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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

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(Reposted From Previous Thread)

Just A Note: Raúl Ibañez is currently 6th in voting for potential NL All-Star OFs, trailing the likes of Manny Ramirez & Carlos Beltran ... WTF?! True, the Phillies haven't had many home games, but Phils fans can also vote online, so you've got no excuse. Honestly, if "Raúúúúúúúúúúúúl!!!" isn't an All-Star, who is?

Full Listing - http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20090526&content_id=4960488&vkey=allstar2009&fext=.jsp#nlvote_0526>'09 NL All-Star Vote Update

You guys saw the Joe Blanton tonight who was a pretty effective starter for the A's. Mets got a great outing out of Livan Hernandez tonight, but I'm expecting the other shoe to drop at any time with him. Perez walked five guys in Triple-A tonight, so he's still a mess.

G-Town Dave: Ibanez is having a nice 2 months, but Beltran is one of the best OFs in the game, and has been for a long time. He's an all-star more than Ibanez is.

That said, I expect Ibanez to be an easy choice for Charlie as a reserve, and a worthy one.

Normally with the Mets so banged up right now it would be a good chance for the Phils to open up a bit of a lead over the next week or so but the Mets play a fairly soft schedule/Phils have played poorly at home. Hopefully by next Wed/Thurs they have a bit of a lead but we'll see.

im bringing up a topic from the game thread. A mets fan was bringing up Met Prospects. Reyes, Wright, and Pelfrey are certainly nothing to sneeze at, but in all fairness the Phils did a very good job in scouting Howard Utley and Hamels. And i cant count out vic because he was a rule 5 pick IIRC. And to Asod, Livan got SO lucky tonight... Nick johnson hit absolute rockets with men on twice. But it was by far his best pitched game. Adam Dunn woulda looked so nice on this damn team though....

mets blog really needs to open back up asap

redbeard: +1

It's a damn shame the largest city in the nation can't seem to generate more than one blog for fans of their NL franchise ...

redbeard: no sh*t. Sick of hearing about the stupid Mets even when we're not playing them.

Blanton really is the key to this rotation being more league average. If he can come around a bit and Happ gives the Phils a chance to win most times out, this rotation suddenly goes from being a sieve to one that generally is capable enough.

All Star game voting can be a joke sometimes. Its still early but I don't see how Mike Cameron is ahead of Raul and JJ Hardy is ahead of Hansley Ramirez. Brewers fan are out in force voting for these guys.

Not sure whether the Nats are THAT bad or the Mets have done a nice job without the likes of Reyes, Delgado, Beltran, Church, Cora, Perez, Schneider, Wagner.

I'm going with option 1.

I am curious to know whether BL'ers are voting for the ALL-star by just picking every Philly on the ballot, or whether they compare stats and pick who they think is best?

IMO, Phils fans need to stop thinking about who is "best" and just stuff the ballot boxes with as many Phils as we can get in.
The whole process is a joke, we might as well join the party.

All-Star voting has and always will be a joke. I remember an All-Star game in the late 80's when four or five Oakland A's got in, including Terry Steinbach who was hitting .200 at the time.

Benson: The process is a joke, but I still attempt to be at least semi-fair. This year the Phils I have/will vote for include Ibañez, Feliz, Utley & Howard. Yeah, I'd like to see J-Roll or Vic make it, but I can't bring myself to vote for them when they're not even close to performing like "All-Stars". That said, I have no problem w/ others stuffing the ballot box for the home team if they feel so inclined. It ain't illegal, so why not?

"One would be hard pressed to find a better start by a Phillies hurler this season."

Soberingly, the other contender is probably Chan Ho Park's loss vs Santana.

i heard when you buy bread in milwaukee you have to vote for the allstar game 5 times

Re: All-Star voting

The ballot stuffing is absurd. Bill Hall and his 78 OPS+ in second place ahead of Larry and Zimmerman. Preposterous. It is a popularity contest after all though.

