By Josh Kramer
The “smartest” man ever to step foot on a baseball diamond strikes again. This time, he is playing for keeps. Despite being retired, Tony LaRussa is still going after his bitter rival, the Cincinnati Reds. Now I am not naive enough to think that snubs don’t happen every year in regards to the All-Star Game rosters. Due to a flawed selection system, this is inevitable. But it is very atypical to see a particular “city” get snubbed like this.
LaRussa’s hatred of the good old ball club out of Cincinnati runs deep. Do not forget that Jose Rijo and Co. swept LaRussa’s heavily favored Athletics back in 1990. But that massacre has nothing to do with what is going on here. This act of pure spite relates directly to what happened back on August 10, 2010. To refresh your memory, watch this. To add insult to injury, neither “Cincinnati Snubs” are even on the five-man list for the final spot. Go figure.
Does anyone really think that both Dan Uggla and Jose Altuve are having a better season than Brandon Phillips? Uggla won the fan vote with significant breathing room, and Altuve is the only player on Houston that deserves to be within 200 miles of Kauffman Stadium on the 10th. Phillips is the best all-around second baseman in the National League. There is no ifs, ands, or buts about it. But I understand the dilemma LaRussa faced. Carrying three second-basemen may have been difficult. How is Mr. Web Gem (Brandon Phillips) not at least on the ballot for the final spot though? This is a mere misdemeanor compared to the felonous act against Johnny Cueto though.
Cueto is putting up another great year while playing at Great American Ball Park. AKA, Great American “Small” Park. He ranks 4th in the NL in terms of ERA (2.26), has a 9-4 record, and a 1.14 WHIP. How could Clayton Kershaw or Jonathan Papelbon make the roster over Cincinnati’s number one guy? Clayton Kershaw, on the mighty LA Dodgers, is 6 and 4 with a 2.65 ERA. Cueto has outdone Kershaw in every sense of the word. Also, Papelbon has an ERA over 3 (not good for a closer), on a team that is nine games under 500. These are just the first two guys that come to mind.
The numbers could be dissected all day though. I would put you to sleep if I did that. LaRussa deserves the majority of the blame. Why is a retired manager even allowed to manage this prestigious game? There are two other factors to consider though. Why does every team have to have one player on the roster? If a team has a record that is 20 games under 500, they likely do not have any shining stars. The MLB All-Star Game is by no means a charity case. For the contenders, there is a lot riding on this (home-field advantage in the Fall Classic). Secondly, is this tee-ball? LaRussa claims that the fact Cueto is pitching on Sunday is a main reason why he is not on the team. Does every player have to play in the game? Why not just let the player take their curtain call and enjoy their time in the sun? I know LaRussa is the ultimate micromanager, but if a player is as deserving as Cueto, they should be on the roster whether they can play or not.
Luckily for Cincinnati, they find themselves in first place at the moment. I hope St. Louis enjoys the view from third place, while Tony LaRussa is enjoying life as a traditional civilian. He won this round, but Cincinnati should win the war in taking the NL Central and making a deep playoff run.
Wimbledon March Madness
Venus in Round 1. Rafael Nadal in Round 2. Serena Williams and Roger Federer both escape by the slimmest of margins in Round 3. Maria Sharapova bounced in Round 4. What is going to happen next at the All-England Club? Nobody has a clue.
Dwight Howard Soap Opera Season 2
Despite one of the toughest and manliest exteriors I have ever seen, Dwight Howard sure has a sensitive interior. Looks can be deceiving. Dwight Howard’s shoulders are arguably the biggest in the world, but his emotions are also pretty big in their own right. I watch sports so I don’t have to watch bad soap operas. Shows this bad do not get a second season for a reason. Please let this “Soap Opera” end soon.
Spain throttled Italy on Sunday and solidified their spot as the “Greatest Of All Time.” Through precision passing and outstanding teamwork, Spain made the Italians look like a junior high team playing a varsity high school team. Super Mario and Gianluigi Buffon had to be embarrassed. Also, how about Fernando Torres? Guy is a selfless man, sacrificing individual accolades for the good of the team. The Golden Boot was well deserved.
Don’t get carried away
“I won the US Open on a broken leg. I can handle it.” Tiger Wood passed Jack Nicklaus with his 74th PGA Tour win on Sunday to move into second place all time. Don’t get carried away though. The guy still has not won a major in four years (2008 US Open). Sure he is playing better, but is he playing like the Tiger Woods of 2000? Think on that.
Just some “Food for Thought.”
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