No matter who is selected for the MLB All-Star Game, there will always be people complaining that their player should have been taken instead of somebody else. There will always be snubs.
But it's about time that the process for picking players is changed once and for all.
This year, three obvious choices have been left off the team, namely starting pitchers Johnny Cueto of the Cincinnati Reds, Ryan Vogelsong of the San Francisco Giants and James McDonald of the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Why are these three guys so deserving? They rank first, second and third in ERA in the National League, that's why.
So how in the world did the three guys with the league's best ERAs get snubbed? Simple. For one, the process is way too subjective. The manager of the All-Star team is judge, jury and executioner when it comes to pitchers.
This is not to say that this situation is all Tony LaRussa's fault. But he is not without blame, either. LaRussa obviously was prejudiced against Cueto, based on a fight between his St. Louis Cardinals and Cueto's Cincinnati Reds last season. There could be no other excuse for not picking Cueto.
LaRussa said, according to Rick Hummel of The St. Louis Post Dispatch, that he didn't select Cueto because he was due to pitch on Sunday prior to the game. While that's all fine and good, it's an honor to be at least selected. LaRussa owed Cueto that distinction for his outstanding first half of work.
Second—and what is the biggest problem of all—one player has to be selected from every team in the league.
I understand why Major League Baseball does this. It gives the fans of every team a reason to watch the game and improves TV ratings.
But it's about time that rule is changed.
Now, the All-Star Game is supposed to "count." The winning league has home field advantage in the World Series. The best players in each league should be on the team.
This year there were some starters picked who have not had as good of seasons as the three I mentioned.
One is Philadelphia Phillies lefty Cole Hamels. Hamels has a record of 10-4 and an ERA of 3.20. That's not even close to the numbers that Cueto, Vogelson and McDonald have had, with ERAs of 2.35, 2.36 and 2.37.
Same situation with Lance Lynn of the Cardinals (interestingly enough) with an ERA of 3.41, over a run higher than McDonald's, and the Arizona Diamondbacks' Wade Miley, who is at 3.04.
Now, granted, all of those players have had good first halves and may have been replacements for pitchers who either work on Sunday or are injured, but they should not have been chosen from the get-go.
The time has come to use some kind of statistical analysis methodology to pick the pitchers for the All-Star game, and for that matter, all of the positions. With all of the advanced statistics and computer technology available now, it shouldn't be hard to do.
As the selection of San Francisco Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval showed, the fans are not doing a good job either. There is way too much ballot-stuffing under the current system. Hey, I'm a Giants fan, but even I know that David Wright deserved to start.
If they do come out with a mechanized way to pick the All-Star team, will it stop the bitching? No. But at least the selections will be done on an even playing field, and more times than not, the best players in the game will get in.