Ever since the end of my childhood (this occurred around 2000), I’ve watched Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game with less awe and more conviction. My interest in the game has become more self-righteous as I root for the game’s more overrated players to fail and the under-appreciated stars to succeed; or, in last year’s case, I root for the game to end. Not all inclinations are based on my ongoing quest for the accurate evaluation and perception of players. Yankees receive cheers no matter what, Red Sox remain vilified – that goes for any Met not named Carlos Beltran, too.
I find the All-Star selection process much more interesting than the game itself. Fans, players, and managers contribute to varying degrees in setting the 33-man roster. Each group – much like any group – has its idiots, its intelligent voters, and a group that falls somewhere between the two. Ultimately, the final rosters provide a useful glimpse into which players embody the intersection of popularity and skill. As you might expect, I prefer that the selectors look at the latter almost to the total exclusion of the former. More difficult is the question of which player is more deserving: the one-half wonder, or the (probably) more talented player with a consistent track record? I lean more towards the established player, although certain cases allow for the rewarding of an incredible first half, even if it is unlikely or unsustainable. There’s a fair argument on both sides.
Now that I’ve bored you with my philosophical musings, I’d like to share my picks for the American League’s 33-man roster. The actual roster can be found here, although they do not yet include the winner of the Final Vote. I’m loosely following the prescribed format: eight starting position players, 13 pitchers (distributed arbitrarily between starters and relievers), and 12 bench players (with a backup at each position). The National League will follow in the coming days. Here we go: Read the rest of this entry »