Fans lose control once the MLB All-Star Game actually beings.
While it is a nice gesture to let the fans influence who participates—a great aspect of the sport's event, depending on who is asked—the players themselves take back control for real in the game itself.
So while fans may want to see certain players dominate with home-field-advantage in the World Series on the line at the Midsummer Classic, there are always a few who ruin all the fun.
This year, those names include a newcomer, a legend and more. Who said parity isn't alive in today's MLB?
|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|
Source: MLB.com. *Denotes starter.
The Stars Who Will Steal the Show
It sounds rather unfair, but Adam Jones just has to be himself to steal the show at the 2014 iteration of the Midsummer Classic.
Jones, perhaps the most well-rounded player in baseball today, is forcefully bucking the notion that players on a team such as the Baltimore Orioles cannot do well in the fan voting, as explained by Eduardo A. Encina of The Baltimore Sun:
Jones, who will start for the second straight year and make his third consecutive All-Star Game appearance, enjoyed a late surge in the fan voting, jumping from fifth among outfielders to earn the third and final starting outfield spot. He passed the Oakland Athletics’ Yoenis Cespedes and the Toronto Blue Jays’ Melky Cabrera in the final days of voting. Jones, who is hitting .310 with 16 homers and 53 RBIs, edged Cespedes by 73,000 votes.
Beating out the likes of a player such as Yoenis Cespedes is no fluke, and it shows Jones' track record with the fans is already superb at the age of 28. The same narrative can be applied to the gaudy statistics he has posted in recent years to get him to this point:
A strong situational hitter with great power—he'll also participate in the Home Run Derby—Jones is set to put on a show in front of a globe that is clearly by the minute becoming more aware of what a talent he is.
He may only see the plate two or three times during the proceedings, but that's all he needs at this point to make his mark given his skill and prior experience at the festivities.
The Oakland Athletics, the best team in baseball, lead the league with six All-Star selections, and one of their first-timers may rob everyone of glory and become a household name Tuesday.
This, of course, refers to the elite Josh Donaldson, who has steadily seen his numbers rise each year and even took it to another level this season by breaking franchise records, as MLB Stat of the Day explains:
A monster at the plate overall, Donaldson will also partake in the Home Run Derby and wants to steal the show there, too.
"It's just one of those things that's pretty fun," Donaldson said, via Steve Kroner of the San Francisco Chronicle. "In BP, I like to hit homers, too. It's just going to be another round of batting practice - except with a lot more people watching."
But Donaldson can do more than hit. His elite play in the field will make him a standout by game's end, as one can glean from this moment captured by MLB Fan Cave:
Like Jones, Donaldson is an elite all-around talent who is only improving each year. While a bit behind Jones' trajectory, he also will put on a show in a contest that routinely gives the spotlight to those lesser-known names (for the time being).
A send-off of epic proportions is in the cards.
Derek Jeter, aged 40, will play in his final Midsummer Classic and receive a send-off similar to those earned by legends like Mariano Rivera.
Sure, Erick Aybar and Alexei Ramirez have to take a backseat this year in the wake of a legend, but it's what the fans want. After all, Jeter is more popular than ever in what is his victory lap—he has the No. 1 selling jersey in baseball, per ESPN's Darren Rovell.
For Jeter, the momentous occasion is simply the icing on a spectacular career that ensures a spot on the 2020 Hall of Fame ballot. Numbers Never Lie and ESPN Stats & Info provide a look at his track record at the All-Star Game:
Derek Jeter will join Cal Ripken, Jr. as the only players to start an All-Star Game at shortstop after turning 40 years old.— Numbers Never Lie (@ESPN_Numbers) July 7, 2014
This will be Derek Jeter's 9th All-Star Game start. Only Mickey Mantle (13) and Yogi Berra (11) have more as Yankees— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 6, 2014
Believe it or not, Jeter can still play, too. He recently recorded hit No. 3,400 and bats better than .270 on the year.
We won't know what to expect in terms of what the other players have planned, but expect nothing but a jaw-dropping send-off capped off by a strong performance from Jeter.