Tonight will be the Midsummer Classic where the best players in the first half of the season from both the American and National League’s face off. Or so we thought. The voting system for the All Star game has been criticized every season because of snubs and undeserving popular players making it through. This season’s voting took the system’s shortfalls to a whole new level of ridiculousness. One city absolutely took advantage of the unlimited fan voting option and completely fucked up what could have been an amazingly competitive game being played by deserving players. The San Francisco Giants organization and fans had nothing better to do this season then stuff the ballots so their sub-par and undeserving players can make the National League starting rotation.
Now I have never had a reason to have beef with San Francisco because my parents lived there and it’s the city where my brother was born, but after this appalling display of over-voting I now consider the city pathetic. The Giants are only two years removed from winning the World Series and after a disappointing 2011 campaign and an average start to the 2012 season, where they trail the Dodgers by a half game in arguably the worst division in baseball, their fans and organization decided to stuff the ballots with their players names so they can represent their team in the All Star game. The Giants have 4 players starting the All Star game tonight, which is more than any other team, and only one of them have the stats to justify their placement.
Let’s start with the biggest travesty. David Wright, of my New York Mets, is having an MVP caliber start to the season and is arguably the best third baseman the game has to offer right now. Somehow he is not in the starting lineup for the NL because of those douche bags in San Fran. The Giants fans got their third baseman, Pablo Sandoval, a.k.a Kung Fu Panda, entered as the starting 3B which is an absolute joke. Sure, Panda is a good player, but he does not deserve to be starting in the All Star game. Wright is batting .351 with 106 hits and 11 home runs and 59 RBI’s through the first half while Pablo has an incomparable .307 BA with only 59 hits, 8 home runs and 30 RBI’s. Yes, you read that correctly, David Wright has as many RBI’s as Panda has hits. What a joke.
Both Buster Posey and Melky Cabrera are also starting for the NL out of the San Francisco organization. I won’t argue for Melky because he actually deserves to be where his based on his stellar start to the season, although we all know it’s a fluke. As for Buster Posey, he probably shouldn’t even be on the NL roster at all this season. Carlos Ruiz, of the Philadelphia Phillies, is having one of the best hitting seasons for a catcher in recent memory. Ruiz has 13 bombs and is batting a remarkable .350. Somehow Ruiz will be watching the first pitch of the All Star game from the dugout while Posey will be the starter with his .289 BA. As a matter of fact, Ruiz leads Posey in every major offensive statistical category and has struck out 16 less times than Posey. So how did Posey get the starting nod over Ruiz? Because San Francisco fans have nothing better to do than fill out All Star ballots and continue on their hippie ways.
The fourth Giants starter for the National League was not a product of their fans shitty voting, but rather a blunder by one of the greatest coaches ever. Tony La Russa, the retired coach of last years World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals, decided to put Matt Cain as the man who will throw out the first pitch for the NL tonight. There is no denying Cain’s ability and I definitely thought he should be the third in rotation, but I and the rest of the world know who should be starting this game. R.A. Dickey has taken the baseball world by storm this season and has the best overall numbers out of any pitcher in baseball. He has the best stats and he has the best story and he plays in the best city, so why isn’t he starting? Because Tony spends most of his free time on the West coast and goes to a lot of Cain’s games. Sure Cain pitched a perfect game this season, but Dickey did something even more rare with back-to-back 1-hitters. Dickey took this decision very professionally but you can tell he was not thrilled about it.
“I’m not going to break down in tears over it, but at the same time I’m a competitor. I want to pitch. I want to start,” Dickey said Monday. “I feel like I had a good enough first half that I should be considered. But I’m not the boss. I don’t necessarily have to agree with him, but I have to respect it. That’s just the way it is.”
La Russa went on to say that the knuckleball is a difficult pitch to catch and Posey would have a hard time with it. So in some ways it is the Giants fans fault for stuffing the ballots with Posey’s name because if Ruiz was starting then La Russa wouldn’t have an excuse.
Regardless of the starters in tonight’s All Star game, I will still find myself cheering on my National League and when the deserving players on the bench make their way into the game I will applaud. As for the San Francisco Giants players in the game, I hope the American League starting pitcher, Justin Verlander, throws them some nasty chin music upwards of 100 MPH. I hope Bud Selig removes all voting privilege’s from the Giants fans for years to come because of the mockery they made of these year’s team.
A lot of people go through their midlife crisis when they turn 50, but the Mets seem to dealing with their 50th year in the best of ways. Coming into the season, the Mets were considered one of the worst teams on paper and with all of the background baggage, like debt and losing Reyes, Mets fans were not very optimistic entering April. Well it’s time to turn those frowns upside down because the Mets are once again relevant and are surprising the baseball world more and more everyday. Sitting with a record of 21-17, the Mets have almost matched what a lot of analysts thought would be close to their win total at the all-star break. OK, that’s an exaggeration, but what New York has been doing so far this season has impressed everyone.
Let’s start with one of the early season front-runners for NL MVP, David Wright. There is only one word that can describe how David has been performing this season…UNBELIEVABLE!. He leads all of baseball with an astonishing .411 batting average and .513 on-base percentage. If this was the final week of the season Wright would have the MVP locked up, but unfortunately we are only a quarter of the way through the season and there is a lot of baseball left. Wright isn’t the only Mets player putting up great early season numbers. Daniel Murphy is quickly establishing himself as one of the best contact hitters in the game. Murph is off to a fast start with a .331 BA and you can tell by the way he takes each at-bat that he his modeling his hitting style after another great New York player from across the bridge, Derek Jeter. Murphy has found ways to use the whole field while hitting and he has a lot of potential with his ability to find the gaps. Right now the Mets are 6th in baseball in team batting average and 5th in on-base percentage.
Hitting helps a team succeed, but everyone knows that you need quality pitching to win games. Right now the Mets are 6th in baseball with 23 quality starts, led by their ace and second in rotation, Johan Santana and RA Dickey. Johan is finally looking like his former Cy Young winning self with an impressive 2.89 ERA, over 9 strikeouts per 9 innings, and an almost 4/1 K/BB ratio. The ageless veteran Dickey has been equally impressive with 7 out of his 8 starts being quality ones and already having 5 wins and we are only half way through May. There is some room for improvements in the starting rotation with Dillon Gee off to a very slow start with a 5.65 ERA and season ending shoulder surgery to Mike Pelfrey.
The Mets have had a hard time finding a manager worth keeping around for a long time now. Well it looks like they found a winner in Terry Collins. He handles this young and athletic team with a sense of ease and calming that they need to succeed. In Collin’s most recent act of quality managing he pinch hit for his star player, David Wright, to protect him from a potential retaliatory beaming from the Milwaukee Brewers pitcher. In his post game interview Collin’s defended his decision and the sports world seemed to agree with his reasoning, as did I.
I know it is early in the season but for the time being I am extremely excited about what the Mets are putting together. Let’s hope they can keep it up!