31 July 2006

Pending Pinstripes:Abreu and Lidle for…These are Prospects???

As dawn broke this morning, a stream of desperate electrons came coursing through the InterWeb, crying out for some understanding, a bit of calm in this tumultuous pre-trading deadline world:


So --- are we happy? Did we give up anybody we shouldn't have?
How do the Phillies see it? Do we care?

Me & my shadow

That was my Mom (and her weird cat). She's appropriately desperate to know whether yesterday's deal will go down in the annals of Yankee history as Ken Phelps for Jay Buhner (or worse yet, Fred McGriff and Mike Morgan for nobody of consequence) or David Cone for Mike Gordon, Jason Jarvis and Marty Janzen. My guess? More like the Cone deal than the Crime Dog's.

Lemme 'splain. No, is too much. Lemme summup:

Yesterday the Philadelphia Phillies traded RHP Cory Lidle and OF Bobby Abreu to the New York Yankees for minor league SS C.J. Henry, LHP Matt Smith, C Jesus Sanchez, and RHP Carlos Monasterios.

Cory Lidle's the easiest one of the group to describe: LAIM. He's a League-Average Innings Muncher, which, as I mentioned in a column I wrote last week, is an upgrade over the bottom two-fifths of the Yankee starting rotation this year, especially Jaret Wright, who can't often get past the fifth inning. Lidle theoretically gives the Yankees a guy who can take the ball every fifth day, give them something like six innings and change allowing four earned runs, and let their potent offense bludgeon the opposition into submission. Nothing more, nothing less.

Bobby Abreu has been one of the most underrated players in the major leagues for years, and consequently one of my favorite players. People started paying attention when he won the Home Run Derby at the 2005 All-Star Game, but his power numbers dropped off precipitously since then. He had hit 11 homers in May 2005, was named an NL Player of the Week as well as May 2005 NL Player of the Month and then won the aforementioned Home Run contest. He came into the All-Star Game with 18 homers and a .954 OPS, and things were looking pretty bright, but in the second half of the 2005 season, he hit only .260/.376/.411 with six home runs. Consequently, a lot of the blame for the Phillies' inability to close the gap on the Atlanta Braves or the Houston Astros in the Wild Card race was inappropriately laid on his broad shoulders.

This season, with Great Expectations again laid at the Phils' pheet, Abreu was expected to come up big, and through two months of the season, he was doing exactly that. He was hitting .273 /.446/.509, with seven homers, 14 doubles, 8 steals, 41 RBIs, 41 runs, and was leading the NL in OBP at the end of May. But since then he's hit only one homer (none since June 13th), his batting average has stalled at .277, and his OBP is about the same, but he's lost nearly 100 points on his slugging percentage, which is down to .434, not exactly the power expected from a "slugger" making $14 million. So the Phillies phront opphice had to do something to prevent continuing to pay someone who looks like he's in decline, and to whom they still owe about $4.5 million for this season and another $15 million for next year. What they did was trade him to the Yankee, who can afford to pay that salary on the chance that he bounces back and starts hitting homers again. Even if he doesn't, the Yankees got a darn good player. Let me show you:

           AB   R    H  2B  3B  HR  RBI  SB  CS  BB   BA   OBP   SLG   OPS
Player A 343 61 95 26 2 8 65 20 4 92 .277 .427 .434 .861
Player J 390 69 138 26 3 7 65 21 2 44 .354 .427 .490 .916

Almost eerily similar, aren't they? The biggest difference, of course, is that player A has 48 more walks and Player J has 43 more hits, but they come out dead-even in on-base percentage, which is only the most import statistic in baseball when it comes to scoring runs. They're both excellent base-stealers with doubles power who can hit an occasional homer. Before I reveal the identities of our two pals, let me add two more columns to the mix:

          Date of Birth   2006-07-08 Salary
Player A 11 March 1974 $44.6 million
Player J 26 June 1974 $65 million

Wow. That is a big difference.

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29 July 2006

DPD: MLB Trading Deadline Stuff, American League

The MLB Trading Deadline looms large for several teams today, both buyers and sellers. A quick run-down of the greatest needs for each team that has some shot at the playoffs, and what they're doint (or not doing) about them:

Boston Red Sox: 61-39, First place in AL East

Offense: The Red Sox have averaged over 5.5 runs per game this year, and their hitters are fairly healthy, so no real worries there. The closest thing to a weak link in their lineup is the two-headed Alex tandem at shortstop, Gonzalez and Cora, and they've combined to hit around .280/.330/.390, which is pretty good for a #9 hitter. Coco Crisp seems to still be struggling to regain his form after his early-season injury, with an OPS around 700, but the rest of the lineup is pretty solid.

