All-Star thoughts from Busch Stadium
Well, I’m here at Busch Stadium covering the Futures Game and it’s raining here at 1:30 PM CT and looks like it may not stop for a while, so I thought I’d share some random thoughts…
Haven’t seen enough of the Futures Game to really comment on any of the players at this point, but because of my “real” job I get to cover all of the festivities here I really don’t mind the break. Gives me a chance to write a little…
* I pick on teams like the Pirates and Royals a lot because, well, they deserve it. What in the world do the Royals want with SS Yuniesky Betancourt and why would they give up a decent 6’6″, 22 year-old right hander like Dan Cortes for a .700 OPS (career .693, FYI) shortstop who doesn’t usually play like he gives damn? Look, I understand that Tony Pena’s crappy and that Mike Aviles may or may not be the long term answer, but Betancourt? Ugh. That’s how you stay at the back of the pack.
* What were the Mets and Braves thinking on that Jeff Francouer/Ryan Church deal? How does that help either club to the point that the deal was worth doing? I guess I understand a bit from the Braves perspective because they get a guy who can at least be useful for the short term while giving up a guy who clearly doesn’t have any clue what he’s doing, but Church has always struck me as being more of a 4th OF than a starter. I guess the Mets think they can get something out of Francouer’s immense physical talent, but again I don’t see how it helps them this year as they battle through injuries to stay in contention. If these teams were in different divisions – or different leagues – I think I’d understand it a little more but it’s a bit risky to make deals like that with teams you’re directly competing with. They’re only 2 1/2 gamesÂ apart in the division as I type this.
* What’s with the man crush everyone on TV seems to have on Dustin Pedroia. Before I say what I’ve gotta say, allow me to make one thing very clear: I really, really like Pedroia as a player. I love his style, his attitude and his performance. All that said, the way people gush over him you’d think he was Ian Kinsler or something. This guy wasn’t even the MVP of his own team last year (Kevin Youkilis was), yet he gets the AL MVP because people can’t stop slobbering over him. We get it, he’s an lovable overachiever. I love that. It just doesn’t make him the best second baseman in the game, or the most valuable player or anything like that. My God, if Ian Kinsler played for the Red Sox someone would start The Church of Ian Kinsler of Latter Day Sawx.
* Joe Maddon picks Carlos Pena to replace Pedroia on the AL All-Star roster after Pedroia bows out to be with his wife who is having complications with her pregnancy? Jeez, talk about “homerin'” it up. What about Kinsler? What about Cano? Now Aaron Hill is the only 2B on the team and all because they wanted someone (Pena) to take part in the Home Run Derby? Honestly, that just sucks.
We’re supposed to buy this “All-Star Game counts” b.s. and each team carries four freakin’ first basemen? What kind of “real game” has 8 first basemen? Stupid, stupid, stupid. How do you tell the world that the stinkin’ game counts and then turn around and pick players based on their willingness to participate in the home run derby?
Can we just go back to the whole thing being a fun exhibition again, please?
* By the way, all my best to Pedroia and his wife. She’s 7-months pregnant and dealing with some complications, which is why he’s skipping the All-Star Game. As a father, nothing is scarier than concerns about your children. Born or “on the way.”
That’s all for now…
Kevin Wheeler is the host of Sports Open Line (M-F 7-9 PM ET) on News Radio 1120, KMOX in St. Louis (www.kmox.com) and he is a baseball instructor with All-Star Performance (www.all-starperformance.net) and the St. Louis Gamers (www.stlgamers.net). You can reach him via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org