Saturday, July 8, 2006, 10:15 am
While we know fans appreciate the 7:35 pm starts on Fridays because of traffic, the quick turnaround for a 12:15 pm Saturday game is a killer. Clubhouse guys said they walked out of here just before 1 a.m. and were back in by 8 a.m. Tough to bounce back for staff and players alike (I know I don’t do it as well as I used to, but I’m just old).
Pods, LF; Iguchi, 2B; Thome, DH; PK, 1B; Dye, RF; AJ, C; Crede, 3B; Mack, CF; Cintron, SS; Garcia on the mound.
I do feel sorry that Cleveland’s Travis Hafner is not on the All-Star Team. I don’t know Travis personally, but the AL team would certainly be better with his bat on our bench. And I want to win the game.
The problem is that every single year one or more very deserving 1B/DHs in the AL gets left off the team, especially in a National League park. Frank Thomas did not make the All-Star Team in 2000 when he was hitting .333 with 26 home runs and 75 RBI at the break. In 2004, Paul Konerko was batting .296 with 22 homers and 59 RBI and did not make the team.
Unfortunately for Hafner (and really all the AL 1B/DH), there are so many first-class offensive performers at that position that someone will be left out. And worse news is that next year’s game is again at an NL venue, San Francisco, so the problem isn’t going away. Personally, I don’t understand why the ASG doesn’t always feature a DH. It would allow for more of these players to appear, and also would let managers dictate how and when their starters came out of the game, rather than the flow of the game (i.e. time to pinch hit for my pitcher, so I double switch to remove my starting shortstop).
Having to use an extra player as a DH during interleague play is certainly a disadvantage for the NL clubs in our ballparks. But in the case of an All-Star Game, there are more than enough candidates to fill the role (Pujols, anyone?).
Just my opinion …
When we looked at the five candidates for the Final Vote, we actually thought the race would be Hafner and AJ. The Indians were at home, against the Yankees, so we assumed a lot of attention and media coverage. Statistically, Hafner dominated the other candidates. While Liriano and Verlander are outstanding young pitchers, neither seemed to have the national (or international) appeal and name recognition at this point in time to capture a fan vote.
I’m really not sure why Hafner did not receive more support. But the way it is set up, it’s a popularity contest/how many votes can you generate. AJ and White Sox fans do not have to apologize for his winning.
The clubhouse can be a tough world …
As Ed Farmer and third base coach Joey Cora exchanged insults the other day, Farmer finally silenced Cora with the following …
"How’s Barbaro? If you had just let up on the reins a little bit, that horse would still be OK."
Cold. Cora, nicknamed "The Jockey," earned the moniker for both his size and his habit of verbally riding someone unmercifully.
He just laughed and walked away.
Redman and Buehrle
Kansas City’s Mark Redman made Ozzie Guillen look pretty smart — despite what a KC columnist might argue — with his selection to the All-Star Team by allowing just two runs over 8.0 IP in his final start before the break to win his fifth straight game for the Royals.
Mark Buehrle on the other hand was hoping his start last night would vindicate his manager for selecting him to his third All-Star Team. Buehrle had a rough outing at Wrigley last Sunday in what turned into a slo pitch softball game.
I haven’t seen Mark yet today, but I am sure he was disappointed. A few big hits early in last night’s game would have changed the entire contest.
Oh well, at least we get to play another game just hours later.