Now that the All-Star rosters have been announced, American League manager Jim Leyland is having to explain why some deserving players were snubbed.
His quote on why he did not choose Evan Longoria shows just how dumb the entire process has become and just how much of a joke the All-Star game is now.
Here is the quote via Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times:
“Well, Evan Longoria was not voted on by the fans or the players. … And, you know, it is hard to take. … Evan Longoria, I would have loved to have Evan Longoria on the team. Do I think he’s an All-Star? Absolutely. I think he’s one of the better players in the game. However, in this case this particular year, he was not voted by either the fans or the players so that pretty much hamstrung me.”
Instead of taking a third third baseman (Miguel Cabrera was voted by the fans, Manny Machado finished second in the player vote), Leyland admits he took a third second baseman (Jason Kipnis) because he wanted a late-game pinch-runner. And Leyland chose Ben Zobrist of the Rays over Longoria because he can play multiple positions.
In other words, Leyland did not pick players based on who was most deserving or based on who the “stars” of baseball really are. Instead, Leyland is trying to win the game because the Tigers are a playoff contender and if the A.L. wins it could mean homefield advantage for his team in the World Series.
The All-Star game is supposed to be a showcase of the sport’s brightest young stars and Longoria is one of the top-five position players in the AL.
We will instead have to watch Leyland use utility players and pinch-runners in the late innings to try and win an exhibition game.
Bud Selig wanted to add excitement to the All-Star game by having homefield advantage in the World Series ride on the game. Instead, it has done just the opposite by robbing the fans of being able to watch their favourite players.
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