09 July 2003

All-Star Hoopla...and a Few More Updates

I understand from ESPN Radio's Mike & Mike that Sammy Sosa and Barry Bonds have elected not to participate in this year's Home Run Derby as a part of the All-Star Festivities. Normally I don't much care about this sort of thing, and this is generally no exception. Every time I've watched any part of a home run derby I've found it to be exceedingly tedious and boring.

I, however, seem to be the exception and not the rule, as many fans will tell you that the Home Run Derby is actually more exciting than the All-Star Game itself. I happen to disagree, but there is a whole pile of merchandise-buying fans out there who evidently clamor to see Big Stars hit Big Homers in a Meaningless Exhibition on a Monday Afternoon. (As opposed to the Meaningless Exhibition that occurs on Tuesday Night. Oh, wait, I forgot, it's Meaningful now.)

Evidently Sosa and Bonds are not overly encumbered by any burden of responsibility to those who pay their checks. Bonds, citing his "right to do whatever he wants" (as though he's somehow prevented from doing that all the time or something) said he wouldn't go. It's his right to decline the invitation... but he doesn't hafta be so obnoxious about it.

Sammy, on the other hand (where, it turns out, I have one fewer finger than Antonio Alfonseca...and two more than Mordecai Brown!), is a different story. Sosa indicated that he turned down the offer because he wasn't going to play in the All-Star Game anyway and so he preferred to take the full three days off.

Now don't get me wrong. I'm all for vacation, time-off, a "little breather", whatever you want to call it. But, umm...hasn't Sammy had plenty of time off this season already? He missed 17 games with an injury and then another seven with a suspension for corking his bat, which reportedly has tarnished his reputation so much that he gets booed everywhere he goes to play now except Chicago. Cubs' manager and resident racial faux pas provider Dusty Baker and others have said that they agree with Sammy's decision to go "underground" for the three day All-Star break, but it would seem to me that the opposite would be true...

Shouldn't a player who's been maligned and injured, but who had in many ways been the Face of and Ambassador for MLB for the last several years, do everything in his power to regain some of that crediibility and stature? Given that his own income, via marketing contracts, depends not just on his ability to play the game but on the public's recognition and opinion of him, shouldn't Sammy be out there trying to get as much good publicity as possible to counteract some of the bad publicity he's received lately? Shouldn't a guy who's been accused of hitting cheap homers due to cheating go and at least try to prove that he can hit them without cheating? And if nothing more than for the sake of the Sport, and the Fans (read: his employers), shouldn't he at least try to kiss a few million asses by showing up? Guess not.


BTW, I have also added Royals Baseball Blog to my growing list. It's brandy-spankin-new! Hopefully it will last longer than the Royals' pennant hopes.

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