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.
My pick: Jason Kipnis, Indians
Yes, this is coin-flip territory. But Kipnis is having one Rock and Roll Hall of Fame summer,
Oh dear Lord.
Third base: Miguel Cabrera, Tigers
My pick: Cabrera
Fire up the cognitive dissonance tornado siren!
No question here it's Cabrera,
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).
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.
The A’s, after all, are the defending AL West champions.
And they get one stinking All-Star?
Ah, there are reasons. There always are reasons.
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.
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.
So, Colon can take one for the team, creating an opening for Balfour.
Leyland, of course, will take the hit for the Great Oakland Snub,
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.
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).
The other Oakland snubs — shortstop Jed Lowrie,
The Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera, naturally, is the fans’ elected starter at third base, while the Orioles’ Manny Machado was the players’ selection.
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.
All that is understandable.
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.
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.