Pitching: The starting pitching, after Schilling and Beckett, gets pretty thin, and for that matter, Beckett's been pretty inconsistent himself this year. The Sox sock for him, so he's got 13 wins despite his 4.77 ERA, and he's shown some disturbing tendencies this year. His ERA is 2.75 during day games but 5.66 at night, which is of course when most playoff games occur. He's got a 3.09 ERA at Fenway Park but 6.17 on the road. In any case, with Wakefield injured, they really need some help in the rotation, and they've gotten some from rookie Jon Lester (5-0, 3.04), but Kyle Snyder and others have not helped much. They're hoping for returns from matt Clement and/or David Wells, so they may not make a trade, but your guess is as good as anybody's on thier success after their injuries.

Trade Possibilities: What they really need is another reliable starting pitcher. Doesn't have to be Sandy Koufax, just someone who can keep them in the game for six innings so Manny can be Manny and Big Papi can drive him in. Now that the Tribe is just counting coo, maybe they'd be willing to part with paul Byrd?

New York Yankees 59-40, 1.5 behind Red Sox in AL East, leading Wild Card Race

Wow, what don't the Yankees need?

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28 July 2006

DPD: How a Love so Wright Can Turn Out To Be So Wrong

I was watching the Yankee game Wednesday night, but unfortunately for me, I got home a little later than I had planned, and tuned in during the sixth inning, which means that I turned the game on just about in time to see Yankee starter Jaret Wright get yanked from the game. Having seen Wright pitch a few times this season, and having never seen him escape the sixth inning, I began to wonder if he ever pitches more than six innings, and if not, why not? I started crunching some numbers, mostly from ESPN, but also from a few other websites, and then it occurred to me that there might be another source I might use to analyze this pitcher's contributions to the Yankees' efforts in 2006:

The Bee Gees.

The words that title this column were released by the Bee Gees thirty years ago, and as far as I can tell, the Brothers Gibb probably weren't thinking about the 2006 Yankees' pitching needs when they wrote and sang them. On the other hand, if people like Pat Robertson can take Jewish prophecies written 3,000 years ago and apply them to the United States in the 21st century, then it seems to me considerably less of a stretch to say that a disco love song written a mere 30 years ago might shed some light on the Yankees' pitching woes. Dammit.

The first thing we've got to do is get our spelling right, or rather, correct. Because the Yankees have a pitcher (and I use the term loosely) named Jaret Wright, so the Bee Gees must have been talking about him. Let's see if the words of this song can offer us anything...

She came on like the night and she held on tight

And the world was right when she made love to me

We were free

If the subject of the song is Jaret Wright, then really, it's a 'he', not a 'she', so we'll just figure that the Bee Gees were ahead of their time in using a female pronoun to describe someone who may or may not have been female.

While hopefully Jaret hasn't been making love to anyone in the Yankees front office, but the announcement of his signing did come at night, as the official news archive story on mlb.com shows 12:59PM as its posting time. And of course, with his history of injuries and only one "good" year since 1998, naturally he'd want to "hold on tight" to any contract he signed. And since he signed for three years and $21 million dollars on his birthday, I imagine that the "world was right" to him. What could be wrong on a day like that?

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25 July 2006

DPD: Hillenbrand-ed a Trouble-Maker

Shea Hillenbrand played his first game for the San Francisco Giants on Saturday, getting a hit in four at-bats and scoring a run to help the San Franciscos defeat the San Diegos, 4-3. He went only one-for-six on SUnday and the Giants lost, 6-5. Now hitting only .200 with zero RBIs as a Giant, he probably sat around sulking on Monday night because he didn't get to play. Of course, neither did the rest of the Giants, who didn't have a game scheduled, but that's beside the point.

Shea was traded by the Toronto Blue Jays last week, along with reliever Vinny Chulk, for 24-year old RHP Jeremy Accardo. The trade followed a week of "he said, she said" between Hillenbrand and Toronto Blue Jays' GM J.P. Ricciardi, not to mention peanut-gallery quotes from teammates of Hillenbrand on the Blue Jays, both for and against him.

