Too Many All-Stars
July 15, 2013

The Los Angeles Dodgers are the hottest team in baseball and only have one All-Star representative. The Oakland A's are in first place in their division and only have one All-Star (a second was named, but to replace the first). Despite that, there are too many guys picked to play in Major League Baseball's mid-summer classic.

You may remember a time where the rosters for the American and National League teams each had 25 players, the starting pitchers would go about three innings, and the starting position players would play at least half of the game. Now, rosters are at 32, there's a 'final player' fan vote, every guy has to get in, the starting pitcher may throw a second inning but probably won't, and one poor catcher will likely sit, in case he's needed as a pinch-hitter in the tenth inning. The game has changed.

I'm fine with most of that, but what I can't understand, and strongly dislike, is the amount of player movement in just the week or so from the time the team is announced, to when the game is actually played. Clay Buchholz, Jesse Crain, Yu Darvish, Jeff Locke, and Jordan Zimmermann are injured. Freddie Freeman won the fan vote for the NL final player, and he's hurt. Bartolo Colon and Justin Verlander pitched on Sunday, so they aren't eligible to play (and also get to be replaced). On the eve of the game at New York's Citi Field, 78 different players can call themselves All-Stars.

At least there are no Derek Jeters this year. Guys that either faked an injury or just said they are not going. All of the starters elected by the fans are still scheduled to go—even Troy Tulowitzki, who just came off the Disabled List. Darvish and Locke's injuries are minor, but at least Texas put Darvish on the DL, making it more legit. Freeman got hurt after winning the final fan vote, but runner-up in the voting Yasiel Puig isn't going either. Puig is battling a sore hip after crashing into a wall in Colorado, but that's not the official reason he was passed over. Another Atlanta Brave, and a third catcher, Brian McCann was picked instead.

Each major league team is required to have at least one player go to the game, which is fine, but if that player got hurt, or pitched on Sunday, that's it. Let him go to the game, be announced to the crowd, and sit. The American League has 19 pitchers on its roster!! Four of them are hurt, and two pitched on Sunday. That leaves you with 13—far more than enough to get you through a nine-inning meaningless game (meaningless, except that the winning league gets to host game seven of the World Series). Play ball, boys!

Snubs: I love you Oakland A's fans out there, but shut up about there being only one Athletic picked to the All-Star team. Who is your second guy? Josh Donaldson? There are two third baseman way ahead of him on the snub list—Evan Longoria and Adrian Beltre. Derby Don'ts: The Home Run Derby is as fun as the number of Chris Berman “back-back-backs” you can take, but it's kind of turning into the NBA slam dunk contest. At least leading home run hitter at the break (Chris Davis) was in it, but the next three leaders on the AL home run list (Miguel Cabrera, Edwin Encarnacion, and Adam Dunn) weren't. In the National League, only one of the top four was entered, and that was Pittsburgh's Pedro Alvarez. Oakland's Yoenis Cespedes won the thing, and put on a great show, but he isn't even an All-Star (out of the 78 players who are). The derby winners from the two previous years (Prince Fielder, Robinson Cano) were in it, so at least that's something. They also picked David Wright from the host Mets, but I think New Yorkers would have rather seen someone like Carlos Gonzalez or Domonic Brown. Washington's Bryce Harper finished second, and he's not even 21 yet, so there are still reasons to like the derby.

Futures Game: I always forget to watch the Sunday afternoon contest that showcases the top minor league prospects, but I taped it and watched it this year. They say 81 percent of players who have participated in the game since 1999 have made it to the major leagues. That may be true, but we haven't heard of 99 percent of the players who were in this year's game, and ESPN should wait at least one time through the batting order before doing on-field interviews. We had an interview with a top Mets player going on, while other prospects were hitting and pitching, and no information about them.

And the Winner is: The ESPYs are on Wednesday. Didn't know that until I saw the promo this evening. I liked it better when they were on in February or March—during the period of all the other awards shows. Jon Hamm is hosting.

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