Monday, July 5, 2010

Fix this please....

I have no doubts that by the time we sit down to watch the 2010 All Star Game, many of the "crimes" committed with the initial roster will have been corrected. I enjoy the debate, but usually feel like too much fuss is made over the rosters. This year is proving to be an exception, as we've seen a few head scratchers. The biggest one, and the one that tips me to the side of really being annoyed, is Omar Infante. I have nothing against Infante -- I like him as a player, recognize his value to the Braves, and generally root for these types of guys to do well. But, aside from a week or two when he was filling in for an injured Chipper, Prado or Escobar, he hasn't come close to resembling an everyday player. But Infante was chosen for the game, while the likes of Joey Votto -- arguably the second best first baseman in the NL -- sits at home. Most opinions, mine included, point to this being an attempt by NL Manager Charlie Manuel to add some flexibility to his roster to try to end the NL's losing streak. Of course, as we all know, this game "counts", and I've always felt that it was one of the dumber wrinkles that we've been subjected to during the "Reign of Bud". Of course, he is listed on the ballot for the final vote, and has an early lead, so hopefully, the fans will get this one right. No guarantees, though, because when you look at the list for the final NL spot you realize that everyone listed deserves to be there over Infante.

Selig and Fox long for the days of Pete Rose bowling over Ray Fosse (in the 1970 All Star Game). The fact of the matter is that today's player just doesn't approach the game the way that guys did back in the 70's. In Rose's day, a passion bordering on obsession was a must for a major leaguer -- after all, many players still needed jobs in the off season to get buy. Even the lowest paid players in today's game make salaries that are out of the common man's reach. Your body is what you depend on to bring in that money, and you can understand why the idea of a break in the middle of a long season might be appealing. You can also understand why a guy like A-Rod (who, like Infante, is going to Anaheim while more deserving players are left on the outside) might simply let himself be tagged out rather than trying to knock the ball out of Yadier Molina's hand. We can long for these days all we want, but they're not coming back. The game is different now, and trying to put artificial importance on what's approached as an exhibition is foolish.

The real baseball fans are going to watch the game no matter what -- even if the game moves to ESPN or MLB Network. The fringe fans are going to lose interest at some point, and home field in the World Series won't change that. You can argue that it works as a short term fix, but I don't think it works long term.

We'll always have room for debate when it comes to the All Star Roster, and it adds as much fun to the process as frustration. Debate is fun, but Bud's attempt to place importance on an unimportant game is starting to move past debate and leaving us with a serious injustice.

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