Baffling All-Star selections

CHICAGO — Too bad Major League Baseball no longer showcases a second All-Star Game.

With Jered Weaver and, to a lesser extent, Howard Kendrick denied invitations to represent the American League in the All-Star Game in their home park, the Angels are not alone in their frustration and confusion.

So many qualified players were overlooked this season, MLB could stage a second Midsummer Classic with those neglected athletes and it would be almost as talent-rich as the one that will unfold on July 13.

I was dumbfounded when I learned Weaver, leading the Majors in strikeouts with a 2.82 ERA and 8-3 record, wasn’t chosen. I figured he was a dead-solid lock. You can make a strong case that he has been as good as any starter in the league, rising to the challenge of replacing good buddy John Lackey as the no-nonsense, no-doubt ace of the staff.

In fact, Weaver was that guy last season but nobody seemed to notice. This should be his second straight year in the All-Star Game, but he’ll be home with family members, pulling for Torii Hunter to represent his team with his customary passion, style and grace.

Hunter was visibly distressed when he learned that Weaver and Kendrick, who has been durable and productive, didn’t get the call. It stripped from Torii much of the satisfaction he took from earning the vote of his peers.

But even there, I was baffled. How could Jose Bautista of Toronto claim 10 more votes from the players than Hunter, who finished sixth in the players’ balloting? Sure, he’s hit a lot of home runs this season, but in no way, shape or form does Bautista compare with Hunter as a total performer.

The players’ infatuation with the Blue Jays, currently one game below .500, was puzzling. Vernon Wells is having a terrific season, but he’s not in my view the player Carl Crawford is. Yet Wells collected 64 more player votes than Crawford to finish third, ahead of the Rays’ star.

And don’t even get me started on the catching outcome. Toronto’s John Buck was third on the players’ ballots, ahead of Oakland’s Kurt Suzuki, arguably the most underrated player in the game. The only area of the game where Buck compares with Suzuki is in lifting big flies.

By taking Suzuki, rather than Buck, to replace injured Victor Martinez on the AL roster, manager Joe Girardi could then have taken Weaver rather than right-hander Trevor Cahill, the Athletics’ representative. A promising right-hander, Cahill is having a solid season, but he is not in Weaver’s class yet.

In Suzuki and Weaver, the AL would have two truly deserving, no-doubt All-Stars.

Yes, Weaver is due to work on the Sunday preceding the All-Star Game, making him ineligible to pitch in the game. But that didn’t prevent Girardi and the AL decision-makers from selecting CC Sabathia, whose spot was awarded to Yankees teammate Andy Pettitte. If Nick Swisher, running second behind Kevin Youkilis in the Final Vote, joins the party, that would be eight Yankees All-Stars, if you’re counting.

Hunter, as the lone All-Star from the Angels, clearly must be the league’s MVP at this point in keeping his team in the hunt for what would be a fourth consecutive AL West title.

As for the Rangers’ Ian Kinsler getting the call over Kendrick, the players could not have been paying enough attention to what these two second baseman have done this season. Kendrick clearly has been the more productive performer, given all the games Kinsler has missed.

The lack of respect shown the Angels was just as glaring with their neighbors to the south. Padres manager Buddy Black, Mike Scioscia’s former pitching coach, has done a masterful job with that club. The Padres had at least three richly-deserving pitching candidates for the big show and none got the call.

Judging by the performances of their teams, San Diego’s Adrian Gonzalez, like Hunter, must be the MVP at the midway point of the season. The first baseman is the only representative of the club with the NL’s best record.
One final thought, regarding the phenom: Stephen Strasburg should be in this game. The whole point of elevating the importance of the All-Star Game in attaching home-field advantage in the World Series to the winner was to make sure that the best players competed at a high level and didn’t coast through the game.

If you’re the NL, and you’re serious about ending the AL’s run of dominance, you want Strasburg on the mound for an inning or two. You can’t tell me there are 13 better pitchers in the National League than this kid. I’m not sure there are three better than Strasburg. – Lyle Spencer    



  1. angelsgirl012

    disappointing indeed. Weaver not being in this thing is unfair but maybe it really is because he is pitching before the all star break that he didn’t get chosen. He’s an all star for sure I don’t know how he’s going to go unnoticed for much longer 😛 SO many players not making it just confuses me very very much. It angers me as well. Quite unfortunate.

    All star ballots are just ridiculous nowadays it makes me sick. Well I’m glad that Torii is representing us. I couldn’t have asked for a better representative for the Angels. It’s a nice feeling and an honor for the Big A to host this year’s all star game. I’m sure it’ll be a good one. A one for the history books!

  2. lmduff

    It’s hard to believe that the league continues to choose All-Stars in this manner. The ballots are handed out at the stadiums beginning the 2nd or 3rd week of the season. There aren’t enough stats at that point to make an informed decision, not that it appears many people vote based on stats. I don’t have a big problem with each team being represented. In fact, maybe that’s the only rule that makes sense. Without it, Girardi would’ve just fielded his Yankees team against the NL All-Stars.


    Joe Girardi picks his own pitcher Phil Hughes over Jared Weaver?!?! Is that a joke? Seriously….

    Here’s their stats:

    Hughes: 10-2. 86 strikeouts. 3.83 era. 1.20 whip.
    Weaver: 8-3. 124 strikeouts. 2.81 era. 1.05 whip.

    Girardi is a joke. Can’t manage a bullpen and certainly can’t choose all stars.

  4. johngrahme

    Phil Hughes was voted in by the players. Mr Spencer, your information is not correct. Petite was not picked by Girardi to replace Sabathia. When Buchholz got hurt, the rule states the spot goes to the pitcher with the next highest vote total on the players ballot. That was Petite.
    Buck finished second on the players ballot so he got the spot after Victor Martinez was injured. Once again, those are the rules and I got that information directly from an article on MLB’s website. The same rule applied with Ian Kinsler.
    If you aren’t happy with the players voting, take it up with them! Don’t blame Girardi for that or the application of the rule! If you are not happy with Girardi taking CC, fine, that’s your opinion, but at least do your research and get the facts right on the other information in your blog.

  5. angelfan4life

    I live in NY, but my heart will be with my fellow Angel fans tomorrow. I’m just hoping those of you in the stands BOO Girardi loudly. Sticking with your family is one thing, but packing the team with pinstripes is enough. He’s also hurting the all of the AL by batting Jeter #2 and Cano at the bottom.

  6. wowwee

    Here is an Idea to help Boast ratings and give MLB a day to there self.

    NFL Own Thanksgiving. U think Turkey you think Football
    NBA own Christmas, although christmas is more of a family holiday so less people watching TV that day
    But MLB can own the 4th of July.. Like Thanks giving not a relgious holiday.
    Not much going on until the night with the fireworks.
    So why not have Mid Summer classic on a day when everyone is off and everyone is home BBQ so if nothing else increase radio
    listeners but if you make it a noon game you will get more people to watch as well
    I would love to here 3 reasons why you wouldn’t want to put Americans Past time on during America’s Birthday

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