It's early... and the Brewers had home games against division rivals while the Phils were on the road. Expect the Milwaukee votes to wane.

Boy is that Tim Lincecum good. He is shutting out the Bravos.

Benson: The process is a joke, but I still attempt to be at least semi-fair. This year the Phils I have/will vote for include Ibañez, Feliz, Utley & Howard. Yeah, I'd like to see J-Roll or Vic make it, but I can't bring myself to vote for them when they're not even close to performing like "All-Stars".

Whereas Feliz - or for that matter, Howard - is?

I liked the way the guys were swinging the bats tonight, and I hope Jayson Werth can break out of this current funk he's in. Blanton pitched a hell of a game and Madson is completely filthy, but it drives me absolutely insane when a reliever comes in with a big lead in the 8th or 9th and tries to pitch around hitters and avoid contact. Durbin put 3 guys on base tonight and really made the hearts of a lot of fans beat way too fast. He's got to recognize the situation better and throw strikes.

I have no objection to Beltran being in the NL's starting lineup; after all, he's leading the NL in batting average and is 2nd in OPS behind Ibanez. Of the Phillies, Ibanez and Utley definitely deserve to be starting. But, at this point in the season, it's darn near impossible to make even a plausible case for any other Phillie -- unless they create a roster spot for middle inning relievers, in which case Condrey would have a pretty strong argument.

Top 3 clubs in organization tonight:

3 starters (Blanton, Carpenter and Worley):

21 IP (each guy threw 7 IP), 1 ER.


Not too bad. 3 similar pitchers too (although Worley is a little less "portly").

Blanton is just one of those guys that I root for. For whatever reason, people have sold hims short his entire career, but he just keeps on proving people wrong. I love it.Phils could have possibly gotten Burnett or Sabathia last season, but they got Blanton. Sometimes things are just supposed to happen. Blanton is the consumate underdog. I really like Joey Bag o Innings.

Listened on radio tonite and just finished watching replay on cn8. I figured out Cholly's strategy tonite. He used 4 pitchers with goatee's.

"Milwaukee has had a lot of home games against division rivals"???
That has nothing to do with the All-star voting anymore. The on-line voting drives the All-star voting in all sports. Someone in Milwaukee has broken the code. MLB.com said they are 1st or 2nd at EVERY position. Mike Cameron over Ibanez? Ricky Weeks hot on Utley's tale? JJ Hardy is more popular than Rollins and Reyes? Combine that with Corey 'freakn' Hart beating out New York players in a vote off last year. Something is wrong there.

Didn't Milwaukee also stuff the ballots last season? I know they won the final spot last year in the vote-off.

I have to think its the schedule. Only more hardcore fans vote online, and the phillies are doing very well in attendance this season. You have to think that a bunch of phillies will be making late pushes into the game.

Speaking of Blanton, I had a chance to watch Brad Penny pitch this weekend.

Did someone clone one of them? They surely do look alike - body type, haircut, goatee, and the way they wear their socks up.

I don't know why anyone wastes their time voting in or watching the All Star Game. It is second only to the World Baseball Classic as the most absurd waste of time to take place on a diamond.

I did find it funny when various announcers were saying Ibanez could be voted an All Star this year, as if they've never paid attention to AS voting before. Why would a guy with great stats get in if he's not a big name or on whatever team has the best ballot stuffing fans?

Was wondering when someone in the media was going to bring up how nice the Phans have been this year...so today both Donnellon and Gonzalez write about it at philly.com.

Best blog for Mets fans:

www.amazinavenue.com

re: All-Star voting

While the fan-balloting is a joke, the results of the AS game unfortunately have a huge impact on contending teams.

My 5 or so online votes this year (spurred on each time I get an e-mail from Phillies.com) have been strategically placed in that I've voted in popular but second-tier talents in the AL, and high-performance guys in the NL. (Pujols, Utley, Zimmerman, H. Ram, McCann, Ibanez, Cameron, and Beltran).

