Picking a star from the NL ‘suck’ corner

There are several pointless and stupid things a sports fan can partake in every year.

They can go to preseason games.

They can buy division championship hats and shirts.

And perhaps the biggest waste of time, they can vote for the All-Star game starters. We are all guilty of this one, yet that doesn’t make it any less stupid.

Much like voting democrat in Texas, most ballots for the All-Star games, particularly in baseball, are irrelevant. It’s all a popularity contest, meaning it comes down to which fans vote the most — Yankees or Red Sox — or whether the player is Asian.

That said, I can’t help myself. I always vote at least once for the MLB All-Star game. This year was no different.

I never just vote for my favorite players, though. I always compare the stats and vote for whichever players I think are most deserving. Usually only a handful of them are actually voted in, but I feel like I tried my best to add some rational to the insanity.

Going through the ballots this year, though, make you realize how crappy a year it is for offense. There were some positions where it was like picking between have a wisdom tooth removed and a prostate exam. There are no winners.

To prove my point, here is the All-Star ballot I cast on Tuesday night, and the reasoning behind each of my picks.

More entertaining though is the ballot embarrassments for each position. Seriously, if there are more than 50 votes for any of those players, then the system needs to be completely thrown out.

American League

First base — Adrian Gonzalez, BOS (.347, 13 HR, 60 RBIs)

This was a pretty easy decision, though Miguel Cabrera (.316, 13 HR, 46 RBIs) had a strong case as well.

Ballot embarrassments: Kendry Morales, LAA (out all season with an injury), Dan Johnson, TB (.115, 1 HR, 3 RBIs) and Kila Ka’aihue, KC (.195, 2 HR, 6 RBIs).

Second base — Robinson Cano, NYY (.284, 13 HR, 42 RBIs)

Howie Kendrick, LAA (.308, 7 HR, 23 RBIs) had a case before he got hurt. After that, it is unimpressive with Ian Kinsler, TEX, and Dustin Pedroia, BOS, having down years.

Ballot embarrassments: Will Rhymes, DET (.221, 0 HR, 2 RBIs), Tsuyoshi Nishioka, MIN (.208, 0 HR, 2 RBIs) and Jack Wilson, SEA (.237, 0 HR, RBIs).

Shortstop — Asdrubal Cabrera, CLE (.297, 12 HR, 43 RBIs)

Cabrera leads all AL shortstops in HRs and RBIs. Elvis Andrus, TEX (.275, 29 RBIs, 19 SBs) and Jhonny Peralta, DET (.300, 9 HR, 34 RBIs) would be good choices, too. Too bad an underperforming Derek Jeter, NYY (.260, 2 HR, 20 RBIs) is a lock to get voted in.

Ballot embarrassments: Marco Scutaro, BOS (.277, 1 HR, 10 RBIs), Reid Brignac, TB (.170, 1 HR, 8 RBIs) and Alcides Escobar, KC (.235, 0 HR, 16 RBIs).

Third base — Alex Rodriguez, NYY (.288, 13 HR, 42 RBIs)

A-Rod is having a down year by his standards. Yet the rest of the group at 3B isn’t that impressive.

Ballot embarrassments: Chone Figgins, SEA (.192, 1 HR, 13 RBIs), Brandon Inge, DET (.211, 1 HR, 12 RBIs) and Mike Aviles, KC (In AAA). There are several more garbage picks as well.

Catcher — Alex Avila, DET (.296, 9 HR, 36 RBIs)

There are several solid candidates, but I give the edge to the guy hitting for average and power. I bet Joe Mauer, MIN (.235, 4 RBIs, hurt most of the year) gets the nod though, because fans are morons.

Ballot embarrassments: Jeff Mathis, LAA (.198, 1 HR, 10 RBIs) and Yorvit Torrealba, TEX (.253, 3 HR, 12 RBIs).

DH — David Ortiz, BOS (.321, 17 HR, 43 RBIs)

Big Papi is hitting .321 with 17 bombs? I’m sure it has something to do with getting his “vision checked.” Victor Martinez, DET (.318, 6 HR, 36 RBIs) would be a good choice, too.

