So the 2014 MLB All-Star rosters are now set (shy of these last minute replacements due to injury or whatever). The Garrett Richards update is below. It still boggles my mind to think that the second best team in all of Major League Baseball had only 1 representative selected. It took the usual and customary late injury or wear-and-tear letter from home to open up a slot and insert an Erick Aybar. Aybar, of course, is merely the most productive shortstop in all of Major League Baseball not named Troy Tulowitzki.
Every year I hear the same old crap about "the fans vote because it's for the fans, and if the fans want to see the stars that is who they get to vote in." Well, here is the reason that line of argument is crap: when the Yankees and Red Sox have the largest fan bases in the country, in no small part to the advertising feedback loop that comes via Main Stream Media, the majority of fans actually want to just see the Yankees and Red Sox play each other as the MLB All-Star Game. That is not an All-Star game. That is merely an exhibition. Or, pretty much every other Sunday night. This is indefensible.
The way that MLB tempers this and prevents this from happening (other than the fact that neither the Yankees nor Red Sox play in the NL), is with the "every team must have one rep" rule. Well, that has it's own idiocy, of course, but I won't go into that here. My point is why do you have to have a rule like that in place at all if you truly believe that the fans are entitled to watch the players they really want to see? If fans don't want to see anybody from Houston, and you support the fans getting to watch who they want to see, why are you forcing them to see some guy from Houston? This only works if you believe the fans should get to see who they want, but you also don't want the fans to get to see who they want. That's just all kinds of stupid, right there. Bud Selig quality brain work.
There are a decent number of players on the AL roster who are not having as good a year, this year, as their equivalents on many of the daily rosters - including the one in Anaheim. And what is happening this year is the point. It's why they name the game after this year in the first place. They are not going to play the 2007 All-Stars in Minnesota this year (well, they are playing two of them). But a lot of guys are sitting at home only because of Q factor.
And this kind of idiocy can be permanent. For some, the stupidity never gets overcome down the road in some later year, the bonus money never gets paid out, the injury replacement phase of "the process" never makes the phone ring. Sometimes baseball never gets around to fixing their own snubs. One might argue that these are just corner cases, and nobody cares. Well, nobody really cares that much about the All Star Game anyway. It just is. After all, how many people, even true baseball fans, can tell you off the top of their head the important things that happened in, or who actually won, the ASG just 2 years ago?
When there is real money at stake (does Erick Aybar get $50,000 because Alex Gordon has a boo boo?) and a real season difference maker on the line (WS Home Field Advantage), there needs to be more meritocracy involved in "the process" than there is opinion. And I don't care if it's fan opinion, player opinion, or manager opinion. It's still opinion. And that's crap. But that's just my opinion.
- Crushing the Rangers: At this rate, we might all bemoan the interruption of the hot streak the Angels are starting to brew. The Angels won 15 to 6 last night, having the game won before there was even a first out in the 2nd inning. Get this, the top 4 of the batting order went a combined 13 for 19, scoring 11 runs and collecting 9 RBI against only 2 strikeouts. That, my friends, is what we have been drooling for ever since we started dreaming of Trout, Pujols and Hamilton in one lineup. And let's not forget Kole Calhoun, who started the game with a triple, adding a double and single later, than had two shots at a homer for The Cycle. Probably the closest he actually got was in the 9th, when the Rangers had a catcher on the mound and Calhoun was left on-deck...........That, by the way, was the worst thrashing any pitcher has taken in the history of the Texas Rangers...........But watch out. Ron Washington called a team meeting after the historic thrashing. Now they are gonna get serious, folks...........As Mike Digiovanna tweeted, the Angels are currently the highest scoring team in all of Major League Baseball............And, officially, the Halos are now at least 1 game over .500 for all of their franchise history. That is something not seen since they were 1-0 after their very first game.
- Garrett Richards: Richards did not make the ASG as the Final Vote winner. That honor went to Chris Sale. IMHO, any injustice is not losing any vote to Sale, who is crushing it this year. No, it's Sale having to go to a Final Vote in the first place. Sale should have been an easy selection and THAT would have made Richards the favored Final Vote recipient.
