As any sabermetric writer has already exasperatedly told you, the proper reaction to All-Star selections is exasperation with the selection process, and to not be surprised when anyone outside the obvious choices gets shafted.
Player reactions are a different animal. They’re an odd mixture of the player’s personal feelings, sense of entitlement, level of comfort with how they are perceived around the league, and how much they love being part of big, public spectacles. And of course, there’s always the measure of how well each player handles the press.
A.J. Pierzynski, the clear-cut second-best hitting catcher in the league this year, has a legitimate reason to be cranky. Mike Napoli winning the fan vote put him in a showdown with Matt Wieters. Wieters has a weaker bat, but is the consensus best defensive catcher in the game. He was close to hiding his dismay well enough, until he was informed that AL manager Ron Washington felt bad about leaving him off.
“If (Washington) felt that bad he would have put me on the team,” Pierzynski said. “He had an opportunity to do it and he didn’t do it. Obviously he can feel as bad as he wants, but he didn’t feel that bad.”
On the other hand, when Jake Peavy was asked about whether he had thought a lot about being selected, he was smoother than the buttermilk that’s featured prominently in every recipe from his home state:
— Jake Peavy (@JakePeavy_44) July 1, 2012
The common opinion from experts is that Peavy is most deserving, but is probably dependent on an injury due to Yu Darvish.
On the other side of the coin, Chris Sale is a 23 year-old who had to fight more than he should have to become a starter and is now going to the All-Star game. He’s allowed to gush:
“It’s awesome,” Sale said. “It’s something I’ve honestly thought about for a long time since I was a kid, playing baseball, being a fan of baseball. I was kind of speechless. They told me. It was just crazy.”
Despite everyone’s shared anxiety, Sale is allowed to pitch in the game for an inning even if he throws on the Sunday before.
Paul Konerko is going to his sixth All-Star Game and has a morose disposition, so he naturally had to deny accusations that he’s bored by the whole affair.
“I’d never not go,” Konerko said. “You never think it’s not a big deal, no matter how long you play or how old you are. It’s a great thing. I watched it as a kid every year. It’s an honor to go.”
One would think that making the team would serve as a big culmination for Adam Dunn’s comeback, and thus provoke a bigger reaction than this:
“It’s huge,” Dunn said. “When you get voted in by your peers, that’s the highest honor you can have. It’s a great feeling, a great honor. But I really feel like there’s a lot of guys in here that deserved to make it.”
But Dunn’s biggest emotional display this season has been bear-hugging Eduardo Escobar after his walk-off, and he may not need the honor to know that he’s comfortable at the plate again.
Pretty much nothing good at all to report here.
John Danks has felt no improvement in his shoulder in the past week, and is getting an additional diagnostic ultrasound to map his progress. How much that delays his recovery timeline is unknown, but it’s not nothing. In his comments, Ventura was quick to take on a ‘Well, hey, how about that Quintana kid!’ tone.
Jesse Crain pitched off of a mound, and reported slight progress, while Robin Ventura said he “doesn’t forsee a DL stint for him.” This is coming in the wake of the initial report that he would miss a single game, and probably pitch Friday. His responses to day-to-day testing will be more important than the timelines thrown up. If Crain does hit the DL, Matt Thornton would be the only non-rookie in the bullpen, and the Charlotte Knights don’t have that many worthy arms.