Corey Hart Proves He is Star Material, Sometimes

Corey Hart

Perhaps he was trying to prove to the Milwaukee Brewers organization that his dismal start to the season has no bearing on his talent.  Maybe he was putting on a show for other clubs interested in acquiring him.  Either way, Corey Hart was on a mission during the Home Run Derby Tuesday night.

“Anytime you make the [All Star] team it’s good, but to basically just point a finger at the Brewers and say ‘I told you so’ would be more gratifying than anything,” said Hart, in an interview late last month.

Corey Hart got just that, smacking 13 out of the Angels Stadium in the Home Run Derby’s first round. But then he recorded a goose egg in the second round; zero homers across the allotted 10 outs. So do the Milwaukee Brewers keep the hot hitter or trade him before the Hart stops beating?

By: Melissa S. Wollering

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Delmon Young’s Emergence Drawing National Recognition

Delmon Young

When Delmon Young was traded from the Tampa Bay Rays to the Minnesota Twins in 2007 as the centerpiece that sent Jason Bartlett and Matt Garza from Minnesota to Tampa, the reaction around Minnesota was mixed. [Read more…]

White Sox All-Star Candidates and their Respective chances

2010 mlb all star game

So much for the Stanley Cup afterglow Chicago. Patrick Kane isn’t even done with his post celebration alcoholic bender, and we’ve already moved on to discussing a multitude (or “mulletude” in Kaner’s case) of local sports topics:

Our White Sox becoming the hottest team in baseball and climbing back into the race, the Cubs falling further into oblivion as their $18 million dollar pitcher with a five cent head and a 7-yearo-old’s self-control throws a hissy fit, the Bulls reportedly having the best player in basketball, LeBron James and the most valuable Canadian import of this market (Chris Bosh) ready to ink a deal, (and that rumor’s already been shot down), and even the Blackhawks themselves, selling off veterans and doing a ton of draft day wheeling and dealing in order to prepare shelter for their gathering salary cap storm.

But Soxman and I (if we can paraphrase Mark McGwire at the steroid Senate hearings) are not here to talk about the past. Even the recent past. We’re here to discuss the short term future. As in who’s going to represent the White Sox at the Midsummer Classic in Anaheim on the 14th?

By Paul M. Banks and Soxman

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How Many Milwaukee Brewers are All-Stars?

Prince Fielder & Ryan Braun

Besides Ryan Braun, who on the Milwaukee Brewers team is All-Star material this year?  Is Yovani Gallardo deserving of a pitching spot?  Does Corey Hart have a chance?  What would it mean for the man whose rough March and April has all but been forgotten?

“Anytime you make the team it’s good, but to basically just point a finger at the Brewers and say ‘I told you so’ would be more gratifying than anything,” says Hart, in a good-natured way.

The Brewers have had at least three players on the All-Star roster in each of the last four years.  However, the Milwaukee Brewers were playing baseball above the .500 mark during all four seasons.

By: Melissa S. Wollering

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The MLB All-Star Game: Encouraging voter fraud one fan at a time

The 2009 All-Star Game

By Jake McCormick

Trivia time! Name the only major American sporting event where there are no sports scheduled during the game and the days before and after.

By process of seasonal elimination, the answer has to be the Major League Baseball All-Star Game. The subtitle should be “The Only Exhibition Game that Matters,” after its one of many flaws.

All-star games in other leagues are advantageous for all the players involved. The ones that are selected receive well-deserved recognition for their personal achievements in team sports, complete with week-long vacations to places like Las Vegas and Hawaii. Bud Selig believed that by The impending ending to an All-Star Game that mattersmaking the MLB All-Star Game count for something, it would improve overall ratings and easily solve the home field advantage in the World Series problem. The better idea would be to total up the final interleague records and award home field advantage to league that won the most games. Putting relevance into the game has the potential for a Griswold family vacation, where players get hurt or overworked because the managers treat it as more than just a friendly competition.

Although fan voting in any league can be considered about as smart as motives for choosing political candidates, the MLB has better election rigging tactics than Iran. Instead of fans choosing the starters for the game, follow the NBA’s lead and just count fans for one-third of the final results. Every year there are starters that are questionable for the overall team (See 2008: Jason Varitek, Kosuke Fukudome), and certain fan bases (Brewers, Phillies, Red Sox) cast enough votes that their bench players get heavy consideration. You don’t need a congressional audit committee to figure out the All-Star Game doesn’t always pit the best against the best, but neither do real elections I guess.

