First…the Indianapolis 500. There’s a reason that it is billed the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing, but since this is a baseball site and not an auto racing site, I won’t get into it.
A close second to the Indy 500 is the MLB All-Star Game. From the opening moments to the last out…I’ve been paying attention to this thing for as long as I can remember. That said, one of my fondest memories was when I was a kid, sitting in the garage listening to the game on the radio.
It was the middle of July and a lightning storm knocked out the power to our neighborhood. But there I was, with an ancient battery powered clock radio to my ear, listening to the game that I so painstakingly took ownership of.
You see, every year, I fill out an All-Star ballot. Only one.
Never more…never none.
It’s always been that way, and here are my 2010 selections.
AL: Joe Mauer - Minnesota Twins
NL: Ivan Rodriguez - Washington Nationals
Right out the gate, I know I’m going to get a “Pudge…really?!?" from plenty of you and you’d be justified in asking. But here’s the deal, I look at the All-Star Game as a celebration of the greats. Rodriguez is on the way out…he gets my vote. And Mauer, well, Mauer is Mauer…I’d like to see you argue against his inclusion!
AL: Miguel Cabrera - Detroit Tigers
NL: Albert Pujols - St. Louis Cardinals
Miggy is in because, right off the bat, I didn’t want to include two Minnesota Twins. Sure, Justin Morneau is having a spectacular season…but so is Cabrera. I only hope that Billy Butler in Kansas City makes his way to Anaheim as his numbers do warrant inclusion. In the National League it is really, really hard to vote against Pujols. Hopefully Ryan Howard will provide a nice 1-2 punch in the middle of the lineup from the DH spot.
AL: Robinson Cano - New York Yankees
NL: Chase Utley - Philadelphia Phillies
Utley is having a down year, but he is an All-Star. Much like several others on this list, he’s a guy who owns this spot on the roster until he is ready to relinquish it. Cano, on the other hand, is putting up some of the best numbers in the Majors this year. He’s often overshadowed, so it’s nice to see him take center stage for once.
AL: Derek Jeter - New York Yankees
NL: Hanley Ramirez - Florida Marlins
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…Major League Baseball does not do enough to hitch their wagon to Jeter. The guy is the epitome of All-Star and is class personified…and that’s coming from a Red Sox fan. His National League counterpart Ramirez (a former Red Sox might you), is one of my favorite players out there, so leaving him off my ballot would have been ludicrous.
AL: Michael Young - Texas Rangers
NL: Chipper Jones - Atlanta Braves
I’ve got a strong, strong hatred for Alex Rodriguez. Sure, I know he’s great, but I can never bring myself to vote for him. Ever. That said, welcome to the ballot, the all-time hit king for the Texas Rangers…Michael Young. The National League is tricky. Much like putting I-Rod behind the plate, I am inclined to put Chipper at third. I know his season has pretty much been garbage, but given he might hang it up after the season, why not throw him a bone?
AL: Ichiro Suzuki - Seattle Mariners, Josh Hamilton - Texas Rangers and Carl Crawford - Tampa Bay Rays
NL: Andre Ethier - Los Angeles Dodgers, Ryan Braun - Milwaukee Brewers and Jason Heyward - Atlanta Braves
Ichiro is a shoe-in and Hamilton is still a good story…especially because he is having a good season. Crawford is in because, well, you need a speedster and let’s face it…Crawford is pretty darn good. Over in the National League, it pains me to not include Manny Ramirez, but something tells me he'd be cool with taking the time off and handing the reigns over to Ethier. Braun is a no-brainer given there needs to be at least one Brewer and Heyward, well, let’s just say that I love the story and I’ve bought into all the hype. And yes, I know that, earlier, I said the All-Star Game should be "a celebration of the greats", but before Strasmas came...Heyward captured the baseball world.
AL: Vladimir Guerrero - Texas Rangers
Guerrero is, like others, one of those guys that you kinda have to include if he is having the slightest bit of a good season. Thankfully the guy is playing like a monster, so the choice is an easy one. And since I said it before, I’ll say it again, I wouldn’t mind Ken Griffey Jr. get some sort of notice in a couple of weeks.
AL: Andy Pettitte - New York Yankees
NL: Ubaldo Jimenez - Colorado Rockies
Jimenez has done just about everything this season that you could ask for…and he’s doing it in Colorado! From the no-hitter to the miniscule ERA, the man is out Halladaying Roy Halladay. In the American League, Pettitte gets my game ball even though I get physically ill watching the man pitch. I like the season he is putting up and when it comes to marquee pitchers in the AL…the veteran lefty is near the top of the list.
So there you have it...MY picks for the 2010 All-Star Game. Who would you replace...and why? Let me know!