Ballot embarrassments: Jack Cust (.214, 2 HR, 19 RBIs), Hideki Matsui, OAK (.221, 5 HR, 26 RBIs) and Jorge Posada, NYY (.227, 6 HR, 20 RBIs). I bet $10 that Matsui and Posada both finish in the top five, thanks to the Yankee/Asian votes.

Outfield — Jose Bautista, TOR (.338, 21 HR, 42 RBIs), Jacoby Ellsbury, BOS (.318, 7 HR, 33 RBIs, 24 SB) and Curtis Granderson, NYY (.282, 21 HR, 51 RBIs)

The only one that can make a case to be above these three is Matt Joyce, TB (.327, 10 HR, 34 RBIs). Of course, it is a given that Josh Hamilton, TEX (.280, 4 HR, 23 RBIs, missed six weeks with injury) and Ichiro, SEA (.265, 21 RBIs, 16 SB) will be starters.

Ballot embarrassments: Alex Rios, CWS (.212, 4 HR, 15 RBIs), Magglio Ordonez, DET (.168, 1 HR, 5 RBIs) and Milton Bradley, free agent (.218, 2 HR, 13 RBIs).

• By the way, notice I talk about the New York/Boston bias affecting the voting, yet I voted for six of them. I swear, this sport needs a salary cap.

National League

First base — Prince Fielder, MIL (.300, 19 HR, 59 RBIs)

This was an easy pick for me, though you could also make cases for Joey Votto, CIN (.332, 9 HR, 43 RBIs) and Gaby Sanchez (.311, 11 HR, 42 RBIs). Albert Pujols, STL (.275, 15 HRs, 42 RBIs) is still the lock here.

Ballot embarrassments: Brandon Belt, SF (.211, 1 HR, 4 RBIs), Adam LaRoche, WAS (.172, 3 HR, 15 RBIs) and Brad Hawpe, SD (.236, 4 HR, 19 RBIs).

Second base — Rickie Weeks, MIL (.282, 12 HR, 30 RBIs)

You could go Brandon Phillips, CIN (.282, 5 HR, 36 RBIs) and still feel good about yourself as a voter. After that…ugh. If you go with a big name like Dan Uggla, ATL (.181, 9 HR, 19 RBIs) or Juan Uribe, LAD (.222, 3 HR, 21 RBIs) you should be shot.

Ballot embarrassments: A good chunk of them, especially Bill Hall, formerly HOU (.221, 2 HR, 13 RBIs), Brad Emaus, NYM (.162, 1 RBI), Skip Schumaker, STL (.236, 1 HR, 13 RBIs) and Blake DeWitt, CHC (.275, 1 HR, 6 RBIs).

Shortstop — Troy Tulowitzki, COL (.273, 13 HR, 45 RBIs)

With Hanley Ramirez, FLA (.205, 4 HR, 17 RBIs) having a down year, this opened up a spot for someone new. I wouldn’t be shocked to see Jose Reyes, NYM (.346, 3 HR, 27 RBIs, 22 SB), though don’t be surprised to see Cubs fans give Starlin Castro (.309, 1 HR, 30 RBIs) a run at the starting spot.

Ballot embarrassments: Clint Barmes, HOU (.212, 3 HR, 8 RBIs), Rafael Furcal, LAD (.212, 1 HR, 5 RBIs) and Paul Janish, CIN (.228, 0 HR, 18 RBIs).

Third base — Aramis Ramirez, CHC (.278, 5 HR, 29 RBIs)

This is the worst collection of “talent” I have seen for one position on an all-star ballot. It’s a black hole of crap. Worse than second base.

I know it hurts that Ryan Zimmerman, Pablo Sandoval and David Wright have missed significant time with injuries, but come on. When Placido Polanco, PHI (.305, 4 HR, 38 RBIs) is arguably the best of the bunch, you have a lot of problems. Seriously, can we just pick another first baseman and move him to third.

Ballot embarrassments: All of them, namely Ian Stewart (.064, 1 RBI), Donnie Murphy (.103, 3 RBIs) and Pedro Alvarez (.208, 2 HR, 10 RBIs).

Catcher — Brian McCann, ATL (.301, 9 HR, 37 RBIs)

Another position with not much to be impressed about. I guess you could make cases for Ramon Hernandez, CIN (.311, 7 HR, 19 RBIs) and Miguel Montero, ARZ (.282, 8 HR, 36 RBIs).