And guess who is lined up rotation wise to start the All-star game? Hamels. (and I guess most other AS-worthy starter that pitched this past Saturday and Sunday) I hope K-Rod gets voted in by the players/managers. And I hope Manuel makes him warm-up for 9 innings straight, and then leaves him in to pitch about 100 pitches.

I still think Blanton's nickname should be Hoss.

Joey Donuts.

RJ Anderson over at FanGraphs does some analysis on Lidge today:

"

Of all of the pitchers struggling on the Phillies, Brad Lidge is the most surprising. A glance at the relievers’ WAR board has Lidge firmly at the bottom of the totem pole; something unimaginable just a few months ago. Lidge’s 9.15 ERA is a scrambled mess of the 1.95 ERA posted last year. Lidge’s important metrics aren’t fairing too well either.

About 32% of the batters to step to the plate against Lidge last year went down via strikeout. That number is down to 21% this year. Fewer pitches are being thrown inside of the zone, and far less first-strikes are being recorded, leaving Lidge down in most counts. Batters are still swinging out of the zone at about the same rate but Lidge is still getting fewer strikes overall. When he is throwing pitches in the zone, batters are making contact at a ridiculously high rate. Lidge’s career Z-Contact% is 74.5%, this year it’s 86.4%.

Of the 29 hits given up, 12 have gone for extra bases, including six homeruns and doubles apiece. Lidge’s BABIP is a rotund .400. Combining this information, it would be easy to infer that Lidge is having a ton of line drives hit against him, yet this is simply not the case. His line drive percentage is at 16.7%, lower than last season or his career total. The Phillies defense is middle of the pack in UZR and BABIP against, which suggests Lidge is an outlier, that or the story lies beneath the numbers.

Looking at the pitch data, Lidge’s pitch usage is roughly the same, but velocity on his fastball is down just a bit. Lidge’s slider is still moving about the same, as is his fastball, which raises all kinds of questions about why both pitches are being hit harder than before. Our linear weights have Llidge’s fastball at -5.51 runs per 100 pitches and his slider at 0.27 per 100; last year Lidge’s fastball was worth -0.53 runs per 100 pitches and his slider 2.5 runs per 100. So again, what’s the deal here?

Per Baseball-Reference, Lidge’s fly balls have resulted in three doubles, the same amount as his line drives allowed. Lidge has a .192 fly ball BABIP against while his line drive BABIP against is .900. If those numbers seem high, well, they are. Major League average for fly ball BABIP is .143 this year; .725 for line drives. Either Lidge is unlucky, is being hit harder than the league average pitcher – which the homeruns support, although not the line drive percentage – or a combination.

Until we get more data to suggest otherwise, I’m going to assume Lidge will be fine, but he’s an interesting case none the less."

If you're over at Fan Graphs, take a look at who's near the bottom of the Wins Above Replacement board for starting pitchers.
Moyer is of course second to last, but only Daniel Cabrera separates Myers from Moyer in all of MLB.

This is largely because Myers' FIP (Fielder Independent Pitching) is off the charts at 6.23. Thank god for a slightly above average defense!

TNA: FanGraphs seems puzzled by Lidge's poor results and yet the explanation is not only obvious to fans who've seen him pitch but it is there within their own data:

"Fewer pitches are being thrown inside of the zone, and far less first-strikes are being recorded, leaving Lidge down in most counts."

@TNA - So it's all about location location location for Lidge.

When Lidge is getting the ball over, those balls are in the heart of the plate and they are getting smoked. So while his BABIP might be "luck", it's more likely he's serving up volleyball size meatballs because he's not locating the balls where he wants them.

Jack: Stating BelTRON is a more worthy All Star due to his track record is stupid. Each year's AS game should be about THAT year's numbers. Unfortunately fans are idiots and will vote Manny in.

Albert: "Each year's AS game should be about THAT year's numbers."

I happen to agree with that, but it is a minority view and that was true even when the writers were picking the All-Stars. There are various definitions of who should be an All Star, just as there are with the MVP award.

