be to give them more than one All-Star, right?

I mean, I guess, but only if they really had more than one guy who was deserving.  Unfortunately it's hard to make the case that they do.

The A’s, after all, are the defending AL West champions. 

Not a thing that should be considered when picking All-Stars.  Of course it happens indirectly all the time, because successful teams have more fans voting, but it's not like any objective voter is going to sit there and say "Hey, the A's won their division last year.  I think I'm going to vote for Josh Reddick over Mike Trout."

They’re leading the West again, rolling along with the second-best record in the AL. Over the past 365 days, their 103-63 record is the best in the majors.

Only slightly less important than their 2012 performance.  I mean in theory I hear what he's saying, and it's kind of too bad that Donaldson didn't make it, but the fact is the A's don't really have many All-Star caliber players.  Ho hum, it happens, they're still a really good team.  This is like an 800 word column (I'm not posting all of it here) that probably should be a 125 character tweet.

And they get one stinking All-Star?

Ah, there are reasons. There always are reasons. 

Spoken like someone who already knows they have nothing to say.  

And I’m guessing that at least one of the injustices — the exclusion of right-hander Grant Balfour, the only AL closer who has not blown a save this season — will be corrected.

Complaining about which RPs belong or don't belong on the roster is the stupidest subset of the already very stupid activity of complaining about players who belong or don't belong on the roster.

Righty Bartolo Colon, the Athletics’ only selection, is scheduled to start next Sunday, two days before the All-Star Game. That alone could open a spot for Balfour, according to the “Sunday Pitcher Rule” in the collective-bargaining agreement.

Great, let's move on to the rest of the non-substance of your argument.

The rule gives pitchers who start the Sunday before the ASG the option of participating or not participating. If they participate, they cannot pitch more than one inning. If they elect not to participate, they are replaced on the roster but treated in the same manner as other All-Stars, and encouraged to attend and be announced at the game.

OK, seriously, can we move on?

So, Colon can take one for the team, creating an opening for Balfour. 

JESUS CHRIST.

The withdrawals of other Sunday starters or injuries also could lead to extra roster spots. AL manager Jim Leyland alluded to possible adjustments Saturday, saying, “I wouldn’t jump the gun on anything, because things do change.”

Leyland is a piece of shit, but as Rosenthal himself will shortly show us, he made a pretty solid set of choices in assembling his team.

Leyland, of course, will take the hit for the Great Oakland Snub, 

Seriously?

and his five-player, final-man ballot, as we shall see, is absurd. But with his bullpen, all he did was try to balance his left-handers and right-handers.

To try to win the game, because for better or for worse, it's in the interest of an ASG manager to assemble a roster that will win the game, and not worry about finding space for marginal guys who play for good teams simply because of the fact that they play for good teams.

The players elected righties Mariano Rivera of the Yankees and Joe Nathan of the Rangers, overlooking Balfour. Leyland added lefties Glen Perkins of the Twins and Brett Cecil of the Blue Jays, both of whom have been brilliant.

So you're going to refute your own argument?

Balfour has excelled against left-handed hitters, holding them to a .571 OPS, but Perkins has been even better (.526) and Cecil downright absurd (.293). 

OK, yes you are.

The game determines home-field advantage for the World Series. Can’t fault Leyland for choosing the optimal pieces. Can’t fault him at all.

WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU WRITING ABOUT THEN?  YOU'RE WASTING EVERYONE'S TIME.  I DON'T WANT TO BE WRITING THIS.  NO ONE ELSE WANTS TO BE READING IT.  GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER, ROSENTHAL.

The other Oakland snubs — shortstop Jed Lowrie, 

Maybe having the 5th best season of any SS in the AL, maybe

outfielder Coco Crisp, 

If you really stretch your imagination, you could say he's been a top 8 OF in the AL this year

even third baseman Josh Donaldson 

Already discussed, and while he's awesome, I think it's safe to say Drinky Cabrera and Machado have been awesomer (the latter because of his stellar defense).

— are less egregious. 

Remember the part when he was like "AND THE A'S ONLY GET ONE STINKING ALL-STAR?  THIS IS AN OUTRAGE"?  

The fans elected the Orioles’ J.J. Hardy at short, the players picked the Tigers’ Jhonny Peralta. Crisp missed time with a strained left hamstring, and the fans and players picked six outfielders ahead of him. Donaldson, well, he just got caught up in an unfortunate numbers game.

All correct.

The Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera, naturally, is the fans’ elected starter at third base, while the Orioles’ Manny Machado was the players’ selection. 

I know it's redundant to leave these in when I already addressed it, but it's kind of funny to see him walk everything back, isn't it?

