It's July again. Which means three things: Tour de France, The ESPYs, and All-Star Baseball. And due to the retirement of Lance Armstrong, the first two things are pretty irrelevant. Baseball just came out with the Rosters for the 2006 All-Star Game (AL and NL). And as always, there's much discussion around two things: Who should be there, and should homefield really be decided by players like Ichiro and Vlad who won't see the light of October? I'll address both here.
First, Snubs. I'll sum this up in one word: Pronk. It's absurd to think that this guy gets the shaft for the second straight year. Last year, he was statistically better in every single category than the backup DH Shea Hillenbrand. This year, the game's in Pittsburgh, which means no DH, so Hafner was on the ballot as a first baseman. The other first basemen on the team this year are David Ortiz (fans vote), Jim Thome, and Paul Konerko. Now, there's no arguing that Ortiz is the rightful starter. But the fact that two White Sox made it is absurd. To do a statistical comparison between Hafner and Konerko:
Not mentioned in those stats are that Hafner is 1st in the AL in Slugging, and 2nd in OBP; whereas Konerko is 9th and 14th, respectively.
All of those stats are relatively similar, with the exception of OBP, Runs, and Walks, where Hafner completely blows Konerko out of the water. Don't forget that most opposing pitchers strategize around Thome and Dye, where in Cleveland Hafner has been the primary worry of opposing pitchers all season long, which gives Hafner much less opprotunites (see: walks) to thrive, even though he has done just that all season long. I guess this is all a direct result of Ozzie Guillen being the manager.
Other snubs include Michael Barrett and Francisco Liriano, but I'll let you listen to ESPN chat about that for the next couple weeks instead of me saying all of it.
Now, on to the great Home Field Advantage debate. As we all know, the winner of the All-Star game gets home field in that year's World Series. Last year, it really didn't make that much of a difference seeing how Chicago didn't seem to care where they were playing, and they swept the Astros out of the Series. Frankly, I think that the All-Star game should have remained an exhibition game for the fans, and this was all an over reaction by Bud Selig after the tie game in Milwaukee. All Bud would have had to do is come out and say something along the lines of "This will never happen again in another All-Star game." And that would have been that. Really, I don't think this makes that much of a difference either way. If baseball decides to stay by the way they currently are, that's no skin off my back. The thing is, if they do continue to do this, then the fan voting should be eliminated. The real All-Stars should be starting if it really matters, and not just the guys that used to be good. Baseball can't have it both ways, and needs to pick one way or another.