- Erick Aybar: Aybar did get chosen to head to Minnesota. Aybar will take the active roster spot of Alex Gordon, who has sprained his wrist and possibly headed to the DL. Gordon will still be in Minneapolis and sit on the bench, but won't see any playing time. Aybar might not either, when you think about it. But good on John Farrell for doing something honorable with that opportunity.
- Jered Weaver: What's a bad back or two among friends? According to Mike Scioscia, Weaver will make his next start tomorrow. Everything is hunky-dory. "Just based on his workout this afternoon, he definitely seems like he’s past that point of being at risk, and he didn’t feel a thing. So most likely, if he can feel good the next couple of days he’ll pitch on Saturday." Now, I realize that this is not just Sosh's call to make, but I would focus a lot on that "Just based on his workout this afternoon..." clause if I were in those discussions. I wouldn't base any decision that concerns my staff ace on just any one thing. Especially when we already know what a gamer Weaver can be. And we know that he has a history of back problems. Fortunately, they are basing their decision on not just one thing, but two. His workout on Wednesday AND how well he can fib between Wednesday and Saturday.
- C.J. Wilson: Wilson, it appears has a sprained ankle. He has been sent to the 15-day DL and will miss at least one start. We all know that Wilson has sucked for 4 straight outings. And we know that Wilson stared into the media circus following disaster #4 and made no mention of there being anything physically wrong. "My level of frustration is in the fact that I've just been killing the bullpen," Wilson said. "We're winning games, so that's good. Even games like today, where I just throw up a duck. That's not any good for the team, but the team overcame. Twenty-four guys on the roster contributed today, and I had a bad game." Interesting.
- Hector Santiago: "Put that guy on ice, man. He's going to win a lot of games." - Carlos Gomez, Milwaukee Brewers. Carlos Gomez is the National League All-Star center fielder this year, he of the 138 OPS+. Santiago, meanwhile, was 0 for 7 with a WHIP of 1.362...when he is on the Major League roster at all..before nabbing his first win last night in the Texas blowout (Hector's WHIP is still 1.33). Some way, some how, Hector has become the last man in Major League Baseball to throw the screwball. And, apparently (at least according to Gomez), he is quite good at it. But you gotta read the article. The screwball is the unicorn of baseball!
- Odds & Ends: Look closely at this map. Garrett Richards was picking u pa lot of fan votes from the fans of the Atlanta Braves, just as they promised...........Here is walk down through Angels history, from the POV of baseball card expressions..........Next up for Albert Pujols: 9 more homers would give him 521 career home runs and would move him into a tie with Willie McCovey, Frank Thomas and Ted Williams at 18th place all time.
[Author's Note: I have absolutely no idea why the SBN WYSISYG Editing tool screws up the text formatting so badly.Someday I may end up just writing it all through brute force, using raw HTML.]
This Date In Baseball History: 1914 - Babe Ruth makes his Major League debut, pitching the Red Sox to a 4-3 win over the Indians..........1961 - With the wind blowing so hard in Candlestick Park, the NL wins this year's first of two All Star Games 5-4 as the game witnesses 7 errors and a balk by pitcher Stu Miller as he is blown off the mound. In truth, he wasn't blown off the mound. That just reads a hell of a lot better..........1967 - In the longest ASG ever played (in terms of innings, not hours), the NL wins in the 15th inning as Tony Perez homers off of Catfish Hunter in Anaheim Stadium..........1985 - Nolan Ryan records his 4,000 career strikeout..........1989 - Back at Anaheim Stadium, Bo Jackson hits a monumental home run and steals a base to become the ASG MVP as the AL wins 5-3............1995 - Mickey Mantle makes his final public appearance in a promotion to encourage organ donations..........2004 - Carlos Beltran is selected by manager Jack McKeon to replace Ken Griffey, Jr. on the NL All Star team. One month earlier, Beltran had been traded from Kansas City to Houston. While back in the AL, Beltran had been voted onto the AL squad and was going to miss the game..........2006 - at 83 years of age, Jim Eriotes becomes the oldest man to ever play in a professional baseball game, striking out on 4 pitches...........2010 - Yankee Stadium PA Announcer Bob Sheppard dies.
