Of all the all-star games in sports, the MLB's version is definitely the coolest. Now, it has nothing to do with the game deciding which league gets home-field advantage in the World Series. That's one of the more absurd things in sports.
No, the MLB All-Star Game just has so much history and prestige. It has amazing matchups between the top pitchers and hitters you rarely get to see. The game really signals the beginning of the most exciting stretch of the season, as the playoff contenders start jockeying for position.
It's a rite of summer, no doubt.
With the game just a few days away, the rosters and Final Vote were announced on Sunday night. Below, we'll take a look at both and break down some of the bigger snubs, too.
|American League||National League|
|Salvador Perez, C, Kansas City Royals*||Yadier Molina, C, St. Louis Cardinals*|
|Miguel Cabrera, 1B, Detroit Tigers*||Paul Goldschmidt, 1B, Arizona Diamondbacks*|
|Robinson Cano, 2B, Seattle Mariners*||Chase Utley, 2B, Philadelphia Phillies*|
|Derek Jeter, SS, New York Yankees*||Troy Tulowitzki, SS, Colorado Rockies*|
|Josh Donaldson, 3B, Oakland Athletics*||Aramis Ramirez, 3B, Milwaukee Brewers*|
|Mike Trout, OF, Los Angeles Angels*||Andrew McCutchen, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates*|
|Jose Bautista, OF, Toronto Blue Jays*||Carlos Gomez, OF, Milwaukee Brewers*|
|Adam Jones, OF, Baltimore Orioles*||Yasiel Puig, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers*|
|Nelson Cruz, DH, Baltimore Orioles*||Giancarlo Stanton, DH, Miami Marlins*|
|AL Reserves||NL Reserves|
|Derek Norris, C, Oakland Athletics||Jonathan Lucroy, C, Brewers|
|Kurt Suzuki, C, Minnesota Twins||Devin Mesoraco, C, Cincinnati Reds|
|Jose Abreu, 1B, Chicago White Sox||Freddie Freeman, 1B, Atlanta Braves|
|Victor Martinez, 1B, Detroit Tigers||Dee Gordon, 2B, Los Angeles Dodgers|
|Edwin Encarnacion, 1B, Toronto Blue Jays||Daniel Murphy, 2B, New York Mets|
|Brandon Moss, 1B/OF, Oakland Athletics||Starlin Castro, SS, Chicago Cubs|
|Jose Altuve, 2B, Houston Astros||Todd Frazier, 3B, Cincinnati Reds|
|Alexei Ramirez, SS, Chicago White Sox||Matt Carpenter, 3B, St. Louis Cardinals|
|Adrian Beltre, 3B, Texas Rangers||Josh Harrison, IF/OF, Pittsburgh Pirates|
|Yoenis Cespedes, OF, Oakland Athletics||Charlie Blackmon, OF, Colorado Rockies|
|Alex Gordon, OF, Kansas City Royals||Hunter Pence, OF, San Francisco Giants|
|Michael Brantley, OF, Cleveland Indians|
|AL Pitchers||NL Pitchers|
|Yu Darvish, RHP, Texas Rangers||Johnny Cueto, RHP, Cincinnati Reds|
|Max Scherzer, RHP, Detroit Tigers||Clayton Kershaw, LHP, Los Angeles Dodgers|
|Felix Hernandez, RHP, Seattle Mariners||Zack Greinke, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers|
|Masahiro Tanaka, RHP, New York Yankees||Madison Bumgarner, LHP, San Francisco Giants|
|Jon Lester, LHP, Boston Red Sox||Adam Wainwright, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals|
|David Price, LHP, Tampa Bay Rays||Tyson Ross, RHP, San Diego Padres|
|Scott Kazmir, LHP, Oakland Athletics||Jordan Zimmermann, RHP, Washington Nationals|
|Mark Buehrle, LHP, Toronto Blue Jays||Julio Teheran, RHP, Atlanta Braves|
|Sean Doolittle, LHP, Oakland Athletics||Craig Kimbrel, RHP Atlanta Braves|
|Greg Holland, RHP, Kansas City Royals||Aroldis Chapman, LHP, Cincinnati Reds|
|Glen Perkins, LHP, Minnesota Twins||Francisco Rodriguez, RHP, Milwaukee Brewers|
|Dellin Betances, RHP, New York Yankees||Tony Watson, LHP, Pittsburgh Pirates|
|Pat Neshek, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals||Pat Neshek, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals|
Source: MLB on Twitter. *Denotes starter
The Final Vote and Biggest Snubs
In any all-star game, you're going to have snubs. Often, big snubs. But in the MLB All-Star Game, those snubs have one last chance to make the roster, as fans can vote in one last player from the National League and American League in the Final Vote. Here are this year's selections, via the MLB on Twitter:
You could make the argument that Chris Sale is the biggest snub on the list. The ace for the Chicago White Sox is 8-1 with a 2.16 ERA, 0.86 WHIP and 96 strikeouts in 87.1 innings pitched. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports puts into perspective just how surprising Sale's exclusion from the roster was:
Clayton Kershaw: 87.1 IP, 13 starts, 10-2, 192 ERA+, NL All-Star. Chris Sale: 87.1 IP, 13 starts, 8-1, 188 ERA+, not an AL All-Star.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) July 6, 2014
Sale will be the favorite in the American League voting, but he'll face stiff competition.