In case you haven't already heard it, the story goes this way:

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24 July 2006

Pending Pinstripes: AA Trenton Thunder Team Report, 7/24/2006

Thirdbaseman Eric Duncan hit his third home run in two days tonight, so I guess he's finding his stroke. Duncan, the New York Yankees' #2 propect according to Baseball America, has missed some playing time this year due to injury, but leads the Thunder with a .938 OPS (minimum 150 plate appearances.) Due to the missed games, he has only 8 homers and 24 RBI to go with his respectable .286/.380/.558 averages, and he's shown impressive plate discipline this year, having walked 21 times but struck out only 18 times in 147 at-bats. By contrast, 1B Randy Ruiz, who leads "qualified" Thunder hitters with a .904 OPS, has 22 walks...and 87 strikeouts (!) in 308 at-bats. Ruiz does lead the team with 27 doubles, 51 RBIs and a .305 batting average, but with plate discipline like that, he's likely to crash and burn in AAA next year.

Other Trenton hitters of note:

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17 July 2006

DPD: Sweep Smell of Victory; Yanks Take Three From ChiSox

The New York Yankees sent a resounding message this weekend as they swept the defending World Champion Chicago White Sox in a three game series at Yankee Stadium: We're not out of anything yet.

Despite the decimation of the Yankees' roster by injuries and the general lack of quality starting pitching, the Bronx Bombers have made it very clear that they are quite capable of winning. Even with their starting left fielder, starting right fielder and starting second baseman on the disabled list, they managed to score 26 runs in the three game series. Even with a starting rotation that averages fewer than six innings per start, and a bullpen that's been showing signs of overuse in the last several weeks, they held the White Sox, who lead the majors in runs scored this season, to only 12 total runs. Three games are still only three games, but this weekend had to feel like a shot in the arm for just about everyone in that clubhouse.

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14 July 2006

Press Release and Yankees DVD Give-Away!!!

A&E Home Video has asked me to announce the impending release of a series of vintage World Series DVD sets, and as part of their promotion, they have given me five of these sets to give away to you!

New York Yankees Vintage World Series DVD Set Posted by Picasa

The first of these five sets will be given to visitor number 50,000, according to the counter on the right. So all you have to do, if you're visitor number 50,000, is take a screen shot and email it to me, along with your name and address. Also you have to send me $5 via Paypal to cover the shipping, within the continental US. (If nobody happens to send me a page with #50,000 exaclty, I'll take the closest number to that, not less than 49,999.)

The other four sets will probably go via some kind of obscure trivia contest, but I haven't decided yet. I'll be posting a review of the set itself as soon as I get a chance to watch it, so stay tuned for that as well. In the meantime, here's the press release:


‘43, ‘47, ‘49, ’50-‘53, ‘56, ‘58, ‘61, ‘62, ‘77, ‘78, ’96 & ’98-‘00

VINTAGE FILM COLLECTION: 1966, 1970 & 1983

VINTAGE FILM COLLECTION: 1959, 1963, 1965, 1981 & 1988



VINTAGE FILM COLLECTION: 1972, 1973, 1974 & 1989

All Titles in this New Collection, Featuring the Finest Moments in Fall Classic History from Some of Baseball’s Most Storied Franchises, Will Be Available on July 25, 2006

NEW YORK, NY, July 2, 2006 -- A&E Home Video and Major League Baseball® present a new collection of DVDs featuring the finest moments in Fall Classic® history. Equally appealing to both the die-hard and casual fan, each set showcases the team’s World Championship seasons highlights, bringing together all of the greatest plays of the teams’ World Series wins. These new collections include, for the first time, all of the unique World Series® Films for each teams winning year since 1943. Eye-catching packaging and team-specific content has never before been assembled in such definitive anthologies. Remarkable, authentic, and charged with history and super stars, these official DVDs are attractive and affordable collectibles – the ultimate in sports memorabilia!

VINTAGE FILM COLLECTION: ‘43, ‘47, ‘49, ’50-‘53, ‘56, ‘58, ‘61, ‘62, ‘77, ‘78, ’96 & ’98-‘00

All the glory and timeless moments from 17 New York Yankees® World Series® Championships are digitally preserved on this one-of-a-kind, five-DVD collection featuring the finest moments and memories from 1943, 1947, 1949, 1950, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1956, 1958, 1961, 1962, 1977, 1978, 1996, 1998, 1999 & 2000. No other team in Major League Baseball history has had such an unparalleled record as the New York Yankees. In these remarkable 17 World Series films the legendary Bronx Bombers® create an unmatched championship legacy for the ages. The Fall Classic® films in this collection includes, the Yankees five titles in a row (1949-1953); dynasties with Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Thurman Munson, and Reggie Jackson and the four titles in five season by Joe Torre and Derek Jeter.

