Kevin Youkilis was a few thousand votes away from being the starter at first base for the American League. Jason Bay led the outfield in votes, Boston had the most players selected to the All—Star roster by the fans.
So how exactly is it that the five Red Sox that went to the All—Star game had a total of three at—bats, one inning pitched, and four innings in the field?
Tampa Bay, who did not have anyone selected to start, ended up with three players playing a total of nine innings with five at—bats.
That couldn't have anything to do with the fact that Joe Maddon, the manager of the Tampa Bay Rays, was manging the AL All—Stars and the Red Sox are 6.5 games ahead of the Rays in the AL East standings, right?
I don't think so.
Last year's epic 15—inning affair, managed by Terry Francona, seemed much more evenly distributed. The starters got one, maybe two times up to the plate, and everyone that could get into the game got playing time.
The game being 15 innings long might have had something to do with it, but the point stands. Terry Francona gave every single All—Star their chance to shine, whether they were a Ray, a Yankee, or an Athletic. It didn't matter; these guys were there to be exhibited, so everyone should get their shot on the field and at the plate.
The AL won. Congratulations. Whatever.
This year's game was a huge disappointment. It was boring, the changes were hard to keep up with because certain players were replaced, while others moved all around the field to make sure they weren't replaced.
I can't complain too much about the pitching; that was handled fine, with the exception of Wakefield. His selection was one of the feel—good stories of this All—Star Game and he doesn't even get to pitch?
Come on! He's 42 and was selected to his first ever All—Star team. Fun fact: there are only two pitchers in the American league with 11 wins. Both made the All—Star roster, neither made it into the game. Beckett didn't play because he just pitched, so that was understandable, but not putting Tim Wakefield in the game?
Maybe I didn't enjoy the game as much because the Red Sox were being pulled away from the spotlight as fast as possible by Maddon. Maybe it was because there were no homers and a lot of cheap hits that are just too ordinary.
I have to wonder; had Dustin Pedroia played, would he have stayed in the game as long as non—starter Carl Crawford or Mark Teixeira?
Judging from last night, I'd say no.
I'm beginning to wonder if the only reason Beckett and Wakefield made the team was that Maddon couldn't find a legitimate reason to exclude them from the roster. His bias would have been too obvious had he left the two 11—game winners off the roster in favor of guys in different uniforms with 10 wins or less.
Honestly, this game doesn't mean much to me personally, but the pride people take in playing in this game deserves more respect than that. It deserves more than a manager playing favorites.
I get that having the pitcher batting makes things difficult, but to not even put Kevin Youkilis, arguably one of the best defensive first basemen in the league, on the field for even one inning is beyond disrespectful to his talent and to the fans.
At the end of the game, I switched sides. I started rooting for the National League, because there was no one left on the field for the American League that I gave a rat's you—know—what for.
I might have been more inclined to stick with my league of choice had I felt it was managed correctly.
But last night, I would have gladly traded home field advantage if it meant that Joe Maddon would lose that game.