I paid rapt attention to all of the selection process of All-Star Break. I watched all of the festivities of All-Star weekend…the Home Run Derby and the Midsummer Classic. I drew one undeniable conclusion from the entirety of the 2013 All-Star experience:
The NL flat out lost.
Let’s start with the selection for the teams. The fans got the AL picks almost perfectly right. The NL…not so much. Am I the only person on planet Earth that thinks David Wright is overrated? (EDITORS NOTE: No.) Just because the game is in New York doesn’t mean he deserves to start over Pedro Alvarez.
This could be about Wright too.
Also, I love Bryce Harper, and he is the future of baseball, but I’m taking Andrew McCutchen before Harper. Now, nearly every guy plays, but your starters get two at bats versus one…and it’s against top notch pitching. Then to top it all off, the fans have a chance to get Yasiel Puig into the game, a guy who could legitimately help the NL, and instead the fans take Freddie Freeman. I like Freeman, but I need game-changers in a single-game winner-take-all situation, not above-average players. Then once Freeman gets hurt, they insert Brian McCann in his place! Really?!? They managed to drop the Puig ball twice. Remember, that game was for home field advantage in the World Series. Now the Cardinals, Pirates, and other NL contenders are at a disadvantage. (ED: But at least Jonathan Papelbon is happy.)
The selections for the Home Run Derby weren’t any better. David Wright plays in a league with plenty of bonafied mashers, and he still managed to pick a sub-standard team. Robinson Cano was smart; he picked physically imposing hitter with a penchant for crushing baseballs. Everyone knows the batting practice exploits of Chris Davis, Prince Fielder, and Yoenis Cespedes. What was Wrights response? Pedro Alvarez (great choice), Bryce Harper (good choice), and…Michael Cuddyer? Really? You have a ton of guys to choose from, heck, you could even take someone who isn’t an All-Star (see Cespedes), and you pick Michael Cuddyer? Somewhere, Giancarlo Stanton has to be fuming. If I was selecting a team, I’m making Stanton my first pick in a heartbeat. Of course, the AL wins. It was like playing 4 vs. 2, as Cuddyer and Wright had no business being there.
Then to culminate the festivities, the NL gets shutout, managing only 3 hits the entire night. Simply put, the NL got beatdown. The AL had the better lineup and pitching and it showed. NL hitters looked clueless all night and the NL pitchers were constantly in tough situations with pitch counts. The AL managed to squeak out a few runs and against the potent AL pitching staff, the NL couldn’t mount any sort of defense.
Hopefully, next years’ festivities in Minnesota are a little less one sided.