MLB All-Star Game 2011: AL East vs National League All-Stars

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MLB All-Star Game 2011: AL East vs National League All-Stars
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
Alex Avila will likely not start the All-Star Game

Two players for you: Alex Avila and Asdrubal Cabrera.

Cabrera is one of the best shortstops in the league, anchoring the team that began the season as a surprise contender, driving in 49, stealing 12 bags and batting .296 with 13 dingers. Avila is batting .303 and has driven in 46 with 10 dingers.

Yet neither of these people are going to start  In their place will likely be two Yankees.

Derek Jeter, who has been hurt and wouldn't have even been considered for the team this year or last if he played for anyone but the Yankees or the Red Sox; and Russell Martin, who's batting .230 and whose fantasy stats are largely held up by driving in and being driven in by others in the potent lineup the Yankees have bought for themselves. 

They join a projected lineup that includes no people in the AL Central or AL West (unless you count Verlander, who neither bats nor is selected by fans). 

Heck, Matt Kemp isn't even close to leading the OF in voting...and he is contending for the NL triple crown. 

This once again proves, as Wikipedia puts it, voting is evil. Which is why it should be discontinued. Or, if you have to allow voting, restrict it in some way, such as only including five players from each league (preferably mostly non-Red Sox or Yankees), or dropping a player from the ballot if he has a long-term injury. 

Fortunately for Avila and Cabrera, not starting at their respective positions means that they'll be in when more is on the line. Which brings me to another thing that needs to be changed for the All-Star Game: free substitution.

The right to the World Series Game 7 should not be decided by Omar Infante getting a bloop single in the 15th off Joakim Benoit or some other reliever you've never heard of. If the game is tied after nine, allow the best bats back in for the extra innings (in a REAL baseball game, they'd have never been pulled in the first place). 

When it's 140-140 with a minute left in the fourth, you don't have the NBA All-Star Game decided by second-tier players like David West and Andrew Bogut, do you? So why should baseball be any different?

And do I really need to add NL third base as something that's wrong with this year's All-Star Game? Placido Polanco is scheduled to start, with the prospect of hometown hero Ryan Roberts backing him up. Neither of them crack the top hundred in fantasy rankings…meaning that there are seven AL first basemen (a weak enough category already) who are better than they are. 

Honestly, to make this game more exciting, they should pull Polanco and start Michael Morse or Gaby Sanchez or any other of the almost a dozen NL first baseman who are as good or better than Polanco at third. Yes, I'm well aware that not every first baseman is able to defend third, but people don't watch the All-Star Game for defense—they watch it for dingers. 

So, enjoy your hot dogs, pop open a cold one and watch 13 innings of one of the biggest jokes in baseball aside from the Los Angeles Dodgers.

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