For the first time since 2009, the Atlanta Braves—correction, the first-place Atlanta Braves—will have only one player representing the franchise at the All-Star Game.
Most would say that a first-place club only having one All-Star is a bit surprising. The players who occupy Atlanta's clubhouse think it's outrageous, as they vented to David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution—and none more fervently than starter Tim Hudson:
I think it’s B.S. I mean, it’s pretty obvious what players certain media outlets want to have plugged in. It’s pretty obvious. You have young, exciting players—and they are that. I’m not saying they don’t deserve to have the opportunity to be in there, but these guys that are competing with them to get these last couple of spots, they’re just as deserving.
Hudson is of course referring to Los Angeles Dodgers rookie phenom Yasiel Puig and the apparent attempt on ESPN's behalf to ensure that the Cuban sensation gets selected over the other players on the ballot, including Atlanta's Freddie Freeman.
On ESPN.com’s website Sunday, a link to the Final Vote story initially urged fans to “Vote him in” referring to Puig, and later said, “He belongs.”
Atlanta second baseman Dan Uggla also let his thoughts be known:
Nobody has a chance (against Puig) for that spot. He’s been getting covered since he broke in. And he should be getting covered; he’s an exciting story. But should he make the All-Star team? No, not this year. But he’s going to make it. Which sucks for Freddie and other (Final Vote) guys, because they’ve been doing it the whole year.
Whether Puig deserves to be on the All-Star team has been one of the great debates of the 2013 season, but Hudson and Uggla both raise a valid point: Puig has been the hottest thing in baseball over the last month—does he really need a major media outlet openly campaigning for votes on his behalf?
But the Final Vote wasn't Hudson's only gripe:
It’s not fair. The whole fan vote thing, I think is obnoxious. I mean, the starting players in the All-Star game are determined by fans who can plug any players they want in there, and it determines home-field advantage for the World Series. The World Series!
It’s not fair. At all.
While some fans may take offense to Hudson's comments about the fan voting, those folks are missing the point.
The veteran hurler is taking a direct shot at commissioner Bud Selig's insane idea to tie home-field advantage in the World Series to the results of what is supposed to be an exhibition—and the player's union's equally insane decision to agree to the change.
You can't really disagree with Hudson on this one—especially after last year's Midsummer Classic was won on the back of San Francisco's Melky Cabrera, who, roughly a month later, was suspended for PEDs.
While Cabrera didn't factor into San Francisco's remarkable postseason run, you can't sit there with a straight face and say that home field advantage didn't play a part in the team capturing its second World Series crown in three years.
Is NBC Sports' Craig Calcaterra correct that this is merely a case of sour grapes by Hudson and his teammates?
If Evan Gattis wasn't hurt and was still the flavor of the month, I feel like Tim Hudson would be OK with fan voting. http://t.co/sPMZ88eja8— Craig Calcaterra (@craigcalcaterra) July 8, 2013
Sure, having more than one player named to the team might have led to comments that weren't quite as harsh, but it's fair to say that Hudson would be equally as "OK" with fan voting if the game was not tied to the most important series of the entire baseball season.
Were Hudson's and Uggla's comments out of line?
Lest we forget that Hudson and company have as good a chance at reaching the World Series as any of the contending clubs in the National League do—and more of a chance than teams like Milwaukee and New York, both which are sending two players to this year's Midsummer Classic.
Between having a major media outlet openly campaign for Yasiel Puig (albeit for a short period of time) and the still foolish decision to have home-field advantage in the World Series go to the league that wins the All-Star Game, you really can't take umbrage with anything that the pair of former All-Stars said.