Setting these necessary changes aside, there were a lot less snubs for this year’s game than there have been in the past. Apparently voting has been a little smarter, as the players and fans connected on seven starters from the NL and six from the AL. The MLB must’ve done some fine exit polling. Here are the changes I would make to both leagues’ starting lineups, reserves, and pitching staff:

American League starters:
Justin MorneauFirst Base – Justin Morneau, Twins (Mark Teixiera, New York Yankees)
Pure example of fan voting at its finest. Morneau has been more consistent throughout the season, isn’t surrounded by the best lineup money can buy, and leads Teixiera in batting average, home runs, RBIs, on-base percentage, and both are equally excellent fielders.

Aaron HillSecond Base – Aaron Hill, Toronto Blue Jays (Dustin Pedroia, Boston Red Sox)
This is the easiest change to make, and I would argue that Ian Kinsler, Brian Roberts, or Robinson Cano (preferably Cano) should’ve received Pedroia’s spot on the roster. Hill leads AL second basemen in home runs and RBIs, and gives the Blue Jays production the team expected from Vernon Wells, who looks more like Ben Grieve than Torii Hunter.

Torii HunterOutfield – Torii Hunter, Los Angeles Angels (Josh Hamilton, Texas Rangers)
Hamilton has been injured for most of the first half, so replacing him was pretty easy. Hunter is on pace for another career year at the plate while continuing to make friends with every outfield wall he can. Side note: I became an immediate fan of Torii Hunter when he told Jim Rome that he doesn’t wear a cup because “there’s too much going on down there.” It makes every crazy catch he’s made that much harder/funnier to watch.

AL position snub:
Miguel CabreraKevin Youkilis should not be on this roster. Miguel Cabrera plays the same position, has more home runs, RBIs, a better average, less strikeouts, and more at-bats than Youkilis. Both are great players on good teams, but feel-good story Russell Branyan’s stats are almost identical to Youkilis’, and he’s not going to St. Louis either.

AL pitcher snubs:
Tim WakefieldThe biggest question mark for the AL pitching staff was Tim Wakefield, who has pitched well but not nearly to the caliber as starters like Jared Weaver or Kevin Millwood. Wakefield benefited from the Eric Crouch Effect, where as long as he has played well for a long enough period, he’ll get an All-Star berth, Heisman Trophy, or gold watch.

National League starters:
Brian McCannCatcher – Brian McCann, Atlanta Braves (Yadier Molina, St. Louis Cardinals)
Like brother Benji Molina, Yadier Molina has quietly shed his reputation as a pure defensive catcher and has become a fairly good back of the lineup hitter. NL catchers have largely been an offensive disappointment this season, but McCann should be starting based off his better overall hitting statistics.

Brad HawpeOutfield – Brad Hawpe, Colorado Rockies (Carlos Beltran, Mets)
I chose Hawpe because he is in the top five for most offensive categories, including batting average, slugging percentage, doubles, and RBIs. You could make the argument that Coors Field inflates his stats, but they aren’t exactly night and day (.374, 4 HR, 27 RBI in 107 AB at home/.291, 9 HR, 29 RBI in 158 AB on the road).

NL position snub:
Mark ReynoldsRyan Howard should be swapped for Mark Reynolds outright. Reynolds leads him in home runs, RBIs, batting average, on-base percentage, and has 14 steals on his resume. Howard is good, and I’m guessing Charlie Manuel picked three extra first basemen so they could pinch hit in a clutch situation, but Reynolds doesn’t have Chase Utley or Raul Ibanez around him in the Diamondbacks lineup. Another easy switch would be Astro Hunter Pence for Dodger Matt Kemp, who is statistically superior to Pence in a lineup that was expected to falter without Manny Ramirez.

NL pitcher snubs:
Here are the 2009 numbers for Johan Santana, Adam Wainwright, Ted Lilly, and Yovani Gallardo. Try to match the stats to the pitcher!

1. 9-7, 3.29 ERA, 107 K
2. 8-6, 2.95 ERA, 120 K
3. 8-6, 3.32 ERA, 97 K
4. 9-5, 3.09 ERA, 110 K

Yovani GallardoThe correct answers are 1. Santana, 2. Gallardo, 3. Lilly, and 4. Wainwright. Lilly’s addition to the team was simply because no one else on the Cubs stood out enough, and since every team has to have one player on the roster, I’ll let it pass. But other Adam Wainwrightthan wins, Gallardo has outpitched Santana throughout the year. Same goes for Wainwright, who has been a model of consistency for a Cardinals team that is in first in the NL Central and hosting the All-Star Game. Name recognition had to factor into Santana’s selection.

The NL team is very similar to the Cubs; they haven’t won a game in 12 years, continue to field better players each year, and every time I look at the rosters I keep thinking, “this could be the year.” Then I come back to reality and realize the AL has more money, and subsequently better overall players. Whatever the results may be, the selection process itself needs to be changed in some way. But unless there’s a big scandal, odds are that Selig will continue tooting the ratings and record attendance horn until he sells every used car in his lot.