The All Star teams are nearly set. The NL and AL are ready to rumble at Angel Stadium on the 13th. America will get a chance to vote one more player on to both the NL and AL squads. And in the NL, if it is not Joey Votto, the game will be a sham this year in my eyes.
I wanted to write about this yesterday, but due to heavy frustration and being busy with the holiday festivities, I restrained myself. But when I heard who made the All Star team for the National League, I was absolutely outraged to hear that the player who has arguably had the best first half in the League, was left off the roster. A man who has led a team that nobody thought would be in the hunt this year into contention.
And now I admit I have a biased opinion in that I live in Cincinnati and am a big Reds fan, but the numbers don’t lie:
NL 1st Basemen:
Starter: Albert Pujols- .305 BA, 20 HR, 60 RBI, 0.413 OBP, 0.567 SLG, 45-37 record (2nd in NL Central), makes 14.5 million a year
Reserve: Ryan Howard- 0.293 BA, 15 HR, 59 RBI, 0.349 OBP, 0.502 SLG 42-38 record (3rd in NL East), makes 19 million a year
Reserve: Adrian Gonzalez- 0.291 BA, 16 HR, 51 RBI, 0.349 OB, 0.502 SLG 49-33 record (1st in NL West), makes 5 million a year
SOL (at this time): Joey Votto- 0.312 BA, 19 HR, 57 RBI, 0.412 OBP, 0.572 SLG, 47-36 record (1st place in NL Central), makes 525,000 a year
Now these guys are all 4 having great years. But first off, take a look at the batting averages. Votto is far ahead of both Howard and Gonzalez, and 7 points ahead of Pujols. Then, in on base percentage, he is way ahead of both Gonzalez and Howard (just 0.01 behind Pujols). And in today’s game where the old school is becoming the new school, and small ball is king, these numbers are key.
But even if we are looking at the long ball stats. Votto has more homeruns than both Gonzalez and Howard (and just one less than Pujols). His slugging percentage is higher than all of them. So the man is doing it all.
Lastly, his team has a better record than both Howard and Pujols. Not to mention he is making way less money than the other three. So the Reds are getting great money for their buck on this guy.
But really what this all comes down to. The fan voting for the starters is always going to lead to issues. Guys playing in the biggest cities like New York, Boston, LA, are always going to have an upper hand. The League does this in order to make sure the fan feels a part of the process. And I do not blame this for this, but it doesn’t make it right. The other real issue is managers of the defending League Champs making All Star selections. Obviously Girardi was going to take A Rod over Youkilis in the AL because he cannot leave his guy to dry. Then of course Manual would have to take Howard over Votto in the NL for the same reason. There needs to be a way to select guys without such heavy bias.
It just isn’t right. They need a new system. I personally think that the players and managers should all vote and have an equal say. No public vote necessary. Let the peers and managers evaluate each other and go from there. But this will never happen in that it is a business, and involving the fans in the long run probably helps bring in more revenue to the game. Does anyone have a better system?
Either way, Joey Votto should get that last spot on the team. It really shouldn’t have had to come to this though. He should already have made the squad. Then maybe he would not have gotten so upset during the 1st inning of yesterday’s Reds romp, and gotten ejected in the 1st inning ending his phenomenal streak of getting on base in 41 consecutive games.
Stay tuned for the next edition of Sportskraze.