VINTAGE FILM COLLECTION: 1966, 1970 & 1983

Spanning both three decades and three managers - Hank Bauer, Earl Weaver, and Joe Altobelli - the enduring, common trait of the Baltimore Orioles® success was stellar pitching, well-timed power, and peerless defense. The arrival of Frank Robinson in 1966 catapulted the Orioles to their first Fall Classic®. Baltimore’s pitchers dominated, holding the Los Angeles Dodgers® to just two runs – for the entire four-game World Series. Four Octobers later, the Birds power hitting and fielding were on display. The rally-ending defense of Brooks Robinson and the club’s 10 home runs in five games helped the O’s to a second Championship. In 1983, the familiar formula and a familiar face held an encore. The Orioles staff, including Jim Palmer who provided a bridge to the 1966 victors, stifled the Philadelphia Phillies® allowing only seven runs in the five games. All the glory and classic moments of these three Orioles World Series Championships are now digitally preserved on this official DVD.

VINTAGE FILM COLLECTION: 1959, 1963, 1965, 1981 & 1988

The passion and excitement of Los Angeles Dodgers baseball was on full display in the first three Fall Classic® games in 1959. Each record-setting crowd at The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum swelled beyond 90,000, and a tradition of October Baseball in Los Angeles was born. In 1963, Sandy Koufax set the World Series strikeout record of fifteen in Game One. Again in 1965, pitching was supreme, but this time the Dodgers’ speed charged the offense as well. And, in the 1981 and 1988 World Series championships’ the team was fueled by the optimism of manager Tommy Lasorda. All the glory and classic moments of the Los Angeles Dodgers World Series Championships from 1959 to 1988 are digitally preserved in this one-of-a-kind two-disc DVD collection.


The champion Minnesota Twins® of 1987 and 1991 were recognized for their charisma and fun-loving personalities as much as their relentless, opportunistic style of play. The1987 World Series® was the first to be played indoors and the raucous Twins® fans did everything they could to blow the roof right off the Metrodome. Record-books will note this Fall Classic for Kent Hrbek’s Game 6 grand slam, while Twins fans will never forget the thunderous, homer-hanky waving crowds that propelled them to a record-setting four home victories. 1991 was even more remarkable. Considered to be one of, if not the greatest World Series, the Twins battled through seven extraordinary games. Kirby Puckett’s stellar Game 6 including his game-winning, 12th-inning home run was matched the next night by a game for the ages, as the Twins captured their second championship with a Game 7, 1-0, 10-inning victory from Jack Morris.


“The Catch” -- a magnificent moment in time when action, athletic genius, and history collide. This celebrated play of the 1954 World Series® created an iconic image and defined the competitive fire, excellence, and grace of the remarkable Willie Mays. Along with manager Leo “the Lip” Durocher, the electrifying Mays and the New York Giants® met the heavily favored Cleveland Indians® with their
American League® record 111 victories. Games One and Two took place on the hallowed Polo Grounds in northern Manhattan, while cavernous Cleveland Stadium was the site of the final two contests of the Fall Classic®. In addition to the stupefying defensive play by Mays off a prodigious blast by Cleveland’s Vic Wertz, Game One also featured the pinch-hit, game-ending home-run heroics
of James “Dusty” Rhodes. Stunned and defeated, the Indians could not overcome the stellar pitching and patient hitting of the Giants who swept all four games to claim the championship. All the glory and classic moments of the New York Giants 1954 World Series Championship are digitally preserved on this official DVD.

VINTAGE FILM COLLECTION: 1972, 1973, 1974 & 1989

This DVD features the official World Series® films of the A’s® World Championships from 1972, 1973, 1974, and 1989. Catfish Hunter’s pitching led the way in 1972 against the Reds when six of the seven games were decided by one run. The 1974 Fall Classic® versus the Dodgers® featured the hitting of Joe Rudi and Bert Campaneris, and pitcher Ken Holtzman’s timely home run that sealed the A’s third title in a row and place in history. Fifteen year later the A’s met the San Francisco Giants® in a historic World Series. After the A’s won the first two games, Game Three was delayed ten days by an earthquake that left sixty-seven people dead and rolled destruction across sections of the Bay Area. After much consideration, the World Series continued with Oakland sweeping all four games. All the glory and classic moments of the Oakland A’s World Series Championships from 1972 to 1989 are digitally preserved in this one-of-a-kind two-disc DVD collection.

