MugShots: Take me out to the all-star game
There was an actually baseball discussion at the Daily the other day. I mean, we have some late at night, but that’s usually our valiant sports editor insulting my team and the American League in general.
This discussion started when someone wondered who should represent the American League at third base in the all-star game. This is of course with A-Rod having a bit of a down year. Even with the “down year,” though, he’s going to be starting. Maybe he should. After all, his on-base percentage (.392) is the best of any American League third baseman. He’s slugging near .500. Fifteen dingers. More than 50 runs and RBI. Pretty good defense.
So in a right and just world, he’d be a legitimate all-star. This isn’t about what’s right and just, though. I can’t stand A-Rod. Maybe it’s the saying he wanted to play for a winner at the end of his time in Seattle and then bolting for the Texas money. Maybe it’s the whining to force Texas to trade him when he realized he wasn’t playing for a winner. I realized this long before A-Rod, but then I’m probably smarter. Maybe it’s the completely see-though fakeness and obvious obsession over his image. Maybe it’s the fact that he plays for the Yankees. Maybe it’s the bluish-purplish lips.
Back to the Daily. Someone suggested Crede. I said Troy Glaus and was immediately shouted down by people who questioned my Blue Jays bias and obviously worship at the antiquated high temple of batting average. So there was a bit of a discussion. I didn’t pay much attention because I knew I was right, but you get the picture.
Anyway, all of it was pretty much moot as A-Rod would probably be the starting third baseman if he were batting .220 with seven homers. That’s because it’s the fans choosing who goes in. Of course, these are the same fans who gave us a broken-down Cal Ripken Jr. year after year, long after he had ceased to be much of a star. These are the fans who in 1957 gave us a starting lineup of Stan Musial and seven Cincinnati Reds. The Reds finished the year 80-74.
The moral of the story is that the fans shouldn’t be selecting the all-stars. I should be. I’d be happy to take over picking the MVPs, as well. But right now it’s all-star game time. The online polls stay open until 11:59 p.m. ET Thursday. Here’s who I’m voting for.
Joe Mauer. Next question.
Jason Giambi. The .624 slugging percentage is good. The .432 on-base percentage is even better. Sure, he’s only hitting .271, but I’m not one to get hung up on batting average.
Kind of a thin group. I’m going back and forth between Robinson Cano and Brian Roberts. Cano has a better batting average and slugging percentage and more doubles and homers. Robert’s only edges are in OBP and steals. The thing is, though, that Cano’s a Yankee and Roberts isn’t, and I think that’s enough to tip the scales in my mind. Hey, I said I should be choosing the teams; I didn’t say I would be unbiased.
I’d love to be able to vote for Glaus with a clear conscience, .248 batting average be damned. The thing is, I have to discount his homer numbers a little bit because he’s been playing in the super happy homer house that has been SkyDome (I mean Rogers Centre) so far this year. So there’s Crede. There’s Lowell. There’s Chavez. Chavez’s numbers aren’t quite as good as the other three, but then there’s his defense. Nah, I’m going with Lowell. Better batting average and OBP than Crede. See, I can be unbiased.
Jeter. It really pains me to have to do it. I mean, he’s a Yankee, so that’s three strikes right there. Then there’s the fact that every announcer ever born seems to be in some sort of competition to heap superlatives on Jeter for his clutchness, character, intangibles, winningness, heart and soul, what have you. I was watching an ESPN game last year when Rick Sutcliffe said, in describing Jeter, “He’s got a lot of iron in his soul.” Sutcliffe said this with a straight face. I guess my internal iron-soul-o-meter is broken because it’s tough for me to just look at a player and tell the amount of iron in his soul. Why does Jeter even wear a batting helmet if he has so much iron in his soul? Maybe it’s because the soul isn’t located in the head. Maybe if we went over him with a metal detector, we could tell exactly where the soul is located on the body.
Manny’s gotta go. He’s got the best on-base-plus-slugging of any American League outfielder. Vernon Wells isn’t quite matching those numbers, and there’s the aforementioned SkyDome syndrome, but there’s also the fact that Wells is a gold glove center (or centre, as they say up north) fielder. And he’s a Blue Jay. There, I said it. So I’m going with Wells. I’m of the school of thought that says the three all-star outfielders should be a left fielder, a center fielder and a right fielder. The ballot lists everyone together, but the ballot’s wrong. So I need a right fielder. Ichiro (alternatively spelled Ichiro! where I’m from) is having a heck of a year. Sure, Dye, Rios and Guerrero all have more power, but I love watching Ichiro play, and this is my ballot. Also, we need a leadoff hitter. Roberts could lead off, but the more I think about it, the more I think Cano should be the second baseman.
Brian McCann? Sure, why not.
Pujols. One of the easiest picks. The only thing that disappoints me about him is his lack of a quality nickname, and that isn’t really his fault. The sportswriters of my generation have really fallen off in the nickname department, I feel. Slammin’ Sammy? Please.
Dan Uggla. Not only is he having the best year with the bat so far, but he also plays for team Free Jered Weaver, a fantasy baseball team owned and managed by yours truly that is absolutely destroying the Vail Daily office league. You hear me, Stoner? Destroying.
Miguel Cabrera. He’s hitting .347 with a .444 OBP and a .579 slugging percentage. The crazy thing is that David Wright has been almost as good. Maybe as good. Heck, maybe better. I’m not too sure on my stats interpretation at 3 in the morning after finishing up a shift on the copy desk. And both these guys should be around for a while.
Jose Reyes. He’s got blinding speed, incredible range in the field, a cannon for an arm. He really tests my knowledge of baseball cliche’s to describe what’s going on. Plus he’s gotten his average over .300 and shown he can take a walk once in a while.
In left, Jason Bay. Sure, Matt Holliday, Carlos Lee and maybe Adam Dunn might all have cases. The thing is, none of them play for team Free Jered Weaver. Bay does. Carlos Beltran in center. I’m a little surprised by that one. I thought he only did well in contract years. How about Abreu in right? Only eight homers, but look at that OBP. I’m a fan of OBP. I’m considering legally changing my name to OBP.
So them’s my picks. Not that it matters much to me anyway. After all, it’s an exhibition game. Bring on the real games.
Daily Copy Editor Mugs Scherer is cautiously optimistic about the Blue Jays’ chances this year. The shutout A.J. Burnett pitched tonight did much to ease his mind. Mugs can be reached at 748-2924 or email@example.com.