White Hat Sports Headlines

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Star Watch or Whatever Jackson Named it; AL Edition

Aaron Jackson has come up with some good idea's in his time, none of which involve Las Vegas. His best to this point though is his preview of who should make the MLB all-star game. Now I have written on this very site about my disdain for the All-Star games, but with the Red Sox as good as they are now, this is about the only time since 1993 or so in which it means a lot because the winner gets home field in the World Series.
This All-Star game could be legendary, for a few reasons:
1. It's at Yankee Stadium, in the Stadium's final year as it's "Jerry Jones" original version. (I like that term, I may start using that more and more. Like that woman looked like hell, but she pulled a Jerry Jones and now she ain't bad."
B. The Red Sox could have about 5 starters on the team as well as about 3 players making the bench of Red Sox manager Terry Francona. Take that Hank!
3. The David Ortiz Call Your Shot promotion. A lucky fan will get to pick a spot for David Ortiz to hit a home run in the park right before the final round of the Home Run Derby. Recreating perhaps the greatest moment in Yankee history with a Red Sox player in the House that Ruth Built. Priceless.

Without further ado, to the picks.

Catcher. The leader right now is Jason Varitek, and it's hard for me to go against the captain. It's kind of a toss up at this point, but actually I think I am going to go with Joe Mauer at starting catcher. Whenever is a catcher is hitting .335 in late June, I have a rule that they need to be on the All-Star team. Granted he only has two home runs to this point, but that is becoming his game, he is a high average guy and has been handling a really young pitching staff pretty well, keeping the Twins in contention in the Bizzaro American League Central.

The Pick: Joe Mauer

1st Base. Ahh the position that is as near and dear to my heart as my unborn children. The position that I played from Little League to legion Ball, (I was even All-Conference 1st team). This one to me was a no brainer up to about 2 weeks ago when the race completely changed. Two weeks ago I said that it was without question Kevin Youkilis. He hadn't committed an error since Mike Hargrove was the manager of the Seattle Mariners and was in the top 4 in batting average. In the time since then, Youkilis has gone into a little slump (two home runs today, including a game winner, he's trying to influence the judges in this column. Walk off dongs is how you do that too.) The other thing that happened in this time is that Justin Morneau started hitting for power again. He has 14 home runs at this point and has even jumped ahead of Youkilis by a percentage point in batting average. This one is very close, the case for Morneau would never happen because of the fan vote, so Youkilis will get the nod, but to me it's a toss up.

The Pick: Kevin Youkilis

2ND Base. The leader is Dustin Pedroia, and I suspect that he will end up the starter. His BA has gone into a nose dive after getting into an uncharacteristically fast start this season after his Rookie of the Year campaign last year. I feel like Pedroia will get the nod pretty much by default because there aren't any other second basemen that has gotten off to a good start this season. The guy I think that would have given him the greatest push (I feel like Joe Morgan talking about 2ND basemen like this, bare with me), would be Howie Kendrick of the Angels. So far in his career he has been sort of injury riddled and hasn't been able to show what he's been able to do for the entire season. BJ Upton though is the only real viable candidate to oppose the "American Dream" Dustin Pedroia. If there has been a bigger surprise of a bigger feel good story this year it's the Tampa Bay Rays. Upton could make a run at it, but those Rabid Ray fans are pretty much 10 guys from Del Boca Vista and Knobbs from the former WWE Tag Team Champions the Nasty Boys.

The Pick: The American Dream Dustin Pedroia.

Shortstop. This one seems pretty cut and dry that Derek Jeter will be the guy out there. And why wouldn't he be, it's at Yankee Stadium, there aren't that many very good shortstops in the American League now that Miguel Tejada has left for Houston and an E:60 set. Though he is a Yankee, so I cannot give him my full vote of confidence, I must find something that will vanquish the demon. Michael Young! YES! Young has one more home run than Jeter, is hitting two points better than him, does have one less stolen base, but besides Jacoby Ellsbury I don't really care about stolen bases. Young tops him by one percentage point in on base, but the real way to separate these two is slugging percentage. Jeter is resting at a paltry .379 SLG, where as Michael Young is raking at a Ruthian .404 SLG clip. Case closed!

The Pick: Michael Young

3rd Basemen A-Rod. I wish I could argue Mike Lowell, I guess I'll have to do that for Gold Glove when he gets screwed out of that again this year. (By the way he should have won the last two in the American League, I'm just saying.)

The Pick: Alex Rodriguez

Outfield. The leaders right now are Manny Ramirez, Josh Hamilton and Ichiro. I have no problem with the first two. Manny is having another Manny season, Josh Hamilton might the biggest surprise of the season if the Rays aren't. But Ichiro? Really Asia? Ichiro isn't even hitting .300! That's all he does is leg out hits, get his 200 hits and make All-Star teams. He has played great defense in center field, but he is playing on the team with the worst record in Baseball, his manager just got fired. How does it happen that someone starts the All-Star team when his team is the worst in Baseball record wise at the All-Star break? That doesn't fly with me. So who do I pick here? I saved up my "Homer Points" by not taking Varitek for catcher so I could take it here. I know I am going to hear about this one from everyone but die hard Sox fans. My pick for the third starting outfielder is.................JD DREW!!!!!!!! The guy has own the month of June, David Ortiz went down and the guy became the Mickey Mantle clone that many thought he was going to be when he came out of Florida State. Forget the 14 million dollar grand slam, this 2 week period he has had in the last 2 weeks has been about the most incredible stretch I have seen from a hitter. There is hot and then there is JD Drew in June of 2008 hot.

The Picks: Manny Ramirez, Josh Hamilton and JD Drew!!!
(That's right, JD Drew!!! gets exclamation points!!!)

Short tangent, is there a better baseball announcer than Jon Miller? I mean really? I have been watching this guy on Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN for as long as I can remember and it has always been something I have enjoyed. I am watching the battle of Chi-town right now, it's 5-0 Cubbies and a Nick Swisher (why must you play for the wrong Sox my wayward son) ground out to second gets a "Stab by DeRosa, he throws, OUT" from Miller. Great times, Berman and Miller. Now that is a show my friends. Let's work on making this happen.

Designated Hitter. I'm wearing down, you're wearing down. I'll just say David Ortiz and be done with it.

The Pick: David Ortiz

Some saucy pitching match ups this week as the D-Backs come into Fenway Park this week. What if I told you the first MLB Jogging Diary was going to take place this week, is that something you might be interested in?

Sterling Pingree

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