- Baseball Bats: Some of you might already know this, but not a lot of attention is generally paid to the reality that baseball bats used on the field are not just Louisville Sluggers or from Hillerich & Bradsby. No, there is a significant industry out there of boutique baseball bat companies and a lot of those bats in use come from these small businesses, usually family operated. "...to receive M.L.B. approval, companies must show that at least one player is interested in using its bats, which, in an age when hitters are looking for more options, may not be that difficult to do. Tucci said it was not uncommon for players to keep three brands of bats in their rotation, each with its own design and specifications. The companies’ goal is to be one of the three."
- Nobody Has An Exclusive on Mega-Risky: You pay a fortune, you sign a guy, you take your chances on all the risk. Angel fans think in terms of Lyman Bostock, Mo Vaughan, Gary Matthews Jr., Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton, etc. (all for various reasons). Well, Yankee fans have their issues, too. the latest is Masahiro Tanaka, the mega-million "rookie" and MVP candidate from Japan, who just went on the 15-day DL but might be there much longer, as he has been diagnosed with a partially-torn UCL. According to Hardball Talk, Tommy John surgery might be in his future.
- BoSux: Wow. Way to go, Boston media. You did the impossible: make people empathize with A.J. Pierzynski. I mean, really, the pariah victimhood of the Red Sox franchise really l know no limits. Think about it, this is the club that as soon as the ties were snipped, then turned and dumped crap on Carl Crawford, Terry Francona, and Manny Ramirez. And that is just MY memory (I am ignoring Bobby Valentine, who may have earned it all). How many years has it been since you heard of any ballplayer released by the Angels being dissed by anonymous sources after the fact? In fact, how many total throughout their entire history?
- That's Racist!: Hawk Harrelson is turning up the heat on the frying pan he has set himself upon. White Sox announcer Hawk Harrelson continues to stereotype Asian pitchers. Harrelson has gotten pretty loose with his language of late, calling Asian pitchers "orientals" and noting that they have "funky deliveries" that are "deceptive". "It's about 100-times worse to start making generalizations based on race. Your 72-year-old uncle who sits around the dinner table talking about baseball might not know better, but Hawk Harrelson should."
This is why Derek Jeter is an All-Star, and Erick Aybar is not. Pretty simple, really...........Eew. And I'm a Lego guy. Jeter got a Lego portrait (and a Gibson guitar) during his final trip to Cleveland. But that image is just nasty. I guess nothing says "Cleveland" quite like Danish toys..........David Ortiz is still running away from his positive PEDs test result. Say it enough times, and say it loud enough, Pappi, and it just may come true!..........Billy Beane is warning you all that we are on the verge of becoming Peers of the Realm..........Here is Adrian Beltre, taking a page out of Big Pappi's Big Book of Privileged Victims..........This thing would, literally, feed me for 4 meals.
And now, being the full service weekend linkage institution that we are, here is the obligatory moment we take out of each Friday...for beer...
Friday: Seven Sisters Fest at El Chorro park in San Luis Obispo. This repeats on Saturday and Sunday as well.........
Saturday: Final Gravity in Roseville hosts their 2nd Anniversary..........Angel City Brewery in LA does their TDR Summer Suds Bash..........The National Orange Show Events Center in San Bernardino is doing a 1st Annual brew Fest...........Chico holds their Summerfest 2014............Seven Sisters Fest at El Chorro park in San Luis Obispo.
Sunday: Maritime Museum of San Diego is where Ballast Point will host their 18th Anniversary Beer Festival.
BEER BONUS: This year's 2014 MLB All Star Game trials a new thing: Self Serve Beer Machines!