A&E Home Video, part of the Consumer Products Division of A&E Television Networks (AETN) is a video distributor of non-theatrical programming, featuring collectible DVD editions of the high quality programming from A&E Network and The History Channel, as well as acquired classic programming. A&E Home Video brings the best of critically acclaimed entertainment presented in award-winning packaging to the special interest category. For more information about ordering these and other titles from the A&E Home Video Collection, call (212) 206-8600 (TRADE ONLY). Consumers please call 1-800-423-1212 (A&E). In addition to placing orders by phone, A&E Home Video products may be purchased over the World Wide Web at ShopAETV.com.

Major League Baseball Productions is the Emmy® award-winning television and video production division of Major League Baseball. With unparalleled access to the game and its players, Major League Baseball Productions produces original programming for growing audiences worldwide through its network specials, exclusive home videos, commercials and other specialty programming.

New Video Group Inc. is an entertainment, marketing, and sales company specializing in bringing classic television, feature films, quality children's programming, and documentaries to home video and DVD. Since 1993, the company has grown to become one of the leading non-studio DVD distributors, reaching retail, rental, direct to consumer, as well as library and educational markets. New Video is the exclusive marketer and distributor for A&E Home Video and the exclusive retail distributor for the Scholastic Video Collection, an acclaimed line of classic children's titles on DVD from Scholastic Entertainment. New Video also operates Docurama, a five-year-old home entertainment label dedicated exclusively to bringing critically acclaimed and cutting-edge documentary films to the home entertainment marketplace. Its youngest label, New Video NYC, brings to DVD an edgy, eclectic blend of indie gems and classic cult television. The New Video Group website is www.newvideo.com.

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DPD: It’s Official: Dusty’s Getting the Ax!

On Wednesday, Chicago Cubs' General Manager Jim Hendry was asked about the status of his field manager, Dusty Baker, for the 4,237th time. Since Monday. In typical Handry fashion, he denied not only that he's considering Dusty's fate, but he even went so far as to deny that he said he would be considering Dusty's fate.

This was because reports last week indicated that he would be doing exaclty that. According to the Associated Press and ESPN news sources, Hendry said:

"I'll spend a lot of time over the break not just with the way the situation is, but with your own players. I'll sit back and reflect on the first half,"

Forget for a moment that he manages to lapse not only tense (present and future) but also person (I/you) in that one sentence. Think about the fact that this really shouldn't be news at all. A General Manager of a baseball team, especially one whose team has played incredibly disappointing baseball for all of this season and most of the last one, is going to take a few days to think about things? Isn't that his job? He's supposed to be thinking about the team pretty much all the time, isn't he? Nobody writes a news story when a CEO goes to a board meeting to think about how to make more money for his company, so how do Jim Hendry's musings over the future of one of his employees qualify as news?

Another Hendry quote from the AP last week:

"You are getting ready to go into a month where you have to evaluate what you have. You want to give everyone a fair chance to succeed,"

Well, yeah, I suppose that's true. Granted, his comments are a little vague, but it would be tough to construct an argument saying that this quote in particular had anything to do with anyone other than Dusty Baker, right? You wouldn't say that the presence of, say, Greg Maddux or Todd Walker on the Cubs' roster isn't giving "everyone a fair chance to succeed" would you? No, I think that you would only say this about a manager, or a coach, perhaps, especially one who you think might be holding some players back.

So it seems therefore that it was fair of the reporters who interviewed Hendry last week to construe those comments as being about Dusty, and it was therefore fair of them to ask him about Dusty 4,329 times (it's been a few minutes since I wrote 4,237).

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07 July 2006

DPD: All-Star Game's Pleasant Surprises, National League Edition

Yesterday, after getting briefly off-track, I gave you a few of the more uplifting stories surrounding the 2006 MLB All-Star Game. I had intended to do only one such column, but golly, there were just so many of those stories in the American League alone that I was forced to do an entirely separate column on the National League. So, without further delay, here are some of the more notable positive stories for the Senior Circuit's team.

