Spoils, Indeed

The All-Star Game means something this year! Get your game face on, we gotta win it!

Since 2003 (six seasons), when home field advantage was awarded to the league that won the All-Star Game, the A.L. has won every time and yet the last six World Series have been split between the two leagues three apiece. I can’t wait for the ASG to once again affect the outcome of the penultimate series in baseball!

Yes, the ASG is a traveshamockery. Investing any emotion into the outcome of the game is a mistake because it’s so poorly run. It’s cool to see baseball’s best players in one place competing against one another but really, you only see the players for an at-bat or two (or an inning or two) at maximum before they’re replaced. There are a ton of complaints to be made about the midsummer classic, such as the rosters being too large, that make it more aggravating than enjoyable.

That’s why when Charlie Manuel put Werth on the NL All-Star roster to replace Carlos Beltran — instead of some other fine candidates such as the Dodgers’ Matt Kemp — I couldn’t have cared less aside from happiness for Werth. Indeed, Kemp and the Giants’ Pablo Sandoval were popular and more deserving candidates statistically, but nowhere in the rules does it say that All-Stars are selected based solely on their production.

It’s yet another example of baseball ambiguity. The Hall of Fame? Well, you have to have been good at baseball in some way (sorry, David Eckstein), but they consider non-productive factors like character as well, especially now with all of the media-driven fervor over the performance-enhancing drugs “issue.” Awards — same deal. Nowhere is it written down that a Hall of Famer, an MVP, or an All-Star must be selected based only on his statistics, as much as that would make complete, logical sense.

Fans of so-called “snubbed” players shouldn’t be getting bad at Charlie Manuel; they should be upset at the flimsy guidelines baseball has everywhere you look. Without solid rules to govern which players should be All-Stars, how can you blame Manuel for taking his own players especially considering the type of person he is? He is the complete model for a player’s manager, so he probably wanted to make Werth (and Phillies fans) happy, or motivate him, or build up his confidence. Whether that actually works is another topic, but that’s likely the M.O. behind the Werth selection.

As Duk says at Big League Stew:

I can’t begrudge Cholly’s decision too much. To the victors go the spoils […]

When the Giants or Dodgers win the World Series, their managers can take pseudo-All-Stars to the game just like Manuel.

As Stuart Scott (or someone else equally as lame) would say, “Don’t hate the player; hate the game.” Let’s change the ASG to prevent future egregious errors from occurring, or at least develop a sense of apathy. Yelling at Charlie Manuel isn’t going to do anything.

Fans of “snubbed” players need to chill out and simply mindlessly watch the ASG in peace. Or not watch it at all. That’s how you deal with travashamockeries.

Holy Comeback Batman!

Pirates Phillies game chartWhat a night! After having my morning ruined, I was about to give up on my evening when the Phillies fell behind to the Pirates 7-3. Shut off the TV and went out to watch the UFC. It was around 10 PM and I was at a bar-restaurant getting ready to watch the fights when I hear loud, raucous cheering from the other side of the restaurant. Clueless as to what that was about, I turn my attention back to the big screen.

Several moments pass. “Nah, they couldn’t have possibly came back in that game,” I thought as I pulled out my iPod to check the scores. “No way.”

Sure enough, 7-7 thanks to a Matt Stairs solo homer and a Ryan Howard three-run shot. And a walk-off hit from… Paul Bako? Your cardiac Phillies, ladies and gentlemen. Heading into the ninth inning, the Phillies had a 4.4% chance to win the game according to FanGraphs. Even after Matt Stairs homered and Rollins walked and stole second, that percentage only went to 5.3%.

When I shut the game off and left, I said about tomorrow’s starter J.A. Happ, “Let’s hope J.A. Happ can lock down a series win tomorrow.”

How about a sweep?

Interesting tidbit from a poster at Back She Goes: the last Phillies ninth-inning comeback of four or more runs came on June 16, 1998. Check out the similarities:

  • It was against the Pirates
  • The score was also 8-7
  • The walk-off hit came courtesy the catcher
  • The home plate umpire was Greg Gibson

By the way, if you didn’t get to catch UFC 100, you missed a great card. Dan Henderson did to Michael Bisping what the Phillies did to the Pirates. Georges St. Pierre continued his dominance and Brock Lesnar pounded the snot out of Frank Mir. If you get a chance, check out what Lesnar said after his victory. I’ll post a link if and when I find it. (Click here)