There’s no truth to the rumor that Rose bet on ending a guy’s career in the All Star Game. He would have, but the betting markets weren’t as evolved as they are today.

My Least Popular Stand

As the calendar turns to July, it’s time for my annual observation where everybody else joins EdK and my wife in thinking I’m an idiot: I don’t want any of my players going to the All Star Game. My reasoning is as follows:

  • Taking your best players and denying them rest at a time when rest is really needed is dumb. In tonight’s game, Snit took Dansby out in the 7th because, in Chip’s words, “he needs a break.” If he needs a break of an hour on June 30th, why not give him three days off in the middle of July if you can?
  • They could get hurt. Ray Fosse, anyone?
  • There was a time when seeing the stars of the game all at once was a unique showcase. With national coverage of baseball the highest it’s ever been, that rationale has been waning for years. As (limited) evidence for that the audience for the All Star Game is shrinking every year.
  • From the misbegotten attempt to make the outcome of the All Star Game relevant, to odd substitution rules to the Home Run Derby eclipsing the game itself, Nobody Cares.
  • The voting and selecting is a transparent attempt to rouse fan interest. I hate that crap.
  • Chip thinks it’s important, which, while not definitive, makes me think I may be thinking in the right direction.
  • We already now have so many awards at the end of the season for good performers that one recognizing three good months of work is unnecessary.
  • Before interleague play, there was always the thought that the All Star Game might provide at least some evidence about which league is stronger. It was almost surely wrong then, and nobody believes it any more.
  • “I ain’t startin’, I ain’t departin’” the great quote from Garry Templeton, has always been a favorite of mine. And I also think of 1978, when Biff Pocoroba made his only All Star Game appearance and was put in to catch the top of the 9th with the NL leading 7-3. After two outs, Phil Niekro was brought in to get the last out. Big whoop.
  • The greatest moment in All Star Game history came in 1934. The second-biggest event was Ray Fosse’s injury. That’s not a lot of return for the last 90 years. The more common sort of game: Willie McCovey grounds into a double play in the 1st, scoring a run which holds up as the only run in 1968.
  • Despite its name, the game is simply not composed only of stars. Pick any All Star roster from, say, 1985-2005. We now know how great or not-great those players’ careers have been. Every All Star team is littered with guys who are not, by any measure, stars. Sometimes it’s because of the “every team represented” rule, but more often it’s because some player had a hot three months. Cesar Izturis, Ron Coomer, anyone? And even more often it’s because the best teams almost never send more than four players, but almost all have more than four stars.
  • But doesn’t it reward players? If there’s a category of humans who need less ego stroking than “established professional athlete” I’m not sure what it is.
  • “Deserves.” Sure, it gives baseball writers something to talk about and, much worse, Chip something to blather on about. Austin Riley didn’t “deserve” to be MVP last year and whether he “deserves” to be the NL starting 3rd baseman this year is something that I find it impossible to care about, because “deserves” has no standards. Every year there are debates about obviously great players who have had a bad three months versus relative unknowns who have had a great three months. It’s a boring conversation.

I’ve written variations on this for years, and nobody agrees with me. But here I stand. Make the whole Mets team the All Star Team. Fine by me. Disagree if you like, but have the courtesy to take on all the arguments above, not just the weakest ones.

Freddie Freeman

It was a three-way negotiation in which there was clearly miscommunication, which might have been advertent or inadvertent. But you’ll never know which it was. Never. Basing your opinion on the post-mortems of the parties, guaranteed to be some unknown combination of self-serving, self-delusion and truth, is hopelessly biased. Accept that and move on.

Brotherly Love? I Don’t Even Have A Brother

So I didn’t watch last week, and I had to watch this week. As my late mother-in-law used to put it: “Some days aren’t worth struggling to get your girdle on.” This was one of those.

The Harperless and Seguraless Phillies don’t have a lot, but they have Aaron Nola. It’s not that Nola can’t be beaten — it’s just that you can be pretty sure he’ll make it hard to score a lot of runs. But the Braves loaded the bases on three scratch hits in the 2nd, and Nola struck out Duvall and got Arcia on a double play to end the inning… or would have had Didi Gregorius understood that a double play requires a throw to first. Didi: you can’t assume the double play. Even Chip knows that.

The lead didn’t last long. Seven of the next 8 men reached base and it was 7-1 pretty quickly. Jethro is now officially a problem: he’s skating away on the thin ice of a new day. This led me to try and find the last game in which Aaron Nola pitched that the opponents scored 7 runs or more. I was surprised to find that it already happened twice this year both times against the Mets, April 13th and May 5th. So why not one in June?

OK… the next couple of innings saw the lead bulge to 12-1. So when was the last time Nola started a game and the opponents scored 12? Well, that was September 6th 2020 against, once again, the Mets.

At that point, it was all over but the homers here and there from Adam Duvall and Michael Harris II. Chicks dig the long ball, but not after they left in the 4th inning.

A bit of comic relief ensued when Mike Ford ptched the 8th. It wasn’t very comic. But he did better than Ian Anderson.


I want to thank Zac in Arlington for his comment yesterday on Chip’s mangled attempt to describe how difficult Mark Appel‘s path to the major leagues has been. I hasten to add that I’m sure Appel has had huge things to overcome, but I’m sure only one of them was an appendectomy: it’s pretty much one to a customer. And I’m pretty sure the biggest issue was the three years he took off. (Actually, Chip was much better on it in the 9th inning tonight when Appel pitched the 9th. I suspect he was better prepared.)

When the game is out of reach, announcers start losing the thread. So I’ll give Chip a pass on anything said after the third inning. Also, the thing that annoys me most about Chip is his analysis, and he stopped analyzing. That said, he and Frenchy did a lot of ASG talking, so my whole critique in the first section applies. Even there, I understand that it’s my opinion that’s the outlier here, so it’s probably annoying only me.

On to July

We’re off to Cincinnati. June was fun. July will be interesting, even though it contains the All Star Game.