Posted at 12:52 PM on June 21, 2005
by Bob Collins
I consider myself a pretty smart baseball fan, but as I wrote a few weeks ago, even with my considerable interest and such things as APBA draft teams and fantasy baseball to encourage me to look beyond my own parochial interests (the Indians, Twins and Red Sox primarily, and the American League generally), I needed my parochial interests playing teams with which I still wasn't familiar in order to expose me to new things.
Apparently I'm one of the few.
The latest votes for the American League All Star team reveal a startling geographic concentration.
Now maybe there just aren't good players outside of the Northeast, or maybe it's impossible to overcome the media hype of all things New York and Boston. I don't know, I haven't looked at the individual performances enough and I've never been a big fan of the "Joe Blow got screwed in the All Star voting" debates.
But it's pretty clear the White Sox aren't going to put anybody in the starting lineup. And that's OK with me since they're doing it primarily with pitching and, thank God, the fans don't get to pick the pitchers.
Still, the current results list votes for 45 players. Soriano, Suzuki, and Texiera are the only non-Eastern Division players with a prayer of starting. And most non-Eastern votes go to Angels, Rangers and White Sox players.
I find the number of votes for Jason Giambi particularly interesting. Either the New York fans are stuffing things, or fans everywhere else are trying to stuff the thing for the sheer joy of seeing some steroid carcas being introduced at the All Star game.
Now look at the National League voting. Leaders are from the Dodgers, Cardinals, and Mets. And the Cubs (D. Lee)have a shot at a starter. A little more geographically balanced.
The fact that Doug Mienkiewicz -- who just flat out stinks, and don't bother wasting my time telling me about his defense -- is #3 in balloting for firstbase may tell us something about the talent level at firstbase in baseball these days, or that the methamphetimine epidemic has hit New York big.
all-star games are and forever will be popularity contests. and maybe they should be...it's inherently hard for the avg fan (read: me) to get excited about someone on the rise half way through a season. or remember last season for that matter. but if the player strings along a few good seasons they are bound to be recognized. especially, if a player is on another team or worse a different division or league. you just don't get to see everyone enough except in highlights on SC...it's entertainment and entertainment = popularity. the best selling albums don't imply the best musicianship.
Is there a Twins position player that even warrants consideration?
Ok, maybe Shannon Stewart.
The only Twins remotely deserving are Santana & Crain................
i agree with the santana & crain position but middle relief will be over looked as usual.