Archive for All Star Game

And the Winner Is…

Posted in MLB with tags , on July 16, 2008 by nathanjzacharias

Well, I can’t believe they pulled it off.  The [insert name of the winner of the 2008 All Star Game] really put on an incredible performance.  I was sure the [insert name of the loser] had it until [insert name of MVP of the ASG] had that [insert description of the game changing play].  I hope he enjoys his brand new [insert name of the unnecessary sports car that he receives for winning the award].  Better hope it’s a hybrid.  Anyways, congrats to the [winner].

As you may or may not have inferred from the above paragraph, I’m writing this post without knowing who actually won the game. It’s 10 PM the night before and the score is still 0-0.  Scratch that, I just checked again and the NL is up 1-0.  Boo ya, NL, boo ya. 

I’m not ashamed to admit that I hope they get the win.  I mean you’d like to think the AL would at least blow it out of pity for the NL, which hasn’t won since 1996.

Now you may be asking why I don’t just stay awake until the outcome of the game is determined so I can provide an accurate report.  A valid question, because a dedicated reporter would do just that. However, you’re not paying me and my day job is so I still have to go to bed.  But hopefully some day, not too far from now, I’ll be able stay up and watch late night scores for a living.

While I can’t give a response to the as yet unfinished game, I’ll instead just give a brief opinion on who had the better lineup on paper going into tonight.  Feel free to agree, disagree, or start supporting me financially so I can do this full time.

Catcher – Giovany Soto vs. Joe Mauer

Advantage NL – Soto, despite my opinion that McCann should have been the starter, has had a tremendous first half. His batting average is 34 points lower than Mauer’s, but he’s shown significantly more power and has more RBI’s.

First Base – Lance Berkman vs. Kevin Youkilis

This is almost a draw. I’ll go with Berkman simply because he has the higher stats. But Youkilis hasn’t exactly been scraping by and is always capable of the clutch hit.

Second Base – Chasey Utley vs. Dustin Pedroia

NL has the advantage again, as Chase Utley’s bat is as hot as his mic was the other night at the home run derby.  Utley has become one of the premier players in the game, and seems to have established himself as a perennial All Star.

Third Base – Chipper Jones vs. Alex Rodriguez

I’ll take Chipper in this one. Already an excellent player that has just been hindered by injuries the last few years, Chipper seems to have found yet another gear the last two years.  His stats in that span are unreal and he can still work a count as well as any one in the game.  He may not always provide the power numbers that A-Rod can, but you can almost always count on him to do something to help the team in every at bat.  This game should be no different.

Left Field – Ryan Braun vs. Manny Ramirez

Manny wins out here. Braun has huge numbers, especially for only a second year player. But Manny’s are a little better and he’s got the All Star Game experience to go along with it.

Center Field – Kosuke Fukudome vs Josh Hamilton

With all due respect to Fukudome, who’s having a solid season, there’s no question who has the edge in this match up. Josh Hamilton is probably the best story in baseball this year.  He’s having a monster year and hits 500 foot home runs just for the fun of it.

Right Field – Matt Holliday vs. Ichiro Suzuki

At a seeminly mortal .304, Ichiro hasn’t hit the same levels he’s been at previously, at least not yet.  Holliday certainly has a lot more power, but as Braves beat writer Dave O’Brien (best blog in baseball, FYI) discussed a few days ago, Holliday’s numbers away from Coors field take a huge hit.  That said, this is the type of game where one home run can make all the difference, so I’ll say he has a very slight edge.

Starting PItchers Ben Sheets vs. Cliff Lee

As I type this they’re both out of the game and they both gave up no runs, one hit, and struck out three.  Sheets walked two while Lee didn’t hand out a free pass.  Going into the game I would have said Sheets, but clearly it was a draw.

So there you have it.  Both teams of course have stacked line ups. It is the All Star Game afterall.  But I think the NL has the edge, which is why I picked them to win this year.  If they can capitalize on that remains to be seen.  So far they’re making me look ok since they’re up 2-0. Hopefully they can hang on.

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This Time…It Doesn’t Make Sense

Posted in MLB with tags , , , on June 16, 2008 by nathanjzacharias

The All Star game needs some help. Now, I could be a little biased due to the fact that I’m a National League guy and they haven’t won the Midsummer Classic since 1996. Yikes, even typing that hurts. But I would be writing the same thing even if I were an AL fan.

The problem as I see it is that the game has become a half exhibition half playoff game, which is just kind of a strange combination. It turned into that after the 2002 game which ended in a tie. Fans and critics argued that the players and managers no longer took it seriously. In an effort to respond to the uproar, Bud Selig decided that the All Star game would now decide home field advantage for the World Series.

I haven’t been in favor of many decisions that Bud Selig has made, and this is one of them, however I do appreciate the fact that he was trying to make a difference. The problem is, it’s put the ASG in some sort of sports no man’s land. It’s not just an exhibition game because the players are playing for something that can help their team and their league. But it’s not a regular game because the fans determine who starts the game. And I don’t believe those two dimensions can go together.

Fans stopped voting for the best players years ago. Now the voting is essentially a popularity contest. It’s become about which city can stuff the ballot boxes and get their favorite players in, not voting in the players who  have the best stats.

But if the game now means something; if the players are now playing for more than just fun, then it seems as though each league deserves to have the players who have the best statistics at their position to start the game, not the most popular.

So if the game is to mean something, I think the League needs to change the voting process. We don’t get to determine the starting lineups for our favorite teams during the course of a year. Why should we be allowed to select them for the All Star Game when “This Time, It Counts?”

That, of course, will not happen. I don’t see how MLB could ever do that without facing serious backlash from the fans. And if they won’t do that, then I think they need to get rid of the playing for home field advantage aspect of the All Star Game.

Looking back at what caused this whole thing (the tie in 2002), I’m actually not quite sure what all the fuss was about. The All Star Game is supposed to be fun. It’s about seeing players who do everything to beat each other 162 games a season play on the same team for 9 innings. It’s about getting to see some of the best in the game on the same field at once. It’s about the fans and players having fun and being able to take a break from the standings for one night.

Sure, it was disappointing to the fans to see the game end in a tie that one night (especially the fans who payed big bucks to see that tie). But I think it was blown way out of proportion. Ultimately the Midsummer Classic isn’t about the score at the end. It’s getting to see something unique and historical. The score should really be an afterthought.

What do you all think?