Off Base
Fall or Midseason Classic

July 5, 2010, 6:00 p.m. Rather than get into the obligatory "OMG-I-can't-believe-they-picked-this-guy-this-guy-this-guy-and-this-guy-over-this-guy-this-guy-that-guy-and-these-two-guys" debate, which will continue to be a yearly occurrence as long there is an All-Star Game, we'll present the Internet Baseball Writers Association of America selections, and segue to the more important MLB-erred-by-instituting-the-home-field-advantage-in-the-World-Series-being determined-by-the-outcome-of-the-Midseason-Classic-in-the-first-place debate.

And by the way, I'm not disputing the validity of the aforementioned arguments. They're almost all correct. It's just there have been so many published opinions, with each assertion repeated by so many individuals, and with the All-Star selection system seemingly more messed up than ever, it's too frustrating to contemplate posting another such rant (nay, treatise) here.

Plus, the World Series part of it is a gazillion times more important. But more on that in a minute.

Here's how the IBWAA voted, both for the ASG and in its second annual midseason awards, with my selections in parenthesis.

2010 American League All-Star Game Starting Lineup

First Base:                 Miguel Cabrera (Cabrera)
Second Base:            Robinson Cano (Cano)
Shortstop:                  Derek Jeter (Elvis Andrus)
Third Base:                Evan Longoria (Adrian Beltre)
Catcher:                     Joe Mauer (Mauer)
Outfield:                    Josh Hamilton (Hamilton)
Outfield:                     Vernon Wells (Wells)
Oufield:                      Ichiro Suzuki (Suzuki)

Designated Hitter:       Vladimir Guerrero (Guerrero)

2010 American League Mid-Season Awards:

MVP:                         (Tie) Robinson Cano, Miguel Cabrera. (Cano)
Cy Young:                  David Price (Cliff Lee)
Rookie:                      Austin Jackson (Brennan Boesch)
Manager:                    Ron Washington (Mike Scioscia)

2010 National League All-Star Game Starting Lineup:

First Base:                  Albert Pujols (Adrian Gonzalez)
Second Base:             Martin Prado (Prado)
Shortstop:                   Hanley Ramirez (Rafael Furcal)
Third Base:                 David Wright (Wright)
Catcher:                      Miguel Olivo (Olivo)                              
Outfield:                      Andre Ethier (Ethier)
Outfield:                      Ryan Braun (Braun)
Outfield:                      Corey Hart (Jayson Werth)

2010 National League Mid-Season Awards:

MVP:                           Ubaldo Jimenez (Adrian Gonzalez)
Cy Young:                    Ubaldo Jimenez (Jimenez)
Rookie                         Jason Heyward (Jaime Garcia)
Manager:                      Bud Black (Black)

With that said, and for those who don't recall, let's review the genesis of the home field in the World Series/All-Star Game results nonsense. The cast of characters includes three men, three confused men: Bob Brenly, Bud Selig, Joe Torre. Bounders all.

Brenly and Torre were the idiots who ran out of players, so they deserve to be remembered for that. I'm sorry, but the word "idiots" applies. You don't run out of players. There are no excuses for running out of players, and certainly not without injury to one, and preferably more than one man on each squad.

But to be fair, the managers were more concerned with getting people in the game than actually winning it, so with Bud Selig both figuratively and literally throwing up his hands in surrender, the game was called after 11 innings, and stands forever in the history books a 7-7 tie. July 9, 2002.

Sure, a baseball game ending in a draw is pretty lame, but in the grand scheme of things, it's fine for an exhibition. An exhibition, remember. Important, yes, but an exhibition just the same. And completely distinct from the World Series. There was no good reason to link the ASG to the WS, nor a bad one. Not money, not ratings, not logic, not anything baseball-related. Just plain nothing.

But this is what the commish, in his infinite wisdom, came up with. Because clearly, the NL getting Series home field in the odd years, the AL getting it the even years for decades, wasn't working. Nothing fair in that set-up.

(Lest we forget Selig's other contribution to World Series history – oh, just a little thing called CANCELLING IT – made the flip-flopping of home field necessary. Prior to the 1994 labor stoppage, the home field went to the AL in odd-numbered years.)

The Americans have won the seven ASGs, as well as the five prior to
Selig's bright idea, and perhaps not coincidentally, five of the eight World Series. Maybe the AL is simply the better league. As a lifelong NL man, it pains me to admit it, but that probably is the case. It's also another discussion.

In my 2010 Predictions column I made the following, albeit obnoxious prognostication: "World Series home field advantage is handed to the American League for the final time, as Major League Baseball drops the All-Star Game brainchild and goes back to an every-other-year schedule. A proposal is floated to award Series home field to the league prevailing in the Home Run Derby, but the vote falls just short."

It was a only joke, OK, just a joke, but with the way MLB's higher-ups are handling their All-Star Game responsibilities lately, this may just be where we're headed…

Talkback: Your comments are always encouraged…

Petco Pals: Memo to my friend Dan H, specifically, and to my naysaying readers, it's time I came out and said this. The San Diego Padres are for real. They are not going to up and transform into a 25-frog-saluting bunch of Keystone Cops one night, and ugly themselves into oblivion. They're not. And the sooner we accept the proposition the better we in blue will be for it.

I do think the Pads will slump at some point, resulting in a week (or weeks, plural) of sub-par play, creating an opportunity for another club (or clubs, plural) to make a run. The question is how long will they allow the slump to continue. I, for one, expect them to right themselves and stay in the race to the end. I also expect another club (or clubs, plural) to challenge them appropriately.

It's going to come down to head-to-head, between the Padres and that club. Or clubs, plural. But hear this: the Pads can win the division. I don't know if they will, but they can…

Baseball Names: Yes, I keep track of these things. Here's my best of list for the first half of 2010:

Al Albuquerque, Roger Bernadina, Esmailin Caridad, Starlin Castro, Brooks Conrad, Alfredo Figaro, Michael Foltynewicz, Balbino Fuenmayor, Dillon Gee, Adeinis Hechavarria, Mark Lemon, Boone Logan, Warner Madrigal, Mark Melancon, Kam Mickolio, Garrett Mock, Brett Pill, Clevelan Santeliz, Taylor Teagarden, Wyatt Toregas and Clay Pflibson Zavada,

Media Savvy: From Vin Scully Sunday, about the All-Star Game determining World Series home field: "Probably the worst decision baseball ever made…to monkey around with the prize jewel of baseball, the World Series. Almost heresy."

Statue for Sandy: The Koufax in bronze campaign continues. Please Vote “Yes on 32.” And tell a friend…

Remember, glove conquers all….


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