Monday, June 27, 2005
One Man's (Yankee-free) All-Star Ballot
I've read some of the All-Star Game ballot tallies that Major League Baseball updates once a week. Frankly, I'm horrified. Some people are even voting for Yankees.
I can no longer sit by and watch, lest we are all forced to endure the likes of Hideki Matsui patrolling left field in Detroit. It’s time for someone to step up and do the right thing in these waning weeks of voting. And since Bud Selig insists on making this game count, we have to make sure ballots are filled out properly. It's not going to be my fault if the Mets don't have the home-field advantage in the World Series.
I’m not saying there shouldn’t be any Yankees on the 30-man roster. MLB rules state that they get a team representative, just like the Devil Rays. I suggest reliever Tanyon Sturtze, since he’s played for both of them, and we can cover two bad teams in one shot. And he’s no worse than some of the Yankees who Joe Torre filled the roster with.
Feel free to print this for future reference when casting those 25-votes per e-mail address at MLB.com.
First Base: Doug Mientkiewicz, Mets
The debate over the Cardinals’ Albert Pujols and Cubs’ Derek Lee is getting rough. National League fan is being pitted against National League fan, and it’s a sad thing to watch. Enough, I say. End all the fighting and pick a compromise candidate we can all embrace. That would be the person in third place in the balloting so far. Enter Doug Mientkiewicz. Sure, he's been in a bit of a slump this season. But Doug has served his country admirably by winning the Olympic gold medal. And he played a role in the biggest Yankee embarrassment ever -- and has the game ball to prove it. That alone earns him a trip to Detroit.
Second Base: Kaz Matsui, Mets
You weren't really going to vote for Jeff Kent, were you? C'mon, this guy thinks were stupid enough to believe he missed a quarter of a season healing from wounds suffered washing his truck. Oh, Kaz has a couple issues to resolve. But we can overlook those for now. Actually, this is for Kaz's own good. He's been booed at Shea, and it apparently has shaken him up a little. But what kind of reception do you think a Japanese import is going to get in Detroit? The booing he gets there will be so intense that he'll come back to Shea and think the fans are whispering sweet nothings!
Shortstop: Jose Reyes, Mets
Jose gets some grief for having more triples than walks. A walk gets you to first base. A triple gets you to third. I guess the guy knows what he’s doing. And the vast green spaces of Comerica Park were designed for triples. Not that the Tigers have figured this out.
Third Base: David Wright, Mets
Scott Rolen's a great player. But I just can't defend voting for him while he's missed big chunks of the season due to injuries. Everybody says Wright is the next Scott Rolen. So if Rolen's hurt, you are morally bound to send the next best thing.
Catcher: Mike Piazza, Mets
Why? Because he's Mike Freaking Piazza, he and he goes straight from Shea to Cooperstown. When you show me a kid with a Paul LoDuca poster on his bedroom wall, then you can vote for someone other than Piazza. And we all want to listen to another round of Piazza-Clemens battery irony stories if LaRussa gets Clemens into the game. Of course, after Roger spotted the AL 6 runs in the first inning of last year's debacle, I hope Clemens doesn’t see any action. Clearly all his years in the AL and last year’s apparently throwing of the game revealed that he is still and American Leaguer at heart. Here’s a plan. Let Clemens come out for the foul line for his introduction, then have two security goons follow him back to the bullpen and duct-tape his butt to the bullpen bench for the duration of the evening.
Outfield: Carlos Beltran, Mets; Mike Cameron, Mets; Cliff Floyd, Mets
Carlos Beltran is the best player on the planet. Why else would we be paying him $119 million? And Mike Cameron is the best center-fielder ever. I know this because the Mets pretty much told us so when they signed him last year. And we already know what happens when Cliff Floyd gets left off the All-Star team. Remember that tiff with Bobby Valentine in 2001 that dominated game coverage in Seattle? And Cliff’s been using Yankees pitchers for batting practice lately.
Besides, an all-Mets outfield would drive Mets-haters like Bob Klapisch and Tom Verducci straight over the edge, sending both of them to curl up in the fetal position behind the Gehrig monument in Yankee Stadium. That will spare us another round of Yankee apologist columns about how the Orioles and Red Sox have unfair advantages or that the “dirt tenders” in the Boston bullpen are provoking poor Yankee pitchers to violence.
Pitcher: Pedro Martinez, Mets
I realize we can't vote for pitchers. But this just needs to be said. We already know Clemens is not allowed to start. And Dontrelle Willis is a kid, and Willie Randolph made it clear that kids have to pay their dues. D-Train can come in for the third inning. That leaves Pedro, who has been outstanding and gets bonus points for always wearing the pinstriped home uniform.
First Base: Mark Tiexeira, Rangers
If Tino Martinez starts this game, it will be a national embarrassment. Tiexeira's a stud, and his name is almost has hard to spell as Mientkiewicz.
Second Base: Brian Roberts, Orioles.
Tough call here. Alfonso Soriano won the MVP of last year's game. We want the NL to win, so let's not give "So" another shot. Plus, he's still got the stench of Yankee taint all over him. A couple more seasons and we might forgive him for that time in the Bronx.
Shortstop: Migel Tejada, Orioles
Well thre's no freaking way I can vote for that punk Derek Jeter. Tejada's got an MVP that he quasi-deserved and he's "The Man" on the team keeping the Yanks out of first place. Let's give him this little confidence boost so he keeps it up.
Third Base: Hank Blalock, Rangers
Some of you were actually voting for Alex Rodriguez. Do you really think it's safe to give him an opportunity to slap Doug Mienkiewicz around on the basepaths they way ARod slapped Bronson Arroyo in the playoffs last year? What was he doing, challenging him to a duel? It's just best if we avoid the whole situation and put that nice Hank Blalock there.
Catcher: Jason Varitek Red Sox
Wow, this is tough. Both Pudge and Varitek played big roles in embarrassing the Yankees. Pudge did it with the Marlins in 2003 and Varitek with the Red Sox last year. Pudge was in the World Series, and Varitek made them historically choke away a 3-0 series lead. Pudge has the famous gun for an arm, and I want Jose Reyes to run bases without fear of getting caught. Must vote defensively here and give Varitek the love.
DH: Frank Thomas, White Sox
Frank threw me a game ball once. That earns a lifetime vote. And the White Sox are in first place.
Outfield: Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners; Manny Ramirez, Red Sox; Vlad Guerrero, Angels
After watching Bernie Williams in the Mets series this weekend, the temptation is to put him out there and tell the NL sluggers to hit cans o' corn to center all game. But there's no way I can vote for a Yankee, even the carcass of one, which is about what Bernie is these days. Ichiro's going to get elected anyway, so we might as well jump on the bandwagon. Same with Vlad. And Manny's just a freak, a hitting savant.
There you go! Get busy. And let’s wish Tanyon Sturtze well.