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All-Wrong Game

There is a lot wrong with the good ole All-Star Game, especially considering that "this one counts."

And a bunch of it had to do with the big cheese, Bud Selig, Mostly, though, it was the fault of the man on your right, who looks like a cross between Satan and Jeff Bagwell thanks to my photoshopping skills, Phil Garner.

Bud Selig is hunting for additional ways to reach his Sawx-Yanksgasm and by awarding the AL home field advantage in every World Series, he has reached such a goal. Why play four games in the '06 series at Shea when you can play four at the historic 200 bucks a bleacher seat Fenway Pahk.

Then there's the issue of managers. Who conceived the idea of their omnipotence? While BP has noted that the greatest managers are worth at best a win or two per season, does it really make sense for the manager of a 43-46 team to control the World Series fates of teams with records like 53-36 and 48-39, much better bets to make the postseason? On what bizarro planet was Phil Garner authorized to make obviously stupid decisions like batting low-OBP free swinger Alfonso Soriano leadoff while batting David Wright sixth after cleanup hitter Jason Bay (27.8 VORP) and fifth-hitter Edgar Renteria (30.7 VORP). The VORPs of Beltran (38.7) and Wright (36.8) clearly indicate much more productivity than all of the bums that Garner adores. Not to mention that both have out-homered and out-RBIed Renteria while Beltran has out-homered and out-RBIed Bay and Wright is only one homer short of Bay after driving in more runs while hitting and getting on base at better clips.

And don't forget how Garner treated the relievers. Whether or not Hells Bells cared about the outcome of the game (he should; the Padres are a first-place team) is pretty unimportant, and Garner did make the right call, as Hoff is miles ahead of the pack in WXRL, a metric for measuring relievers. He is followed by Tom Gordon, an All-Star, but then by Billy Wagner, an All-Star snub. Why would Garner name Roy Oswalt and Chris Capuano to the rotation (replacing Pedro/Glavine) when his bullpen was weakened by the presence of the Brewer closer Derrick Turnbow (#46 in NL WXRL) and Rockies closer Brian Fuentes (#12 in NL WXRL). While these guys were neither selected by Garner nor did they allow runs when they worked in the game, Garner should have replaced these starters with effective and worthy relievers, like Wagner and Dodgers closer (and favorite of mine) Takashi Saito (#4 in NL WXRL). In matters of hubris, Jason Schmidt takes the cake. He started on Sunday (like Glavine and Jose Contreras, who both withdrew) but because he wanted to put on a show for the Pittsburgh fans who he used to entertain, he didn't withdraw. Same goes for Bronson Arroyo, who threw 105 pitches in getting shelled against the Braves.

I wonder if some of it is all about being spiteful towards the Mets. Not naming Wagner? Leaving in lazy and disaffected Miguel Cabrera at third while letting 6-time Gold Glover Scott Rolen ride pine. And don't get me started about playing Carlos Lee and Matt Holliday in the corner outfield slots while eight-time Gold Glover Andruw Jones is sitting in the dugout. And what says spite more than letting Freddy Sanchez push David Wright? Furthermore, don't make me remind anyone that the Mets accounted for 100% of the NL runs despite Garner's best efforts to marginalize them. Not to mention the fact that David Eckstein, a fan favorite and scrappy player who does not deserve by any statistical measure a spot in the all-star game, actually got into the game. The Deckstein's 15.6 VORP ranks 7th among NL shortstops, making him a far less worthy selection than snubs Bill Hall, Omar Vizquel, Hanley Ramirez and Felipe Lopez, numbers three through six, all of whom, except Hall and Lopez, have out-fielded Eckstein this year.

Non-Met NLers: 3/21, .142 BA, 0 HR, 0 R, 0 RBI, 4 SO, 5 LOB.
Mets: 3/9, .333 BA, 1 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, 0 SO, 2 LOB
I think that says a ton. Don't even make me start to suggest that a Met team with a healthy Pedro on the hill and their entire bullpen available could have won this game. Oops. I just did.

So Michael Young somehow made this peachy extravaganza turn sour. He ranks up there with Vernon Wells as the player who is so often talked about as underrated that he morphs into overrated, even though he's been a good fielder and hitter so far in his career playing in an exquisite hitters' park. In all honesty, Glaus and Konerko are two good hitters who racked up some hits against one of the greatest closers of all time. Shit happens.

On the whole, you have to be happy with the Mets at midseason. Don't read what my not-so-useless-anymore cohort has to say about the Mets or his Yankees. He's wrong. About everything.

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