"Each year's AS game should be about THAT year's numbers."

Well, I'd rather see the best players rather than the ones who have been the best for 2 or 3 months.

I can understand if you feel otherwise but there are no rules (that I know of) that make your way the only way.

FYI: All Star voting Validation image is busted, but if you choose the audio version you can get in to vote.

Albert: Exactly right. That's why to avoid this problem of ballot stuffing, moronic fans, etc. the fan vote should count 50% and they should make a MLB selection committee (kind of like NCAA selection) to count for 50%. Then there would be credibility back in the game, and at least I would take it more seriously.

"Well, I'd rather see the best players rather than the ones who have been the best for 2 or 3 months."

If that's your rationale, then I guess your hoping Gary Sheffield makes the squad...

Really, if you accept that the AS game is a popularity contest and that everyone votes their own way, you'll be a happier person.

The only thing I complain about is the home-field asvantage which of course is silly. If MLB wants the game to count, not only should fan voting be nixed but they also shouldn't force managers to select a player from each team.

But when it comes down to it, vote the way you want to, share your opinion, keep in mind there is no "right" way to vote and then enjoy the show.

I understand it's a popularity contest and I like seeing the big names play. But, when it results in a Cal Ripken trotting out to start at SS sporting a .220 BA, it gets pretty stupid. The voting should still reflect performance, even if there is a bias for established players.

"If that's your rationale, then I guess your hoping Gary Sheffield makes the squad..."

Yeah or you could give me the benefit of the doubt and not assume I'm an idiot. :)

I take a look at the past 2-3 years, trying to give recent performance more emphasis.

For example, if I were voting now, I'd vote for Pujols over, say, Joey Votto.

Of the great many things in life I find unfathomable, the concern whether Raul Ibanez gets voted in to the All-Star Game or added onto the reserve roster ranks awfully close to the top.

It'd be nice if the All-Star game went extra innings this year and Charlie could warm up K-Rod 6 or 7 times and make him throw 100 pitches...

clout - After reading that fangraphs data, I have to think it's a little of each. He's been throwing fewer first strikes AND his luck has run out. That there are as many fly ball doubles as line drive doubles is kinda convincing. And those two bumpy singles up the middle the other night were tending toward "fortunate" (if not lucky).

He's gotta get the first pitch over more. Just has to. But he's also gotta feed Jaboo some of that smooth Kentucky bourbon that Joey Bag-O-Innings left him before the game last night.

I voted my 25 votes for the Phillies line-up and then picked out the worst AL players imaginable. When we get to the WS again, I want the home field advantage...

...unless we continue our ridiculous home-away split.

MPN: love it.

i looked up and compared beltran's and ibanez's career numbers - they are closer than I thought. Ibanez's career average is actually 5 points higher while he is slightly lower in the other categories.

MPN: Ha - nice thought.

I can see all the Phils reserves in the field conveniently dropping popups while a Mets reliver is throwing pitch after pitch - since the AL will usually be up by 10 runs anyway.

Gonzo has a great line in his column this morning:

"If you missed the start of the National Spelling Bee last night, shame on you. The NSB is a guaranteed good time. What other event features participants who pass out, cry, and throw temper tantrums on national television? (I feel like there's a Mets joke to be made here.)"
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As far as player selection for the the All-Star game is concerned, think about it this way:

The game decides which team(league) will have home field advantage for the World Series, which can possibly impact the outcome of the WS.

Yet, for a game ostensibly of such importance, MLB (Selig) allows ballot box stuffing to decide starting lineups (which impact the game), and, as Max points out, continue to keep an arcane rule in place requiring one player be from each team (a disadvantage to the 16 team NL).

Absurd.

One wonders whether the difference in the number of teams in each league has impacted the outcome of the game itself.

"Fewer pitches are being thrown inside of the zone, and far less first-strikes are being recorded, leaving Lidge down in most counts."

