To be honest, I could care less whether or not Manny Ramirez participates in the All-Star festivities if he is voted in by fans. Frankly, while #99 bring up another bag of worms, this issue does not lie with the players but with the fans. Frankly, I am embarrassed at the current leaders for the All-Star game.
Seemingly, being a MLB All-Star lately has shifted from production on the field to popularity. Luckily the game is in a National League park or there is a good chance that David Ortiz would be the starting DH.
Below I review the current leaders and who should be leading their respective category.
N.L. -- Albert Pujols currently leads this category by roughly 300,000 votes and rightfully so. Pujols is basically a machine, and should be lock for as long as he stays healthy. The problem here is with the way the rest of the list shakes out.
Currently, Ryan Howard ranks second among votes followed by Prince Fielder and Adrian Gonzalez. While Howard's power numbers are still respectable, his numbers take a back seat to both Fielder and Gonzalez. Nonetheless, the former MVP is getting the popular vote.
A.L.-- Leading the way here is Kevin Youkilis. While you cannot discredit Youk's all around numbers, Morneau's numbers deserve the overwhelming nod. He has better numbers in all categories except batting average where he is .020 off.
The biggest joke he is the No. 5 spot on this list in Texas first baseman Chris Davis. Currently, Davis is hammering the ball at a .199 clip (please sense sarcasm). While 12 of his 38 hits are round tripper, please realize that he ranks seventh amongst AL first baseman in homers and second to last in batting average saved only by David Ortiz.
C'mon fans, even Rangers fans, you're better than that!
N.L. -- Currently, Chase Utley is leading by 1 million votes over Orlando Hudson. Despite Hudson's having a better batting average and more doubles and triples, voters keep proving that they love the long ball.
The fun does not stop here though. Rickie Weeks is third on this list despite being out for the season with a wrist injury. Skip Schumaker and Brandon Phillips, both under .300 in BA, round out the top five. Please, someone watch a Pirates game and give Freddy Sanchez the respect he deserves.
A.L. -- A decent race here between Ian Kinsler and Dustin Pedroia. Currently, Kinsler holds the lead in a race that I believe Red Sox nation will win for Pedroia. Not a bad choice with Pedroia as he is leading all AL players in this category in batting average.
Kinsler, the current leader, is batting .274 which puts him eighth in this category. Given the love for the long ball, the winner in this category SHOULD be Aaron Hill who is batting .310 with 13 long balls and 41 RBI's. Lets get him some votes, eh?
N.L. -- Currently, David Wright leads by nearly 200,000 votes. In a thin category, hard to argue with Wright who is bating .345! Ryan Zimmerman and Chipper Jones are a close 2nd and 3rd respectively.
My pick is Zimmerman. He is batting .320 with 11 homers and 39 RBI. He also has a 30+ game hitting streak this season and gives the 11 fans who show up to National's games something to watch.
A.L. -- A hefty hooray to fans here. The best voting in this years polls is here with Evan Longoria pounding Michael Young. In comparison, Young leads in average and in hits, Longoria in Hrs and RBI. While Longoria plays gold glove defense all the time, some credit should go to Young for switching positions again and playing solid defense.
Of course in the majors you have to have one laugher and Alex Rodriguez, 3rd currently here, has not even played enough games to qualify yet. Even if he did, his .248 average would not quite cut it.
N.L. -- Uch...all that is wrong with All-Star voting is demonstrated here where Jimmy Rollins somehow leads this category with a .222 batting average. Really? Will there be a starter this year who cannot manager one hit in every four at bats? I would prefer to not put anyone out there than consider Rollins an All-Star this year.
As if that is not bad enough, J.J. Hardy and Jose Reyes both are ranked in the top five in votes despite neither batting .280. Miguel Tejada is batting over .100 points better than Rollins and has double the home runs. Maybe we should put him in the Hall of Fame if we are considering Rollins an All-Star.
If you are tentative in voting Tejada in amid his positive test for steroids, vote for Hanley Ramirez who is having another stellar year and is currently second in voting.
A.L -- Derek Jeter seems to be on his way to another All-Star game and not a bad pick here. Compared to his NL counterparts, Jeter is a breath of fresh air. But, can we really not pick a player who is hitting .373 even if he is Jason Bartlett?
Perhaps the best player no one has heard of, Bartlett's number lack only in a category in which he has no control, games played. How can Joe Maddon keep him out? While I love Jeter not only because of the way he plays, but the way he handles himself especially in New York, I would love to see Bartlett rewarded for playing great baseball.
N.L. -- With few viable good options, Yadier Molina holds a slight lead over Brian McCann. At. .264, Molina's only saving grace is his stellar defense. However, it is scary to think what his stats would look like if Pujols was not in that lineup.
McCann is my choice with strong offensive numbers, he has also lifted his game defensively. Since both players are likely All-Stars, I don't have a problem giving Molina the nod in his home park.
A.L. -- Sadly, only two of the top five leaders amongst A.L. catchers have played enough games to be considered qualified starters according to Yahoo.com, (Jason Varitek and Victor Martinez) Joe Mauer leads this category and rightfully so.
Mauer missed about 20 games but has come back with a vengeance batting .413 with 12 dingers and 35 RBI. He leads all catchers in Average and Homers and trails only Martinez by six runs batted in. He is a true triple crown threat if he stays healthy.
Jason Varitek is second in voting followed closely by Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Really? If Victor Martinez does not surpass these two shmos it will be a tragedy. Martinez is the only other catcher making a name for himself. With Salty and 'Tek both batting in the low .240s, lets do the right thing here okay?
N.L. -- Ibanez, Braun, and Beltran lead the way here with Soriano hot on their trails. While I don't mind the leaders, Soriano should only be discussed with these guys in terms of long balls and long contracts. He is over-hyped and over-paid and should be stripped of all votes.
But, it does not get prettier, Manny Ramirez sits in the five spot despite only playing in 27 games and currently being suspended for using steroids. Yes, I said it, he used steroids, no other reason to use a female fertility drug.
While Ramirez has good numbers in those games played, if he is being voted so highly based on his performance and not his dred locks, (sarcasm again) look for speedster Andrew McCutchen and Jake Fox to be locks as backups in the outfield.
With so many great players in the outfield, do we really need to vote in players who are currently suspended for cheating?
A.L. -- If you thought the NL was bad, please skip the following. Jason Bay leads, followed by Josh Hamilton, Ichiro, and Ken Griffey Jr.! WOW! Jason Bay is a decent pick with big numbers in terms of power, but having one of his worst years in batting average.
Ichiro is the best pick of all here, but that does not say much. Josh Hamilton is batting .240 and may be out for three months! His power numbers are absent and shouldnt even be on the ballot, but that is not the worst!
Ken Griffey Jr. is fourth! While almost breaking my mouse scrolling down to find Griffey's stats, I saw names like Rajai Davis and Lou Montanez all with averages in the .213 neighborhood.
Just because Griffey is back in Seattle where he broke records, we do not have to break records by voting JR. into the All-Star game with a .213 average!
A pair of young Adams, Jones and Lind, must make it to St. Louis this year. They both have great numbers and trail only Ichiro in batting average.
Based on this years current numbers, I feel like the fans have been taking banned substances thus leading to skewed numbers. To all who are blessed to read this article, please, please spread the word: Look at statistics prior to punching those ballots.
Perhaps all MLB stadiums should have scrolling marquees with league leaders for fans who fill out their ballots at the stadiums.
In the words of Dave Chapelle's Rick James character, "Cocaine is a hell of a drug!" So lets stay away from the drugs and re-establish the summer classic for what it was intended.