The NL Starting Infield

No shortage of positive and encouraging tales here. Three quarters of the National League's starters in the infield are making their All-Star debuts. Including...

David Wright, 3B, New York Mets
In truth, Wright is hitting almost exactly as well this year (.320/.390/.571) as he did last year (.306/.388/.523), though with a bit more power in 2006. The trouble, thoguh, is that the Hot Corner is a very deep position in the majors right now, and the 2005 NL team featured no fewer than four thirdbasemen (Aramis Ramirez, Scott Rolen, Miguel Cabrera and Morgan Ensberg, though technically Cabrera played a lot more left field than third base last season). In addition, Wright didn't really "turn it on" until the second half last year, hitting a respectable but non-Star-worthy .281/.369/.470 before the Break. This year, however, he's leading all NL thirdbasemen in homers and RBIs, and is a deserving starter in what should be the first of many All-Star games for the Mets star.

Jose Reyes, SS, New York Mets
Another budding, perennial All-Star playing in the Mets' infield is Jose Reyes. Reyes leads the NL with 109 hits, and leads the major leagues with 73 runs scored, 12 triples and 37 steals. Reyes has long been heralded as a star, but hasd not had the health to prove his worth intil the last two seasons. He's gotten his batting average up to .299, but more importantly, he's walking more. Of course, he could hardly have walked less than he did last year, but he's already set a personal, single-season best with 30 this year, after walking only 27 times in 710 at-bats last year. He led the2005 NL with 60 steals, and this year he's on a pace for 72, which would be the most in the NL since 1999. His run-scoring pace of 142 would be the most since Sammy "Say it Ain't Steroids" Sosa scored 146 in 2001.

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06 July 2006

DPD: All-Star Game’s Pleasant Surprises, American League Edition

My colleague took an opportunity Tuesday to point out the silliness of the MLB rule that requires the annual "All-Star" rosters to include at least one representative from each team. If Mark Redman can make an All-Star team, then perhaps it's just a matter of time before we end up in some sort-of Harrison Bergeron-esque All-Mediocrity team, rosters rife with reserve middle infielders, AAAA-level, one-dimensional hitters who can't run or field, and pitchers who can only get one type of batter out. Naturally, the ideal end of such a game would be, you guessed it, a tie. Of course, the American and National Leagues were rewarded with an opportunity to "kiss their sisters" back in 2002, so maybe we're closer to Kurt Vonnegut's baseball-style nightmare than I think.

However, that is not what I want to write about today. There are plenty of scribes out there on the InterWeb lamenting the absence of Schillings and Mussinas and Lirianos on the All-Star rosters. Those are real losses for the fans, and it it truly unfortunate that such accomplished men miss out on this chance to shine, especially considering that Hall of Fame voters include "number of All-Star appearances" among their voting criteria.

Another blight on the face of the All-Star Game is this silly "This Time It Counts...Bee-yatch!" or whatever this year's ridiculous slogan is to remind us of the fact that the game's winner will determine home-field advantage for the World Series. Jayson Stark argues that the required inclusion of one All-Star per MLB team is the "dumbest rule in baseball" but I'd say that this one rivals it closely.

Another problem occurs with the way in which voting for the All-Star starters are seleced. With the incorporation of Internet voting into the process, it has now become almost apallingly easy to "stuff the ballots", hence the presence of five Yankees and Red Sox in the AL lineup and four New York Mets among the nine NL starters. The Commissioner's office used to have the 'nads to do something about this, but no more. How about subbing in Michael Barrett's .873 OPS and patented right hook over Paul LoDuca's popgun bat and overrated defense? Guess not.

But as I said, there are others who have already wailed over these problems, most of them better than I could. So instead, I will detail for you, my loyal readers (all eight of you!), some of this year's pleasant surprises at the All-Star Game.

Mark Loretta, 2B, Boston Red Sox
Loretta will be the starter for the American League at the Keystone this year, and he's not a bad choice at that. Currently hitting .310/.352/.392 with 3 homers and 34 RBIs, Loretta's not having a career year, but certainly a nice comeback. He suffered through a wrist injury that sapped his power most of last season and missed about a month and a half between late May and mid-July, hitting only .280/.360/.347 with three homers and 38 RBIs all season. This will be Loretta's second All-Star game, his first in the AL and his first in the starting lineup.

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