Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Fair & Balanced

I don't typically write about what's going on in the news, because sadly I don't consider myself informed enough. Even when I try to be, details thrown around on any given day end up confusing me, and I just turn right back to ESPN. However, at this critical time for our country, I offer a simple question. I completely understand President Obama's initial decision to allow BP to clean up its own mess in the Gulf of Mexico. Anyone would have; it was their fault. But after how many failures does it take for a president to exercise his executive power to find someone, ANYONE with more intelligence and resources to try and clean up the mess. The entire ecosystem down there is now screwed as this crisis has dragged on for countless weeks. I can't claim to know the Obama administration's plan of action when the spill first occurred, but it's safe to say they waited too long to respond.

Ok, A-Rod didn't play tonight, but it's not like the Yankees needed him anyway.

I'll go on about how this is the beginning of the end for the Phillies (which is still premature to say at this point), but not today. I decided instead to distract myself with another more positive baseball activity.

I just cast my votes for the All-Star Game.

It's really thrilling to have a tiny hand in deciding which ball-bashing superstars - and aging, but still adored veterans - will race onto the field in July's battle of the leagues. To call the process a popularity contest is as obvious as calling Albert Pujols a good hitter, but I try not to concern myself with that too much. The reason for that is I'm just as guilty as everyone else.

I'd like to think that my selections are objective and based on performance from year to year. First of all, I always wait until June to vote so I get a much better idea of the standouts in each league. I then look through each starter's season stats to determine my selections. I make sure to look at the sluggers who have also hit for a high average, in addition to the most successful leadoff hitters. In the case of a tie between two power guys, stolen bases will tip the scale.

Also, players who have superior career numbers, but who are no longer producing (i.e. - Chipper Jones, Jim Thome, Jason Giambi, etc.) aren't considered.

I undermine this whole process, however, because I also follow two fundamentally flawed and ridiculously unfair rules: vote for every Phillies starter at least once and don't waste any votes on a Yankee.

Fox News, I am ready to send you my resume.

In recent years, I have felt a steadily growing guilt about the former rule, so I've begun to split my votes in the NL between Phillies and other position players I feel are more deserving. This new practice became necessary when I deferred to Ryan Howard's .220 batting average and 90 strikeouts, while King Albert was getting the shaft. I realize my current division approach doesn't help anyone or anything aside from my own conscience, but I can live with that.

There are plenty of other voters out there like me, which is more apparent than ever this season. Despite the Phillies' slide, six of them would be headed for southern California July 13 if the present results were final.

On the flip side, the two New York Yankees most deserving of a start at Anaheim, Derek Jeter and Robinson Cano, aren't getting any love from me. It's easy to rationalize that move, however, because they clearly don't need my help.

I wish I could claim that above all else, I want to see two teams filled with the best players of the 2010 season lined up on either side of home plate at Angel Stadium next month. But in truth, all I really want to see is as many red-pinstriped players there as possible, so they can show baseball fans around the country just how good they are.

Maybe by then, they actually will.

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