2012 MLB All-Stars Announced…Cue the Whining
Last Sunday, MLB announced the 2012 National and American League All-Star teams, and as expected, baseball fans were oversaturated with stories on what players were snubbed and who should be starting over a player that was selected by the fans. It’s the same story that is rolled out each year following the announcement of teams, but to me, it’s an irrelevant conversation when you give fans the power to vote.
Listen, I have no problem with fans voting – in fact, I think it’s the way it should be. However, because fans vote, there is always going to be a handful of deserving players each year that are left off or circumstances where players are voted to start over players that are more deserving. For example, do I find it baffling that Johnny Cueto, starting pitcher for the first place Cincinnati Reds, was left off the National League team (9-5, 2.35 ERA, 86 strikeouts)? Absolutely. Is it equally puzzling that Pablo Sandoval (.313, 7 HR, 28 RBIs) is starting at third base for the National League over David Wright (.350, 10 HR, 55 RBIs)? You bet.
But enough of the complaining already. What do people want MLB to do – expand the roster on each team from 34 to 35 players? Would 36 players per team make everyone happy? They have already added two additional spots since 2009. At some point, don’t you think continuing to expand the roster becomes kind of egregious and waters down the significance of being voted an All-Star?
I hear the argument that because the outcome of the All-Star game now decides home field advantage in the World Series (a change adopted in 2003), managers should be able to field the best team possible. What does that exactly mean? That MLB should move to a system that allows managers to override the fan vote and start the player they think deserves it? I understand this is no longer an exhibition game, but that’s a dangerous proposition in my view.
Plus, there is limited data to support that having home field advantage is an edge in the World Series. From 2003-2009, the American League won the All-Star game and went on to win the World Series four out of seven years. Then again, the National League won the All-Star game in 2010 and in 2011 and won the World Series in consecutive years (Giants 2010, Cardinals 2011), so it will be interesting to see how 2012 plays out.
At the end of the day, there is never going to be a perfect system and people just need to come to grips with that. Not everyone can be an All-Star and I think that’s alright.
This Trout Doesn’t Stink
If you haven’t had an opportunity to watch Angels rookie centerfielder Mike Trout play yet, just turn on Sports Center on any given night and I’m sure you’ll see highlights of something amazing he’s done. To give you a little taste, check out this amazing catch he made on June 27 robbing Orioles J.J. Hardy of a homerun.
At just 20 years old, Trout is one of the most complete players that I’ve ever seen at that age during my lifetime (second maybe only to Ken Griffey Jr.). As much as I like 19-year old prospect Bryce Harper from the Nationals, I would take Trout over him in a heartbeat. Consider the line he put up on Thursday night – 2-2, 2 runs, 2 RBIs, 2 sacrifice flies, 1 walk and 3 stolen bases in five plate appearances. Are you kidding me? This seems to be a nightly stat line for him too.
Trout will win the American League Rookie of the Year come October – the only question is whether it will be a total landslide. Through games played July 5, Trout is hitting .348 (1st in AL), 10 HR, 38 RBIs and 26 stolen bases (1st in AL). He has already been selected AL Rookie of the Month for May and June and was selected to the All-Star game last week as well.
On April 27, Trout was called up from Class AAA to provide a spark to an Angels team that was off to a disappointing 7-14 start. He immediately made an impact at the leadoff position and hasn’t looked back and either have the Angels. It will be interesting to see if he can continue this torrid pace in the second half of the season, but at this point, I don’t see anything slowing him down. He’s that good…at 20. Chew on that for a little bit.
Key Games to Watch This Weekend
- Yankees vs. Red Sox Series – It’s hard to believe that July 6 marks only the second time these two rivals have met in 2012, but they’ll square off this weekend for a four-game series (double header on Saturday). Despite a plethora of injuries, the Yankees are flying high at 49-32 and sit on top of the American League East Division. The Red Sox have battled key injuries all year too (Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford and now Will Middlebrooks), and really need to play well in the series if they want to close the 7.5 game gap between themselves and the Yankees.
- Hammel vs. Weaver – Orioles right-hander Josh Hammel (8-4, 3.43 ERA, 97 strikeouts) squares off against Angels ace Jared Weaver (9-1, 2.13 ERA, 68 strikeouts) on Saturday in what could be a great pitching duel. While Hammel is coming off a rough start at Seattle, he’s been a pleasant surprise for the upstart Orioles and will be looking to bounce back. Weaver has been fantastic all year and will look to continue his dominance.
- Braves at Phillies – This should be a fun division battle, with both teams trying to establish some momentum heading into the All-Star break. The Phillies’ injuries are well-chronicled, but if the team can find a way to get a couple of wins behind the energy provided from the season debut of first baseman Ryan Howard on Friday, things could start to look up…especially with Roy Halladay slated to come of the disabled list in mid-July. For the Braves, they really need Freddie Freeman to get going and continue to ride Jason Heyward and Michael Bourn who have been hot of late.
Copyright © sports-glutton.com, 2010-2012. All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from sports-glutton.com is strictly prohibited.