Do you think the new 2009 version of the shrunken strike zone has affected Lidge's performance like it has Moyer's?

phaithful - lol. i wonder if Minaya and mets fans are seriously concerned that Manuel might pull a Hurdle on K-Rod and ask him to come up with a fake injury to prevent him from pitching; or make him pitch 2 innings on the friday before the AS break to make him "unavailable."

Dukes, MPN - your comparison between Beltran and Ibanez is interesting, especially since Ibanez came into his own as soon as he signed with the Royals in 2001, which was the same year Beltran started to take off and fill the potential that he flashed as ROY in 98-99. Although there's a 5 yr difference between those two, they, along with Sweeney were the top dogs at KC and must've spent a lot of time together and learning from each other. Or maybe they were highly competitive with each other. In any case, I wonder if they get a kick being on opposing teams challenging for the NL East and seeing each other at the top of the statistical leaderboard every day. This is TOTALLY hypothetical, but perhaps Ibanez signed with the Phillies (not only because he thought he'd be a good fit, Gillick, etc., etc.) because he wanted to stick it to Beltran in a friendly competition kinda way.

TNA: it was interesting when i compared that while ibanez is much older, they have comparable games played.

AWH- They should take the home field advantage away from the All Star Game- It's an exhibition game and should count for nothing but bragging rights.
Is it really an advantage anyway to have games 1,2,6,7 vs 2,4,5 in a World Series.
In so many instances there is a split in the first two games & the advantage -in my opinion - really goes to the team at home for the next 3 games.
I think the "This All Star Game Really Counts" PR ploy has out-lived its usefulness and should just go away.

All I do is continually do write-in votes for Eric Bruntlett...and leave the rest of the ballot blank.

I would say that this 2009 "shrunken zone" has affected Moyer and not so much Lidge.

NEPP- Isn't Cairo eligible?

I suppose that I'm in the minority of hardcore MLB fans who still looks forward to & enjoys watching the All-Star game, & has no real issue w/ the fan voting aspect. However, allowing the outcome of an exhibition game to determine home field advantage for the World Series is the single DUMBEST decision Bud Selig has ever made (followed closely by the World Baseball Yawn ... I mean seriously, who gives a sh*t?).

Inability to locate has killed Lidge so far. Its not as if he's painting the black and getting squeezed. He simply has no idea where his FB is gonna end up from pitch to pitch.

Umps tend to shrink the zone on any pitcher with major control issues and expand it for guys that can consistantly hit the same spot over and over and over again (See Maddux).

****NEPP- Isn't Cairo eligible?****

Yeah, but he's not having an AS season like the Gnome.

TNA, Ibanez signed with the Phillies because they made a competitive offer - FINANCIALLY.

I thought he signed with us for Love of the Game...not that dumptruck of cash.

I've been on a few vacations in the past few weeks and havent kept as much attention to the phils as usual, but I saw their lineup was back to loading up the lefties 3-4-5, even with a starting LHP.

Even if Werth gets back on track, can the Phils afford to stash Raul down in the 6 spot while he is currently one of the best hitters in the Majors?

I believe if you're going to bat the lefties together vs LHP, it should be 2-3-4 with Utley/Ibanez/Howard and Werth/vic to follow. If Ibanez starts to cool off, then I can see him moving back down to 6 and let Werth provide the power vs LHP he usually does, but until then its hard to reason why Ibanez should be any lower than 5.

NEPP's actual AS ballot:

1B - Pujols
2B - Utley
SS - Rollins
3B - Wright
OF - Ibanez
OF - Beltran
OF - Dunn
C - McCann

Albert and Clout: Well, I think that guys having great 2 month stretches should be all-stars as reserves. The starters should be about showcasing the STARS of the game: Pujols, Utley, Wright, Beltran, Hanley, Braun, etc. Even if they are struggling for a little bit to start the season, we all know those guys are the biggest stars and best players.

It's an exhibition for the fans; therefore I have no problem with, and in fact encourage, any of those guys starting over Ibanez, who's having a very nice, if fluky, start to the year, but overall is simply not that quality of player. He will be, as he deserves to, Charlie's easiest pick as a reserve.

