When Cal Ripken Jr would make All-Star Games late in his career, it wasn't because he was the best third baseman in the AL, it was because the fans wanted to see him play. But when Jason Varitek is the leading vote-getter among AL catchers, it's a different, much sadder story.
I'm a Red Sox fan, and have been for as long as I can remember. I stuffed the ballot box in '99 to get Nomar the start at short-stop. I wrote in David Ortiz when he wasn't on the ballot. But when it comes to the All-Star Game, I don't want to see the Red Sox take on the National League, I want to see the American League All-Stars. I want to see players we don't get many opportunities to see. Vladimir Guerrero, Joe Mauer, Ichiro, et cetera. With the unbalanced schedule, us Sox fans don't see much of the AL West and Central. So why do we want more of that by only voting for AL East players?
Here is what the AL All-Star starters look like as of now:
C - Jason Varitek - BOS
1B - Kevin Youkilis - BOS
2B - Dustin Pedroia - BOS
3B - Alex Rodriguez - NYY
SS - Derek Jeter - NYY
OF - Manny Ramirez - BOS
OF - Vladimir Guerrero - LAA
OF - Ichiro Suzuki - SEA
DH - David Ortiz - BOS
I can understand Ortiz, Youkilis, and Manny. Even Pedroia isn't that bad. But Jason Varitek is hitting .268. There's a guy on the Twins who also plays catcher, but he's hitting .329. His name is Joe Mauer, and somehow he's 3rd in the American League in hitting, and 3rd in All-Star votes for catchers. Mauer also dates former Miss USA Chelsea Cooley.
Looking even deeper at the All-Star voting, a baseball fan grows more and more disturbed. Julio Lugo is 4th at short-stop? 130,139 people voted for Julio Lugo TO START an All-Star Game?????????? JD Drew is hitting .282 with 4 homeruns and is 11th in outfield voting. 185,673 people voted for him. Who are these people?
As a Red Sox fan, I implore my fellow Sox fans out there to stop voting for Varitek, Lugo, and Drew. Vote for Manny, Ortiz, and Youkilis all you'd like. Because Manny and Ortiz are truly Stars, and Youkilis is having a great season. But Varitek is neither a star, nor is he having a great year.
Think about this, the All-Star Game determines home field advantage in the World Series. Wouldn't you rather have Joe Mauer batting in a big situation instead of Jason Varitek?
And think about this, don't you want to give Varitek a few days off, so he's well rested and able to help the Red Sox win games?
So be a homer, but be a smart homer, okay folks?
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Just when it seemed like the rotation would be improving with the return of Bartolo Colon, the Red Sox may lose Daisuke Matsuzaka. He left the game just before the bottom of the 5th with "fatigue" in his right shoulder. There is no word yet on whether he'll miss any time.
Manny Ramirez's 499th homerun tied the game at 3-3 in the 6th, giving the Sox a chance to steal a road win, something they desperately need. But the bats fell silent for the Sox. And in the bottom of the 9th, Mike Timlin walked a man, and gave up two hits, including the game winning single, to give Seattle a 4-3 victory.
The Red Sox are now 1-4 on this West Coast swing, after winning 7 straight at home. Their 11-18 road record is the 9th worst in baseball. And once again, Tampa Bay is in first place by half a game.
The rubber game in Seattle is tonight at 10:10. Tim Wakefield looks to have a good start after struggling in his last 3 outings. He faces former Oriole Erik Bedard.
AP Photo/John Froschauer