CC Sabathia of the New York Yankees is a perennial Cy Young Award candidate, 20-game winner and this year was the first pitcher to reach the 10-win mark. CC was a big part of the reason the Yankees won the 2009 World Series, and was instrumental in the playoff runs for the Indians and the Brewers. He’s "all that" and more, but for 2011 he won’t be called an All-Star.
Ron Washington is the AL manager and of course he’s partial to C.J. Wilson over CC. Wilson is a fine young pitcher and he’s the ace of the Texas Rangers staff; he just isn’t what you’d expect from an All-Star. His eight wins put him in a 27-person tie for 16th on the MLB leaders list, and his ERA has him outside of the top 25 starting pitchers.
Yankees fans will still cry about CC being snubbed when Jeter is still starting at SS over names like Asdrubal Cabrera and Jhonny Peralta, who didn’t even make the club. Johnny’s .311 average, 14 home runs and .902 OPS far exceed Derek’s totals of .260, two and .649.
There’s far more that goes into the All-Star game than just stats.
Between having representation from all 30 MLB teams and allowing the fans to choose all 16 starters and two of the bench players, it’s a game very much for the fans. It’s a display of the fans’ favorite players, regardless of how well they’re doing during the season. Whether or not Michael Cuddyer was one of the top seven outfielders in the AL, Minnesota Twins fans are still going to watch the All-Star game to watch him play.
There would be nothing wrong with that, except for the emphasis that people put on the players who compete in the event and those who don’t.
Do the math; there are far more than just 34 players in each league having All-Star caliber seasons. We notice it right now, but at the end of the day when a career is tallied we probably won’t go that far in depth. All we’ll see is that Derek Jeter was the AL’s All-Star starting shortstop, and Jhonny Peralta didn’t even get the invite. Paul Konerko is having a career year with 21 home runs and an OPS of .954 and he isn’t going either.
The sad thing is that there is no way of recognizing these players. The rankings of the top MLB players every season by sportswriters are just as hotly debated, and at the end of the day they count for nothing.
Hall of Fame plaques might still list All-Star appearances as part of the credentials, but the recognition for players is part of a broken system. Watch the game, enjoy the game and even let the game count. It’s just a shame to see participation in a spectacle be a determining factor on a player’s career.