Corey Kluber of the Cleveland Indians is 8-6 with a 2.86 ERA, 1.18 WHIP and 137 strikeouts in 125.2 innings pitched. Rick Porcello of the Detroit Tigers is 11-4 with a 3.33 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and 62 strikeouts in 108 innings pitched. Garrett Richards of the Los Angeles Angels is 10-2 with a 2.71 ERA, 1.07 WHIP and 119 strikeouts in 116.1 innings pitched.
And rounding out the pitchers is Houston Astros hurler Dallas Keuchel, currently 8-5 with a 3.06 ERA, 1.18 WHIP and 84 strikeouts in 108.2 innings.
Of that group, one would guess it will come down to Sale and Kluber. Sale probably deserves to earn the spot—if he had pitched as many innings as Kluber has, his numbers would likely be absurd—but the fun part of the Final Vote is fanbases stuffing the ballots, so to speak, to get their guy in.
Mike Trout has different ideas about who should get in:
Very honored to be picked to represent the American League in the All-Star Game.Thank you team and fans for your support. #Angels#VoteGRich— Mike Trout (@Trouty20) July 7, 2014
He is my roommate in Cali. Let's make him my roommate in Minnesota!!!!#VoteGRich— Mike Trout (@Trouty20) July 7, 2014
Can't blame a man for supporting his teammate.
While the AL Final Vote was all about the pitchers, the NL was all about the position players. Let's quickly compare their stats:
|Anthony Rizzo||Chicago Cubs||.276||56||17||45||2|
|Anthony Rendon||Washington Nationals||.282||60||12||50||8|
|Casey McGehee||Miami Marlins||.320||34||1||53||1|
|Justin Morneau||Colorado Rockies||.316||36||13||59||0|
|Justin Upton||Atlanta Braves||.273||43||17||50||7|
Good luck figuring out which player in that group is most worthy. Of course, if you don't mind voting for sentimental reasons, Justin Morneau should probably be your pick, as Jon Morosi of Fox Sports noted:
Just saying: An All-Star ovation for Justin Morneau in Minneapolis would be one of the most emotional moments of the entire night.— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) July 7, 2014
It's hard to argue with that. And it's not as though Morneau's numbers don't back up his credibility as the pick—the man is having a very nice year.
One would imagine the voting will come down to Morneau, Anthony Rendon and Anthony Rizzo. Each are more than deserving.
While no one ever wants to begrudge a player his spot on an all-star roster, you could very easily see how all five of the NL Final Vote players will feel a bit snubbed, especially when a player like Josh Harrison of the Pittsburgh Pirates was taken ahead of them.
Yes, Harrison is having a solid year, hitting .298 with five home runs, 25 RBI, 33 runs scored and nine stolen bases. Yes, he can play multiple positions and is generally an excellent fielder. In a game that actually and inconceivably means something, his selection is justified.
But yes, the five players left out for him also have the right to feel miffed.