Monday and the Birds
Monday, July 3, 2006, 2006, 1:40 pm
Pods, LF; Iguchi, 2B; Thome, DH; Konerko, 1B; Dye, RF; Crede, 3B; Uribe, SS; Widger, C; Anderson, CF. Garcia on the mound.
Campaigning for AJ
Gears are turning here at the ballpark to begin our campaign for AJ as the 32nd member of the AL All-Star Team. Our fans set a high bar last year, electing outfielder Scott Podsednik with a record vote. Let’s do the same for AJ.
Jokes around the clubhouse has people standing in line to "punch AJ" on their ballots, and some wondered if anyone other than AJ would have to contend with a negative vote.
You can vote or text message for AJ at whitesox.com. Start clicking now.
It was fascinating to be a small part of watching how the All-Star Team was selected. Many fans may be under the impression that the manager sits down and makes his pick. That is far from the case.
Leading up to last weekend, we had prepared page after page of stats and player rankings, along with projected pitching rotations. Ozzie spoke with managers of other teams.
As you know, fans selected the eight starters. Players vote on the the next eight players, one per position. Players also select eight pitchers, five starters and three relievers. This leaves seven players for Ozzie to select. Of the seven, four must be pitchers, and he had to cover the four teams — Bal, Oak, KC and Cle — who did not have a player among the fan and player choices. So, really, Ozzie had three picks of his own and used them on Konerko, Jenks and Buehrle.
Because the players selected Jim Thome as the backup first baseman, Konerko was needed as the only true first baseman on the team. Jenks received a lot of support from the players vote as well and obviously is one of the top relievers in the game.
Grady Sizemore was Ozzie’s easy choice as the Indians rep (and he also gave the AL another center fielder), Miguel Tejada was the Orioles selection so that he had another middle infielder to play with in terms of game strategy. And Barry Zito and Mark Redman were the pitchers selected to represent their teams.
Starting pitching was an concern. Three of the five starters chosen by the players are scheduled to pitch Sunday, which limits them to at most one inning in the ASG. So in Buehrle, Zito and Redman, Ozzie was adding pitchers who could give him innings should the game go to extras.
Pitchers like Mike Mussina and Curt Schilling are having great years but are scheduled to throw Sunday. Adding them to the team would not solve the innings issue.
Hope that explains some of the behind-the-scenes concerns with picking the team. It was sure an experience to sit in on the meetings, watch, listen and learn.
In the end, it’s Ozzie’s team, and he believes its a team he can win this game with … after all, we want home field advantage.