NEPP-Does facial grooming play a significant part in the selection process?

I'm with GT Dave. I enjoy the All Star Game. I enjoy the player introductions and I love seeing them lined up on the fould lines. I love seeing some 90 year old legend wheel chaired in to throw the ceremonial first pitch.

As for the game, I only love it when the NL wins. I hate the player interviews with guys lifted from the game wearing T-shirts and looking like slobs. Stay in the dugout wearing your uniforms until the end of the game!

LF: the player introductions are usually the only thing worth watching. The games themselves are invariably worthless. If they actually played games the way they're normally played - i.e. without emphasis on the charade of getting everyone on the rosters involved into the game - it might be one thing. But the pattern is almost always consists of a scoreless, actionless game through the first three innings; then the whirlwind of lineup substitutions explodes from the fourth inning on, rendering any resemblance to meaningful baseball completely nil.

Am I the only one for whom the comments all appear pushed together, without any spacing between each individual comment?

BAP:

Hit refresh. Worked for me.

b_a_p: No. I'm getting it too. It threw me for quite a loop.

I'm with RSB. I rarely watch the AS Game anymore because all of the artificial substitutions remove any natural flow to the game.


The All Star Game is supposed to be for the fans. Yet, on the rare occasion that you get a tight game -- like last year's -- the marquee players are all out of the game by the late innings, and this "showcase" event ends up getting decided by the likes of Corey Hart, George Sherrill, Nate McClouth, and Dioner Navarro.

I understand why you would want the best players on the field for the AS game, but aren't the current best players the ones who are currently performing the best? If Manny starts over Ibanez, I would have a serious problem with that logic.

I'm seeing the same formatting issue. I'm sure it will be fixed soon.

If Manny is in an AS game the same year as a 50 game suspension for steroids use...then MLB and Selig should be ashamed.

I really don't see them letting Manny start the All-Star game. Wasn't there a movement in Boston to get Lastings Milledge into the All-Star game even though he was in the minors? Thought I heard something like that.

Interesting stats on Ibanez:

His hot start is not, as many hot starts are, being influenced by a fluky BABIP, which at .321 is right about in line with his recently (last 4 years) established performance, and his line drive percentage is actually lower than it should be. Presuming he picks up his liner rate, his BABIP should stay about the same.

What IS fluky is his HR/FB rate, which is driving his massive HR numbers and SLG pct. His career numbers are around 11%, and right now he's at 25%.

The question is how much of the spike is real based on now playing in the NL and CBP. This will be the determining factor in how Ibanez's numbers play out the rest of the year.

I'm not sure what date Manny's suspension ends, but you can be sure that if it is over he will be playing. Selig is a joke, and so is the entire foundation of the AS game.

NEPP: There are quite a few individuals who are trying to get Manny into the ASG for that very reason, to show the hypocrisy that MLB is demonstrating over PED's after turning a blind eye to it for so long, and because they don't do blood tests for HGH (so how could they possibly know who is cheating and who isn't).

I saw that Crashburnalley is supporting the movement.

I think its a combo of CBP (very slight on that end) and the lineup he's now in. I'm willing to bet he's never seen so many good pitches to hit as he has in this lineup. He had nothing around him in Seattle for all those years. Now he's probably seeing alot more fastballs and pitches over the plate in general. Also, he's going to an "easier" league so all of those things might explain the bump.

Albert: Who do you think is the better player, Manny or Ibanez? Two months does not change a player's true level. Come on. I'm not gonna take this any further, because I can't believe there's a single person who thinks Ibanez is a better baseball player than Manny Ramirez, regardless of the last two months.

I would have a problem with Manny starting because of his breaking the rules, not because of performance.

MLB should take Manny off the ballot.

They should...but they won't.

NEPP - would Manny even be eligible to play?

Yes...he would. His suspension is over a week or so prior.