Leyland went with three second basemen, 

All of whom are having seasons so much better than Lowrie or Crisp that it's not even funny.  And Donaldson has been great, but all three of these 2Bs have been better than him too.

choosing the Indians’ Jason Kipnis to go with the fan’s pick, the Yankees’ Robinson Cano, and players’ choice, the Red Sox’s Dustin Pedroia.

But the manager also bypassed Evan Longoria at third, instead picking Ben Zobrist, who offers versatility as a switch-hitter and multi-position player, as his only Ray.

And that's pretty sketchy, because Zobrist is not having a good year (.262/.348/.375), but again, Leyland is trying to win the game.

All that is understandable. 

Thank you for continuing to write nothing at all.

What is not understandable is Leyland’s final-man ballot, which should have been something like this: Donaldson, Longoria, the Angels’ Howie Kendrick, Rangers’ Adrian Beltre and Red Sox’s Jacoby Ellsbury, Daniel Nava or Jose Iglesias.

Except that... say it with me now, Herm Edwards... Leyland is... playing to...

Leyland instead chose five setup relievers — the Jays’ Steve Delabar, Yankees’ David Robertson, Red Sox’s Koji Uehara, Rangers’ Tanner Scheppers and Tigers’Joaquin Benoit. It’s nice to see such pitchers get recognition. But at the expense of worthy position players? Please.

I'll just leave this here.

NL manager Bruce Bochy put together a much more representative and intriguing final-man ballot — the Nationals’ Ian Desmond, Braves’ Freddie Freeman, Giants’ Hunter Pence and Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig and Adrian Gonzalez. 

That ballot is in no way "more representative" than the AL ballot.  The only way either ballot could be non-representative is if the players on it were shitty (nope), or if they were from the opposite league (nope).  It is intriguing, I guess, if you really care about Puig making the team (which I'm sure he will, but let's not shit our pants over whether or not that happens--looking at you, Papelbon) or if you're intrigued by the idea of good-not-great players like Freeman or Pence maybe making an extra $25K due to a bonus clause in their contracts or something.

That’s the way the ballot is supposed to be used — as a last resort for deserving players (and in the case of Pence, as a reward for one of Bochy’s own).

SHAME ON YOU, JIM LEYLAND.  Rosenthal hopes you encounter a situation next week in which you desperately need another third baseman, but only have a bench full of relief pitchers.  Who will look like the idiot when that happens?  (Note: I promise you that outside of the .001% chance that both Machado and Cabrera get hurt during the game, that is not going to happen)

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Greg Doyel loves all-star game, hates Barry Bonds

Blogger won't let me do titles, so, er, that was my title. At any rate this article by Greg Doyel falls into the following categories of "chris w" annoyance:

1.) Bandwagon blahs

2.) Hyperbolic metaphor hacking

3.) Self-important finger wagging.

I think this one is worth going through bit by bit, so as not to miss any juicy stuff.


Chiseling off my fingers, one finger at a time -- one knuckle at a time
-- is an option. Dropping a bowling ball onto my left foot is another option. Impaling my right foot with a lawn dart is yet another possibility. These are some of the things I would do before watching tonight's All-Star Game.


Despite wringing the rock of metaphor so hard he could draw proverbial blood, Doyel's actually got me agreeing with him here. I, being a curmudgeonly, iconoclastic, semi-college-aged smartass, hate the all-star game. I mean, like, don't care to watch it. For instance, Joe Buck and Tim McCarver are the most ignorant, insipid, insidious announcing team in baseball. Berman's pre-game schtick is obnoxious. The intros are always drawn out, the promo tie-ins are pathetic, and in almost all years but 2006, not enough White Sox are involved.

I would rather do all those things Doyel mentioned before watching the ASG. Plus it's got that dead day afterward where there are no sports that I can't bear. So I'm with Doyel here...too bad he didn't end the essay there.


Tonight, Barry Bonds will get love. Tonight, I will get sick. But only if I watch the All-Star Game in San Francisco, where the home crowd will undoubtedly treat Bonds like the loveable guy he is not.

So I won't watch, which gives me yet another reason to loathe Bonds. He was dislikeable for years, well before the steroid era, for his surly, narcissistic, arrogant yet insecure personality. He became more dislikeable for cheating so blatantly that his head grew, his body grew, his power grew and his place among baseball's all-time best grew. He became more dislikeable for the way he has refused to acknowledge his history with performance-enhancing drugs, instead calling the mountain of evidence a "witch hunt."

Besides the bandwagon blahs perpetrated here (der...I hate Barry Bonds. der...He's a mean person. der...Barry is a blight on baseball) let's look at Doyel's logical progression, laid out as such:

Barry Bonds will get love tonight.

I will get sick.

