The 2006 All Star teams are set. As is tradition around this time I have to talk about the insane amount of snubs caused by the ridiculously flawed fan voting system. Random aside: the only time the word snub is used by any normal person is during the all star break and the Oscars, tragic as snub is a great word. This season, like most others, Red Sox and Yankees nepotism reigns supreme. At least five of the nine starting positions will be filled by either a Yanks or a Sox player. Ortiz, A-rod, Jeter, Manny, and Loretta, will be starting this years all star game. This is criminal. Jim Thome, Travis Hafner, Joe Mauer, Jose Lopez (a late addition for Cano), and Vernon Wells are just some of the position players who were left off the team totally or relegated to back up status. How Joe Mauer who is batting .392 is not starting is so mind boggling I almost fainted writing this. Let me repeat that: the guy is almost batting .400 and he is not starting the all star game.
The American League pitching staff could be worse in terms of idiocy than the position players. Francisco Liriano (9-1, 1.99 ERA), up to this point, is not on the all star team. People in Minnesota must be really lax about voting, either that or Bud Selig shredded all the votes when his attempt to relocate the Twins failed. Or maybe people are just morons. Possibly the dumbest “rule” in baseball, the one-player-from-every-team rule reached an all time high this season. Mark Redman of the Kansas City Royals (5-4, 5.59 ERA) made it over Curt Schilling (10-2, 3.54) Mike Mussina (9-3, 3.17 ERA, 1.04 WHIP) and the aforementioned Liriano. If Redman has any self respect he will decline to attend the game and let someone who deserves the spot go. If he doesn’t I implore every fan to boo him until they are hoarse. Justin Verlander (10-4, 3.13) of Detroit is on the last man standing ballot. But his teammate Kenny Rogers (10-3, 3.72 ERA) made the team. Verlander, at 23, deserves to go and may never get another chance at an all star game. The Gambler has already been to 4 and he’s old. When the numbers are that close, go with the kid.
Since the National League is so terrible, it was much easier for the right guys to get voted in. Guys like Carlos Lee, Jason Bay, Dan Uggla, Freddy Sanchez, and Matt Holiday all made it. They aren’t superstars by any stretch, but good players who are putting up great numbers. There is no way these small market heroes would have even been thought about for the AL team. That’s how bad the NL is. Despite the starting lineup being very Met top heavy (four starters, five if you include the fact that Glavine will probably start) they are by far the best NL team and probably deserve it. I would like to see the kid from Atlanta, McCann to start as well as Arizona’s Brandon Webb (leads MLB in complete games, innings pitched, and is second in ERA) but that won’t happen unless some people drop out. Brad Hawpe is the only semi-snub I can come up with. Andruw Jones with his .275 average could be replaced by him, but with two Rockies already in the game that won’t happen. Nomar should win the last man standing vote if only because there is not a person on this planet who would think he would in the top five in batting average. And it is probably his last hurrah. But in reality Abreu probably deserves it more.
In summation the NL is so god awful that the screw ups were minimized. The AL is so stacked and Yanks/Sox-centric that a lot of good, young players from smaller market teams got the short end of the stick. No other sports all star game is this flawed. I understand that this is a “game for the fans” but when you give home field advantage in the World Series to the winner the fans shouldn’t have such a huge hand in the decision making. This is the All Star team, not the All Popular team.