Ballot embarrassments: J.R. Towles, HOU (.205, 3 HR, 10 RBIs), Josh Thole, NYM (.237, 0 HR, 18 RBIs) and Carlos Ruiz, PHI (.243, 2 HR, 12 RBIs).

Outfield — Matt Kemp, LAD (.332, 20 HR, 56 RBIs, 16 SB), Lance Berkman, STL (.318, 17 HR, 48 RBIs) and Jay Bruce, CIN (.283, 17 HR, 48 RBIs).

Kemp and Berkman are easy choices. Bruce was a bit tougher with guys like Andrew McCutchen, PIT (.292, 10 HR, 37 RBIs), Ryan Braun, MIL (.306, 14 HR, 49 RBIs) and Hunter Pence, HOU (.320, 9 HR, 50 RBIs). After that, things start to get a little shaky.

Ballot embarrassments: Will Venable, SD (.220, 0 HR, 8 RBIs), Tony Gwynn, SD (.222, 0 HR, 6 RBIs, son of a fat guy), Jason Bay, NYM (.207, 2 HR, 11 RBIs) and Rick Ankiel, WAS (.204, 1 HR, 9 RBIs).

So as you can see, I only picked one Cub on my ballot, and that was kind of by default.

As you can also see, I have wasted about 10 minutes of your life (don’t feel bad, I wasted about an hour of mine doing this).

I just felt it was important to point out who was actually deserving of spots in the starting line-up this year, knowing that many of them will have to settle for being coach’s selections in the end. That’s the way it works though, when you have the same system used to vote for prom queen.

This time it counts!!!! (I’m going to barf…)

Mad ramblings

• Watching the U.S. Men’s soccer team against Guadeloupe was pretty painful Tuesday night. The normally reliable Clint Dempsey missed like 8,000 shots (or at least it appeared that way). Put it this way, Guadeloupe had a guy whose name was pronounced “Taco Fred,” yet the U.S. only won 1-0. Lot of work to do boys!

• Speaking of the U.S. squad, Groupon has been running this ad on Facebook.

Funny thing is that this deal isn’t offered anywhere on the website. Shady practices there, Groupon!

• So LeBron tries to clarify that he wasn’t saying he was better than everyone else on Sunday night. Yeah, I’m not buying it either.

• I love Drew Rosenhaus, but I know there is no way even he believes he can make Terrell Pryor a first round pick in the supplemental draft. Next question.

• Samuel L. Jackson narrates this children’s book, which is definitely NSFW.

(UPDATE: YouTube pulled the video due to copyright issues. Google it though, and see if you can find the video online somewhere. It is worth the time.)

• I applied for another job today, which I would be a perfect for. That is, unless you count the “bilingual preferred” part.

No worries, though. If asked, I will just tell them, “I am currently learning to speak Spanish.”

Granted, all of those lessons are coming from watching Dora The Explorer with Boogie. But really, is that detail THAT important?

Bear Down and Keep the Faith!

About Joshua Buckley

I used to be a Sports Editor. Now I'm the Media Relations Manager at the Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center.


4 thoughts on “Picking a star from the NL ‘suck’ corner

  1. Our picks pretty much match up, a few times my pick was your “you could make a case for this guy . . . ”

    If Avila loses out to Mauer, I may flip my shit at the idiocy of America. Expect that blogpost.

    Posted by southernmaninindy | June 16, 2011, 3:03 pm
    • Ya, Avila is easily the top offensive catcher in all of baseball this year. Won’t surprise me if when the first vote update comes out, though, that he isn’t even in the top five.

      Posted by Joshua Buckley | June 17, 2011, 8:20 am
  2. I don’t see how you can go with Bruce over Braun. Yes, Bruce has three more homers, but he hits in one of hte most hitter friendly ballparks. And Braun is batting 23 points higher.
    Also, I think you have to go with Reyes over Tulo. Reyes has been better defensively and is arguably the best leadoff hitter in the game.

    Posted by emoney | June 20, 2011, 3:32 am
    • It probably will be Braun over Bruce, so I think you make a strong point there. Reyes and Tulo is a good discussion. Do you want a SS with power or a leadoff man? Either one is a great choice.

      Posted by Joshua Buckley | June 20, 2011, 5:01 pm

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