But only if I watch the all-star game.

So I won't watch the all-star game.

There's got to be a better way to say this....And furthermore, how do we know Barry won't get booed? I'm almost positive he will (I won't be watching, as I said earlier in this article, but I'll find out somehow). What's likely to happen is a smattering of cheers with boos. How is that not appropriate? Here's a guy who will be booed in his own home stadium at the all-star game. If you were the kind of person who hates Bonds with a taste for blood, like Doyel, wouldn't that be a cathartic moment rather than a sickening one? I mean, why is Doyel so certain he won't get booed? Did ticket holders have to sign a binding contract not to boo?

Anyway.

Now this. Now he's taken the All-Star Game from me, and for that, I'm
pissed.


Calm down.

Baseball is the only sport whose All-Star Game matters. The NFL's Pro Bowl is a joke. The NBA's All-Star Game is a slam-dunk competition. Hockey and soccer are pointless. Baseball has always been the one to watch, this exhibition game somehow providing some of the great moments in the sport's history, including Pete Rose's leveling of Ray Fosse in 1970, Reggie Jackson's home run off the Tiger Stadium light tower in 1971 and Bo Jackson's 448-foot leadoff homer into the green tarp of Anaheim Stadium in 1989.


Ok. The pro-bowl is unwatched. Find. The NBA all-star game is pretty low-rent, but people still manage to care. Hockey's may be pointless if you don't watch hockey, but it's up there with baseball as something people care about. The skill challenges might be the best thing going on in any sport. Soccer, I wouldn't know about, as I don't watch MLS (therefore, it's pointless). Even so, if you're swallowing the bullshit that the MLB ASG still matters, you must not have watched it recently. Notice that of the three "momentous" events (which are truly memorable, I'd agree), two happened in the 70's. The third happened almost twenty years ago, and was just a freak display of athletic prowess. I would argue that any number of awesome slam dunk contest jams are as memorable.

But the point is, great ASG moments are a forgotten relic. The last memorable thing to happen at an all-star game is the commissioner deciding it was so irrelevant as a contest that he declared it a tie. A fucking tie. Now, Selig may be a moron, but it says something that the only ASG moments in recent history worth a damn were that and a sentimental moment involving a statistically undeserving but sentimentally deserving Cal Ripken hitting a beach ball sized lob job a half row back. Oh and Sammy Sosa hit a bunch of HR's in the HR derby 5 years ago. But that's the HR derby, not the ASG....and Bonds didn't participate in the HR derby (and by logical extension, didn't make Greg Doyel slightly nauseous.

Even the pregame introductions are cool. One by one, the greatest players in America's greatest game trot onto the field. Sometimes the crowd cheers, sometimes the crowd boos, and half the fun is trying to guess what the reception will be. And then there's that goose-bump moment when the home stadium's All-Star is introduced. That guy, whoever it is, always gets the biggest cheer of the night. That's the way it should be, and even though I know it's coming, I still get tingly every time.


Ok but you left something out--someone always gets booed. In fact, many someones often get booed. Usually it's Bonds and whoever's the representative(s) from the home team's division rivals. Usually after that happens an exaggerated, hyperbolic invective is written about how classless it is to boo at the all-star game, blah blah blah. But I digress. The point is, all Doyel's doing is establishing how devastating a symbolic gesture it will be when home town fans actually do boo Bonds. Because it will happen. Seriously.

I don't want to tingle tonight. I would tinkle, however, all over Bonds if I could. I'd tinkle on Bonds and then the 30,000 or 40,000 hypocritical San Francisco fans who will cheer him tonight, their misguided applause producing a moment that would never give me goose bumps -- but might give me goiter.


Seriously? A tinkle joke? Actually, this is my favorite part of the article.

Honestly, cheering Bonds? That is misguidedly blind devotion, and there are few things less attractive in sports than a fan base's misguidedly blind devotion. For years Yankee Stadium hated Roger Clemens, and rightfully so, until he started taking Boss Steinbrenner's money. So now the mercenary is embraced by the Bronx despite being the same self-centered hunk of rubbish he's always been. A partisan fan base with its biased and even irrational appreciation of all things "us" is cool right up to the point where it is given a clear choice between good and evil and it chooses Bonds evil.


Can you believe how outraged Doyel is about an event that hasn't happened yet, and that almost certainly won't happen in the way he envisions?

And what's this crap about Clemens? He was hated because he was on their division rivals. You really wanted them to boo Clemens when he was helping them win championships? That's insane. Further, the only way this would have anything to do with Bonds is if you were chiding Yankees fans for not booing at Clemens's steroid use. I would totally support that, if Doyel brought Clemens obvious steroids use into this discussion. But of course not--that would remind us that Bonds isn't the only person ever in the history of humanity to use steroids...something antithetical to Doyel's bizarre crusade.

