Well, Bud Selig and Tony LaRussa have been saved from having to make a difficult decision, Barry Bonds was elected to start the All Star game in San Fransisco. Thanks to fan voting, specifically a late net vote surge, they have been spared from having to decide if Barry is worthy of being at the game.
Personally, I don’t think Bonds worthy of inclusion. His numbers aren’t there, and his defensive play, such that it is, is so sub-par, he’s making Dave Kingman look like a gold glover. There are others on the Giants that could be included, like Omar Vizquel, who are performing at a higher level. Yes, I understand the sentimental value. Barry is an icon in the Bay area, and is in pursuit of Aaron’s HR record. Still, his on field performance this year just doesn’t justify his inclusion.
So let’s look at the rosters. First up, the dominate AL team. I don’t have much argument with either the fan choices or the managerial choices. Ivan Rodriguez at catcher is a solid choice. Victor Martinez would have been the best choice, but Pudge is not a WTF choice. David Ortz at first is OK. Justin Morneau, from the Twins, is also a good addition. As there isn’t a dominate 1B in the AL this year, both certainly qualify. Placido Polanco got the nod from the fans. Last years ALCS MVP is certainly living up to expectations. A .330 average, and no errors at 2B makes him a great fan choice. Brian Roberts will back up Polanco. Carlos Guillen, the Tiger’s SS, is quitely having an outstanding season. Hitting .320 with 12 HR, he’s the top AL SS. Michael Young, from the Rangers is having a decidedly off year, but makes the roster as the Ranger’s representative. Jeter, having another Jeter like season, also makes the roster as a back up at SS. *Sigh* A-Rod lead all players in voting. As much as I hate to say it, he deserves it this year. Sure, he’s cooled off considerably of late, but he’s still the most dominate offensive player in MLB. Mike Lowell, leading the Red Sox in RBI, is his back up.
The AL outfield is about as good as it gets. Even with Manny having an off year in Manny terms, he still makes the team, as he has gotten hot of late. The starting trio of Magglio Ordonez, Vlad Guerrero, and Ichiro is outstanding. The reserves aren’t too shabby either, featuring Manny, Grady Sizemore, Torii Hunter, and Carl Crawford. The AL pitching staff was also well chosen. Whoever starts will be worthy of the nod, with the likes of CC Sabathia, Josh Beckett, and Dan Haren all potential starters. The rest of the staff should be dominate the NL quite easilly, with Papelbon, Putz, and F-Rod all good for 1ip each.
The Final Voting is now underway, with only two real candidates. Both Hideki Okajima and Roy Halladay are worth while choices. My biased opinion is for Okajima. Among AL relievers, few, if any, are having a better, or more unheralded season. An ERA under 1.00, a couple of saves, and pitching well in pressure situations.
On the NL side, only Bonds sticks out as a “bad” choice. Russel Martin is something of a surprise, but a nice one. Fielder is having a season like his father Cecil, and is the best among NL 1B, passing the likes of Derek Lee. Quibble time here. Dmitri Young of the Nationals got the nod with Albert Puljos as reserves at 1B. Dmitri only makes it as the Nationals need a representative. Derek Lee gets shut out, even though he’s more deserving than Young. Chase Utley is another great choice, with Orlando Hudson from Arizona his back up. Jose Reyes is all world at SS for the Mets, and JJ Hardy’s phenomenal season for the Brewers earned him a nod as a reserve. David Wright starts at 3B, and has Miguel Cabrerra, Freddy Sanchez (the Pirates representative) as the reserves.
The OF for the NL is also solid, just like the AL. Griffey jr is having a terrific come back season for the Reds, depsite the Reds horrible record. Alphonso Soriano gets a nod, even though he got passed by Bonds in the voting. Beltran joins Bonds and Griffey as a starter, with Rowand, Carlos Lee, and Matt Holladay as reserves. The NL pitchers are OK. Smoltz, Penney, Peavy, and Cole Hammels will compete to be the starter. The rest of the staff is solid, but not outstanding. Hoffman is the career saves leader, and having a fine season, but I’m just not scared by the likes of Brian Fuentes and Jose Valverde.
The NL final vote candidates are intriguing, as three pitchers who should have been onthe main roster are listed here. Brandon Webb, Chris Young, and Roy Oswalt shoudl have been on the roster already over some of the mediocre relievers. This one is a tough choice, more so if you add in Carlso Zambrano (Tom Gorzelany just isn’t in the same class here). My leaning is to Webb, last years Cy Young winner in the NL. Though is Oswalt, Young, or Zambrano get the votes, it’s not like it would be a travesty.
A few other MLB notes and comments. Jerry Narron was fired as manager of the Reds yesterday. Not surprising considering the Reds have the worst record in MLB, and aren’t going anywhere. Now it’s not all Jerry’s fault, but the Reds should be better than the record that they have. In Seattle, Mike Hargrove resigned. This is very unusual, as the Mariner’s have won 8 in a row, are over .500, and in the hunt for a play off spot. Given what Grover cited as his reaosns, I can’t argue with him. Will have to see how it effects the Mariner’s play the rest of the way.