It is without argument Red Sox first baseman Kevin Youkilis should be on the American League All-Star team when the game takes place on Tuesday night in Anaheim.
But Youk was snubbed for the third time earlier today and will find himself watching the game at home on his couch instead of lacing ‘em up with his fellow American Leaguers.
First came his omission by the fans, coaches, and MLB officials when they selected the original team.
Then came Red Sox Nation’s inability to get him into the game during MLB’s Final Vote, as the hated new York Yankees and Nick Swisher begged, borrowed, and tweeted to get him elected at Youkilis' expense in the closest Final Vote in the history of the promotion.
And now today, we learn that Minnesota Twins first baseman Justin Morneau will miss the game as a result of a concussion he suffered late last week, and that New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi pulled a bone-headed move by replacing Morneau with Chicago first baseman Paul Konerko instead of Youkilis.
Girardi swears he wasn’t motivated by the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry, but I don’t buy his story. And if the AL loses the game because of Girardi’s ill-considered decision, he should be hanged in effigy from the grandstands of all of home ballparks of the American League contenders—including Yankee Stadium.
Giardi told reporters, "It’s a hard choice to make. I could have taken (Konerko) or Youkilis. Konerko’s hitting slightly higher, has a couple more home runs and couple more RBI. I went with Konerko. They both deserve to be there; that’s the problem with this."
No, IMO Joe, the problem with this is that you were gutless and didn’t want to face potentially irate Yankees fans after putting a member of the Red Sox on the team. In the process, you have lessened the American League's chances of winning.
Casual analysis of the player’s stats shows that the pick can be considered a toss up, and therefore provides marginal support for Girardi’s explanation, or should I say, his rationalization.
Konerko is hitting .299, with a .380 OBP, .559 slugging percentage, 20 home runs, 62 RBI and zero SB. Youkilis is hitting .293, with a .408 OBP, .579 slugging percentage, 18 home runs, 57 RBI and three SB.
However, that is not where the analysis ends, although Girardi would have you believe that is where it did end.
Maybe we’ll find out the Red Sox or Youkilis actually begged off on heading to the game in consideration of his tender ankle, but I tend to doubt that. The likely truth is Girardi didn’t pick Youkilis because he wears a Red Sox uniform.
Sorry, Yankees fans, I don’t give a hoot whether you like my opinion or not—this decision stinks of pettiness and rivalry. And, it potentially harms the AL champion, which may be either your team or my team.
Look, Konerko does not belong on the team at Youkilis’ expense. Period.
I will grant you he got off to a red-hot start this season—he hit .297, with 11 HR and 21 RBI in April (leading the league in homers at the time)—but, he has hit just nine homers since then, and hasn’t hit a home run in the month of July.
The All-Star Game is played in July!
Youkilis, on the other hand, started the season slowly, hitting only .270, with three home runs and 12 RBI in April. He has hit .302 since then, with 15 home runs and 45 RBI and has three home runs in July.
If those are the stats Girardi wants to use, then Youkilis has been better than Konerko in each and every one of them since April. And when the other major stats are three apiece, then the guys who has performed over the longer period deserved the All-Star designation.
And if you are a devotee of advanced stats, Konerko has a so-so 2.0 WAR, while Youkilis has a 3.4 WAR.
Girardi said, "I’m looking at the numbers, the numbers are close and one guy’s numbers are a little bit better. I took the guy whose numbers are a little bit better."
Umm, Joe, no you didn't!
Typical New York BS. I hate the bloody Yankees!!