There is nothing preventing him from playing if he is elected to the team.

Jack: Obviously Manny is a better player. The ideal of any AS game from any sport is to showcase the best players from around the league based on THAT YEAR's statistics. Does a rookie not deserve to be an AS because he plays in league where an established veteran plays his position. It is an idiotic notion to say a player deserves to be an All Star due to past performance. Do we deserve to be WFC 09 because of 08? Hell no, earn your spot.

I'm not mad at you or your comments. I'm mad at baseball for having such a flawed system.

I gave up actually caring who makes the all-star team when I was about 9. Still, I continue to believe it is an annual reward for performance, not an award for reputation or career numbers. Therefore, while Manny may be a better player than Ibanez, the all-star selections should be made based on recent performance. I would pick Ibanez before Manny this year. First, a player who is not even playing (Manny, for instance) shouldn't be that year's all-star selection. Second, I think the player having a demonstrably better season, as opposed to slightly better statistics, should be in the game, all other things being equal.

Milwaukee isn't that big. How the heck do they have so many votes for their players?

Two things to switch up this all star talk nonsense.

First, last night on MLB Network Mitch Williams and Dan Plesac put together a "Top 10 Lefty Relievers" list in the MLB. They listed Romero 4th. Is that an accurate assesment? I think that may be a little high.

Secondly, In the beginning of May I predicted a 19-10 month. Majority said this was a tough month and didn't see that record. Being said that the Phillies are 14-10 now. Can we go 4-0 to finish 18-10(remember we rained out against the mets, so we have 28 not 29 games)?

Albert: We just have a fundamental disagreement, I suppose. I tend to think the starters should be All-STARS, guys who are the biggest and best players in the game. Just cause, say, A-Rod was out for some time and doesn't have as good stats as, say, Melvin Mora, is there any doubt that A-Rod is the best 3rd baseman in the AL? And that he's a huge star? To me, he should start the All-Star game.

The fact that you compared being world champions to being an all-star makes no sense whatsoever, for so many differnet reasons. All-Star starters are determined by fans; if fans want to see stars, as seems to be the idea behind the game, then of course past performance counts as much as having a hot 2 months to start the season.

Basically, you're advocating voting in the best players in a random 2 and a half month stretch. That seems odd to me, given the nature of baseball.

I tihnk Ibanez is a perfect All-Star reserve, a good player having a great start to a season.

Milwaukee has so many votes for their players because there's nothing else to do there besides drink and vote online.

There's probably absolutely nothing else to do there...adn their stadium staff is probably really proactive with in-game voting (that's a big key in running up the votes)

Albert: Aaron Hill has been better than Dustin Pedroia so far this year. So you would vote for Hill over Pedroia?

Would you vote for Jorge Cantu or Nick Johnson over Lance Berkman?

Come on. It's about the best players. Two months does not make someone a great player. If you want to see a game filled with Aaron Hill, Marco Scutaro, Jorge Cantu, and Wandy Rodriguez's, enjoy.

I'll take the game with the stars, who've proved they're the best players.

JRoll sort of threw Burrell under the bus today in a SportingNews.com article:

an excerpt--
" But Philadelphia also was a team that put up with subpar defense and range from Burrell in left field in exchange for his power at the plate. With Ibanez, the Phillies no longer have to make that trade-off.

"We weren't aware of his defense," Rollins said. During his 10 seasons with Seattle, sandwiched around three seasons with Kansas City, Ibanez occasionally would show up on the highlights making less than stellar plays in the outfield.

"You'd see him every once in a while making a crazy-looking play and wonder, 'Why did he try that?' " Rollins said. "But what you didn't see are all the good plays that he makes, cutting off runs and running down fly balls. On this team, we were used to those balls being doubles and extra at-bats instead of outs."

Said Coste: "It's amazing the many articles I read in the offseason about how Raul was not a defensive upgrade from Burrell. It's not that Burrell was terrible by any means, but Raul has been a Gold Glover. It's been incredible." "

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