Oh one last thing--in the article, the word Bonds in the last sentence is struck through and replaced by the subsequent "evil." See what he's doing there? Try to keep up, dear reader. Greg Doyel's wit is nimble.

That'll be the choice facing Giants fans tonight. Given this indelible opportunity to tell Bonds that what he stands for, what he has become, will not be tolerated at any ballpark in America, even his own, San Francisco fans will instead issue a chilling demonstration of mindless groupthink by cheering for a player who, if he played anywhere else, would get the biggest boos of the night.

Ok, that's fine. This is the crux of the argument and the only really interesting thing about this situation--the dilemma of being a Giants fan. Does Doyel really think that Giants fans are uniquely disposed to encouraging cheating?

The problem that uniquely faces Giants fans that their best player and face of the franchise is, more and more, year by year, revealed to be a complete scumbag, is a fascinating issue, one Doyel ignores in his haste to generalize, stereotype, and harangue.

And it's not as if Bonds will reciprocate the love. Already given a chance to thank his home fans for saving him the embarrassment of being left out of the All-Star Game in the year it is played (A) at his home park and (B) in the season in which he will become baseball's all-time home run king, Bonds farted in his fans' general direction.


Monty Python! zomg!

He declined an invitation to participate in the Home Run Derby Monday night, and while there were all kinds of reasons for him to do so, there was this unassailable fact that demanded he take part: San Francisco fans rigged the All-Star vote in the final hours to get him into the game in the first place.


So what are you saying? That he had justification not to? Or that he had to? It was nice of his fans to vote him in, and I'm sure they would have liked to see him in the derby, but a lot of players decline to play in the derby because they believe it fucks with their swing or that it might lead to injury which would prevent them from helping their team (and fans) in games that, you know, um, like, matter?

It may be an unpopular move with some fans, but it's not "farting in their general direction" (I can't get over how hilarious people who quote monty python are).

At the urging of the Giants organization, which posted information on the club's official website on how to legally if shamelessly flood the ballot box, San Francisco fans helped Bonds overcome a seemingly insurmountable deficit to the Cubs' Alfonso Soriano to become the National League's third starting outfielder.


Ok--so what is it: Barry hates his fans and never does anything to make them happy. Or that maybe Barry's relationship with the SF fans transcends your narrow view of him as a juiced up monster?

I'm not necessarily saying any of the following things:

a.) Barry Bonds is a good person

b.) All SF fans love Bonds

c.) No SF fans are ignorant sheep.

What I am saying is that when a fan base continues to generally support a man who not only is a known cheater, but also has been crucified in the media for being the world's most self-centered, self-serving, egomaniacal asshole, it might be worthwhile to investigate WHY THIS IS, rather than make inflammatory, posturing, contradictory statements and calling that an article.

If San Francisco fans hadn't pushed Bonds into the starting lineup, National League manager Tony La Russa was no lock to include him as a reserve. Being left out of this All-Star Game, in this city and in this season, would have been the perfect message to send to Bonds. Alas, he will be at the game not only as an All-Star, but as an All-Star starter. San Francisco will cheer. Every other baseball city will cringe.


Once again, a lot of conjecture, not just about whether SF fans will uniformly cheer Bonds, but also whether LaRussa would have left him off. Doyel acts like SF fans saved Barry from not making the team. My guess would be that LaRussa, being a generally knowledgable baseball guy, would have taken one of the best hitters in baseball, whose home team also happened to be hosting the ASG. That's usually how these things happen..don't you think?

Me? I'll be doing something else. Stapling my tongue to my upper lip is one possibility. Removing my ears, frying them in lard and feeding them to my dog is another.
Turning on the television and watching Bonds get unconditional love from 40,000 baseball fans? No way. That would hurt me too much.

Like I said, I also will probably not be watching the ASG. But a lot of people are like Doyel and do watch the ASG.

But you know who the all-star game is really for, especially in this day and age where you CAN see every superstar play whenever you want to (something that, it's hard to remember, wasn't always the case)? It's for fans, especially the kids. What are we supposed to do? Pretend steroids don't exist? Pretend Bonds doesn't exist? Pretend MLB hasn't been looking the other way for years and honoring Bonds with myriad ASG appearances and MVPs?

I don't think so. He's going to hit 756 some time this year and mlb is going to honor him and we're going to gnash our teeth and wring our hands and hate Bud Selig because that's the way it should be. These things have happened, and it's just the way it is and we need to accept that whether Bonds cheated or not (he did), he still did these things. These accomplishments are real, however distorted.

Why should the All-Star game be any different?