We always hear about fans making bad decisions and leaving deserving players out of the All-Star Game, but now some players are chiming in about their own choices.
Rays starter Blake Snell was left off the American League squad despite leading the league in ERA (2.09) and being tied for second in wins (12).
He still might get in as players drop out for various reasons, but the snub bothered teammate Chris Archer, who asked on Twitter how it happened.
“I know how,” he wrote. “Because we, as players (the ones who vote for the pitchers), didn’t do our due diligence. We have to collectively take the time &effort to responsibility (sic) fill out our ballots. It’s totally on us &I’m calling out everyone who didn’t take the energy to determine who is most deserving to represent our game in the mid summer classic. This stuff matters. BLAKE SNELL IS AN ALL STAR, not an alternate, replacement or backup.”
Astros ace Justin Verlander, who was voted in, replied to Archer’s tweet by adding: “Also, because we vote waaay too early. Could easily punch in our votes on an iPad a couple days before instead of the old school envelopes weeks before.”
Both are right.
Snell should’ve been an All-Star, and players should’ve been paying more attention to his season when they cast their votes. And the idea of players voting a few weeks ahead of the announcement is lame in this technological era.
It’s easily fixable next year, but that could be too late for Snell.
Yankees assistant to the general manager Jim Hendry was the Cubs general manager when they drafted Javier Baez and signed Willson Contreras, so he can take a bow for their inclusion in the All-Star Game.
Cubs President Theo Epstein has always given Hendry credit for those two players, even though they developed under Epstein’s reign. And Hendry has credited former scouting director Tim Wilken for drafting Baez and former farm director Oneri Fleita for signing Contreras.
It goes to show no one person is directly responsible for a player’s success.
Scouts, coaches and executives can all be proud Baez and Contreras not only have become great players, but also exude the kind of passion that’s good for baseball.
Jesus Aguilar began the season as a backup first baseman but now is the center of the Brewers offense, hitting .306 with 22 home runs and 63 RBIs. His 1.001 OPS is the best in the National League.
It’s no surprise fans didn’t vote him in because few knew his name until recently. But again, the players could’ve done their homework but didn’t. At least Aguilar is on the NL’s Final Five ballot, so Brewers fans can log in and do the right thing.
“He’s having an MVP season,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said.
The Brewers have three All-Stars in Lorenzo Cain, Christian Yelich and Josh Hader, but Aguilar deserves a spot as well. They are, after all, the best team in the league.
Anyway, his teammates have his back. Brewers players have been wearing T-shirts that read, “We Believe in Jesus.”
Former Cubs prospect Gleyber Torres, traded to the Yankees in the Aroldis Chapman deal in 2016, made the AL squad one year after season-ending Tommy John surgery on his left elbow.
The 21-year-old rookie second baseman is the fourth Yankee to be named to the AL team at 21 or younger, joining Joe DiMaggio (21 in 1936), Mickey Mantle (20 and 21 in 1952 and ‘53) and Willie Randolph (21 in 1976).
According to the New York Daily News, manager Aaron Boone called Torres into his office and broke the news by asking how his leg felt.
“You’re probably going to have to get that right so when you go to D.C. next week you can tip your cap properly,” Boone told Torres.
Usually trading a player like Torres would haunt a team for years. But the Cubs got their World Series ring with Chapman closing games, so there’s little regret in Chicago.
White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu was thanking fans, the organization and his family Sunday after being selected for his first start on the AL All-Star squad.
He surprisingly thanked the media as well.
“You guys have been a big factor too, just to be able to help me to show to the fans what I’m capable of doing,” Abreu said.
Kudos to Abreu for recognizing media attention is crucial for players, which is why more of them need to make themselves available more often.
With bigger clubhouses and dwindling access time for reporters to talk to players, some of the bigger stars are rarely available. They know where to hide and exactly what time to stay out of the clubhouse to avoid talking to the media.
The end of batting practice once was a perfect time to get a player’s thoughts, but now some of them can’t wait to get back to the clubhouse. And the music is so loud on the field, you can’t hear them anyway.
It’s a disturbing trend and one every baseball media relations director should take note of. Fans want to hear from the players, but all too often it’s only the manager’s voice that gets heard.