The 2016 All-Stars

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The Chicago Cubs have been leading in All-Star voting for weeks now, and some folks even tried to write in David Ross.  There are all kinds of opinions about how this exhibition game should not determine World Series home field advantage (an opinion shared by Ben Zobrist), or that certain players (like Addison Russell) should not even go based on their on-field contributions (or lack thereof).  For me, it makes very little sense to have voting start so early when you A- don’t know if the player will be good and/or healthy by the time the mid-July game rolls around or B- could change your mind weeks afterwards when another guy heats up.  Fan votes are plagued by media exposure, recency bias, and personal opinion, so having that extra twist of deciding home field advantage is inappropriate in my opinion.  But I digress, because the Cubs are pretty much representing the National League at the start and we hope that when (yes, when) they make the postseason, they’ll get home field throughout.

On Tuesday night, MLB, wanting to be all awesome and glitzy like other sports leagues, set up the All-Star Selection Show.  We already knew that the Cubs were leading all the infield positions save catcher, and Dexter Fowler was in one of the top three spots in the outfield and really wants to play as he gets healthy again.  There are also a few pitchers who deserve nods, like Jon Lester and the now-struggling-but-still-better-than-you Jake Arrieta.

I’ll update this post later with the official rosters, and after the show we can all root for the Pirates to beat the Cardinals in 29 innings so the Cubs can stay nine up in the division before heading to Pittsburgh prior to the All-Star Break.  Good deal!

UPDATE: The lineups were announced, as promised…

The Cubs fans took the old saying “vote early, vote often” seriously as the fans voted in five players to be All Star Starters. The entire Cubs infield was voted in by the fans which means that Anthony Rizzo, Ben Zobrist, Addison Russell and Kris Bryant will start the game. Dexter Fowler was also voted in by the fans, though his status is still in question as he is currently on the disabled list with a hamstring injury.

Personally, if I were Joe Maddon and the Cubs I would not let him play in the game. I would keep him on the disabled list and reinstate him after the game. Let him get the rest he needs, and give him all the time he needs to get healthy. That being said, they might allow him to play in the All Star game and use that as a rehab game for him.

This game unfortunately means something. I do not want a player who is not 100% playing in a game that will determine whether or not the Cubs (or whoever represents the National League) has home field advantage or not. I would rather he play in a minor league game for rehab where he will be under the supervision of the Cubs coaching staffs and trainers. But, Theo Epstein, Joe Maddon and the rest of the coaching staff are a lot smarter than I am so I will defer to their decisions. As if I had a choice.

Joining the Cubs infield and Fowler on the National League squad are starting pitchers Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester. Both pitchers have pitched well enough to make the team, but I do not like these selections. I have never made my stance a secret, but I absolutely hate my team’s pitchers pitching in the All Star game. Pitchers only have so many pitches in their arm every year and I do not want them wasting them on a glorified exhibition game. I would rather they save those pitches in game that actually matter. I want them saving those pitches for Cubs games, the ones that will get our boys in blue to and through the playoffs. Home field advantage in the World Series means nothing if you do not get there.

I understand that they will only pitch a couple of innings. Maybe one, unless they are the starter. I also know that if you are going to throw your arm out that you are going to throw out your arm whether you are pitching in the All Star game or a real game.

Unfortunately the campaign by Lester to get David Ross voted into the All Star game fell a bit short. While he did get more write in votes than anyone else, he did not get enough votes to earn the starting nod in the game. Now, if everyone who voted for Rizzo (top vote getter in the National League) wrote in Ross, he would have been voted into the All Star game as the starter.

We had a couple of cool record milestones during this round of All-Star voting as well:

Ben Zobrist won by the skin of his teeth, so good job, Cubs fans, in stuffing that ballot box:

Did we mention that the Cubs are very young?

The complete lineups and Final Vote should be announced soon…

UPDATE 2: And here it is…

It looks like both lineups are full of thump and pretty good defense, with the NL having the better set of starting pitchers but the AL sporting a phenomenal relief corps.  I would say that the NL would need to score early and often because they are not scoring late.  Consider me extra-bummed that the NL players didn’t vote in Ichiro Suzuki for his pre-game speech.

Here are the Final Vote hashtags:

I would recommend voting for Trevor Story in the NL as there are only two legitimate shortstops on the roster in Addison Russell and Corey Seager.  Story’s had a very nice, um, story so far this season, so might as well.  We’ll also keep our eyes open for who will replace Clayton Kershaw and other players who decide to bug out for whatever reason.

 

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