Let me start by making one thing clear – I’m a Cubs fan.
Born and raised on the South Side of Chicago, I’m more than a little partial to the North Siders. Don’t ask why, but I think it has something to do with my mother dropping me when I was a baby. Even the errors started early.
And even though I’ve pulled for the North Siders for more time then I’d like to admit (yes, some people think I am old), I love baseball. I have watched game in tiny single -A parks to concrete and steel Meccas. (For the record, if you can’t smell the hot dogs and beer, then baseball should not be played there) and have seen the best of the best and the worst of the worst.
Like I said, I’m a Cubs fan.
My late father was a die-hard Sox fans, and it was not unusual for us to end up at the old Comiskey Park and be tucked away in the upper deck in right field watching the Yankees. Those Yankees, which would fill old Comiskey. Those Yankees with Kubek, Maris, Mantle, Ford etc.
People came to watch good baseball. Back then, there were two all-star games, one in an AL park and on a senior circuit park.
It was good baseball.
Then the fans took over and the mid-summer classic became a popularity contest – or as we’ve seen this year, Twitter wars.
I can’t help but scratch my head when looking at the Chicago representatives to the All-star classic. Brian LaHair? OK, he’s not a bad player, but all-star caliber?
And on the south side, the selections are OK – although I’m not sure I’d put Adam Dunn on the team, despite his nearly 30 homers.
But how do baseball fans leave A.J. Pierzynski and Jake Peavy off the 2012 All-star team?
Easy – they lack the warm and fuzzies. They’re curt, gruff and, as Dallas Greene would say, gamers.
Fan voting seems to overlook performance. If it didn’t, both Pierzynski and Peavy would be heading to Kansas City this Tuesday.
But they won’t, which means baseball purists will not see the best in the game. Only the most popular.
All-star game managers are not immune from the popularity contest either. You don’t have to look any further than Arlington, Texas to see that. Rangers’ manager Ron Washington could have named both Pierzynski and Peavy to the team.
Instead it became a Twitter war to determine if Peavy or one of three pitchers would be named to the team. And guess who won? Yu Darvish – yes, a Japanese import who happens to play for the Texas Ranger – yes, Ron Washington’s Texas Rangers.
Anything to keep the fans happy.
If it’s going to be a mid-summer classic, than the class needs to be back in classic.
And for a Cubs fan to talk about classic, you know it’s a serious matter.